May­ors re­ceive their pop­pies

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Ayer's Cliff

On Mon­day, the Ayer’s Cliff Le­gion’s tradition of giv­ing the first pop­pies of their Poppy Cam­paign to lo­cal may­ors con­tin­ued. Le­gion pres­i­dent Su­san Fletcher-Doust and vice-pres­i­dent Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Robin Gagnon (ret’d) pre­sented the pop­pies to Ayer’s Cliff mayor Alex van Zuiden, Hat­ley mayor Jac­ques de Le­se­leuc, and Stanstead East mayor Guy Le­feb­vre un­der a brief mo­ment of sun in front of the Ayer’s Cliff town hall.

“We’re now en­ter­ing our Poppy Cam­paign. All the money we raise through the sell­ing of pop­pies is kept in the community,” said Mrs. Fletcher-Doust. That money is used in a num­ber of ways to help Vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies: col­lege and univer­sity bur­saries and as­sis­tance with ed­u­ca­tional field trips for the chil­dren and grand-chil­dren of Vet­er­ans; help­ing the fam­i­lies in times of fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties; pro­vid­ing med­i­cal equip­ment; mak­ing and de­liv­er­ing Christ­mas Cheer bas­kets; con­tribut­ing to the CAB RH

Rediker’s Meals on Wheels pro­gram which now de­liv­ers in the Ayer’s Cliff area, and more.

“The key as­pect of the Poppy Fund is that it can’t be used for just any pur­poses such as throw­ing a party for Le­gion mem­bers. The rules are strictly re­spected; it’s a na­tion­ally con­trolled fund,” added Brig.Gen. Gagnon.

The Ayer’s Cliff Branch 128, now cel­e­brat­ing its 65th an­niver­sary, has had a busy year and the mem­ber­ship in this ‘dry’ Royal Cana­dian Le­gion has grown to about seventy. It serves the com­mu­ni­ties of Ayer’s Cliff, Stanstead East, Hat­ley, Ma­gog, Austin, Ge­orgeville and Fitch Bay al­though peo­ple from all around the Eastern Town­ships at­tend the many so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties that take place in the Le­gion Hall such as the Fifty Plus Club, the Le­gion dances ev­ery sec­ond Thurs­day af­ter­noon, church group card par­ties and the Horticultural So­ci­ety’s bin­gos. “The community at large cel­e­brated birth­days, Christ­mas, New Year’s, and an­niver­saries in the hall. We em­braced our fel­low cit­i­zens and pro­vided a quiet place to gather and to be served lun­cheons fol­low­ing the loss of a loved one,” com­mented the pres­i­dent.

Fol­low­ing a flood, a few years ago, that heav­ily dam­aged the base­ment of the Le­gion Hall, mem­bers have been busy, of­ten with the help of non-mem­bers as well, re­pair­ing, ren­o­vat­ing and greatly im­prov­ing their head­quar­ters on Rosedale Street, thanks in large part to a gen­er­ous do­na­tion from an anony­mous donor. Be­sides a new Vet­eran’s Lounge in the base­ment, out­fit­ted with com­fort­able fur­ni­ture and a large pool ta­ble that was gifted by mem­bers of the community, the kitchen has also been re­fur­bished. “An elec­tric chair for the Lounge stair­way has been sent to us from the daugh­ters of the Carl Otto Es­tate, kind­ness of Michael Everett and friends who de­liv­ered the equip­ment,” men­tioned Mrs. FletcherDoust.

The only way money to main­tain the build­ing is raised is through its rental for wed­ding re­cep­tions, par­ties, busi­ness re­cep­tions or other events.

This branch has made a few changes in their 65th year, both to ac­com­mo­date some of their ag­ing mem­bers and to spark an in­ter­est in Le­gion ac­tiv­i­ties in the younger gen­er­a­tion. “It is our rou­tine to call each mem­ber at least once a month to no­tify them of the next meet­ing and we changed our meet­ing time dur­ing the win­ter to Sun­day af­ter­noon, fol­lowed by a lun­cheon. This has proven to be very pop­u­lar be­cause many of our mem­bers have trou­ble driv­ing at night,” she added. “An­other change is when we’ll be host­ing the Ar­mistice Din­ner. We used to al­ways hold it on Satur­day night,” said Brig.Gen. Gagnon. “But hav­ing ob­served the in­crease in at­ten­dance at our monthly meet­ings since we be­gan hold­ing them ear­lier, we de­cided to hold the Ar­mistice Din­ner, this year, at 1:00 pm, right af­ter the parade in Hat­ley. All the mem­bers we’ve spo­ken to are happy about the change,” con­tin­ued Mrs. Fletcher-Doust.

Not only has the branch been able to at­tract some younger mem­bers of the community to join in re­cent years, it has also in­cluded young chil­dren in their Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­monies, pro­vid­ing them with lit­tle white crosses to plant at the grave of the Un­known Sol­dier. Happy Birthday MOM! It’s your birthday Mom, So let’s raise a cheer Be­cause with­out you None of us would be here! Love you Mom!

Vicky, Grant, Ken, Karl and Kayla

Photo Stanstead Jour­nal

Ayer’s Cliff Le­gion pres­i­dent Su­san Fletcher-Doust and vice-pres­i­dent Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Robin Gagnon (ret’d), at the far left, kicked off their Poppy Cam­paign by pre­sent­ing pop­pies to lo­cal may­ors (left to right) Guy Le­feb­vre, of Stanstead East, Jac­ques de Le­se­leuc, of Hat­ley, and Alex van Zuiden, of Ayer’s Cliff.

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