Drop­ping poppy sales in need of boost

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

The sale of pop­pies lead­ing up to Re­mem­brance Day is an im­por­tant fundraiser for Le­gions across Canada, in­clud­ing Drumheller, to con­tinue to sup­port vet­er­ans and other pro­grams.

How­ever, it ap­pears that some of the sup­port might be drop­ping.

In Drumheller over the last three years, the rev­enue from the sale of pop­pies has dropped con­sis­tently. In 2013, the sales raised to­taled $10,659.20, and in 2014, they raised $9,142.35. In 2015, that num­ber dropped to $8,776.62.

Ed La­plante of the Drumheller Le­gion ex­plains that all the funds are used to serve vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies, and the faces of vet­er­ans now are a lot dif­fer­ent, a lot younger.

“That’s be­cause, the old ones, we just about have none,” he said. “Right now if you were to ask me how many World War II vet­er­ans we have liv­ing in the val­ley, I wouldn’t know. I know we have one Korean War vet in the val­ley. The other ones I knew are ei­ther dead or they have moved.”

He ex­plains there has been a change in the def­i­ni­tion of vet­eran.

“As long as they served in the reg­u­lar force or a re­serve unit out­side of Canada like Bos­nia, or UN or NATO tours , they are clas­si­fied as vet­er­ans, even though they weren’t in­volved in com­bat,” said La­plante.

He said there are still con­flicts around the world where Canada is serv­ing.

“Right now we have about 100 special forces in Iraq. My nephew is there right now, they are not fight­ing, but they are be­hind the lines train­ing,” he said.

While the do­na­tions have been fall­ing, La­plante ex­plains the Le­gion is care­ful to main­tain an ac­count to make sure they are able to help vet­er­ans, and he said the Le­gion has never turned down a vet­eran in need.

Last year from the lo- cal Poppy fund, the Le­gion ded­i­cated $2,193.25 to as­sis­tance of vet­er­ans, $1,500 to sup­port the lo­cal cadet corps, awarded, $270 to win­ners of the Poster and Lit­er­ary con­test and gave out $500 of bur­saries in the com­mu­nity.

The Poppy Cam­paign kicks off this Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 28, and pop­pies will be avail­able in stores through­out the com­mu­nity.

Ed La­plante Drumheller Le­gion As long as they served in the reg­u­lar force or a re­serve unit out­side of Canada like Bos­nia, or UN or NATO tours, they are clas­si­fied as vet­er­ans, even though they weren’t in­volved in com­bat."

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