The Royal Canadian Legion’s Poppy Campaign runs nation-wide from Oct. 27 to Nov. 11. At the
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 517 Petawawa Cenotaph on Oct. 20, (left to right) 4th Canadian Division Support Group Commander Colonel Louis Lapointe, Branch President Bob Howell, Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet and 4 CDSG Formation Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Tom Verner launched the local campaign with donations for poppies. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)

Annual Legion Poppy Campaign begins Friday

By Lisa Brazeau

Posted on Thursday, October 26, 2017

Every year, The Royal Canadian Legion conducts the Poppy campaign to raise funds in support of Veterans and their families.

This year’s campaign will officially begin on Friday, Oct. 27, though it was launched with the presentation of the first poppies by Branch President Bob Howell to 4th Canadian Division Support Group Commander Colonel Louis Lapointe, 4 CDSG Formation Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Tom Verner and Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 517 Petawawa on Oct. 20.

Through donations to the Legion Poppy Fund, the Legion provides financial assistance and support to Veterans, including Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP, and their families when a need arises.

“The Poppy Fund is there for a reason - to support today’s veterans, future veterans and the veterans of the past,” said Howell.

Locally, Poppy Fund proceeds have been used to support initiatives including the Pembroke Regional Hospital’s MRI: Image Matters campaign, capital projects at the Deep River and District Hospital, and more recently, Ruck 2 Remember, which raises funds for Operation: Leave the Streets Behind, a registered charity helping homeless Veterans find sustainable housing.

Funds are strictly controlled with appropriate approval processes, noted Howell; uses include grants for housing and care facilities, transportation, educational bursaries for the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Veterans, Veteran Transition Programs, as well as basic needs like food, heating costs, clothing, and prescription medication.

“If they can’t pay their bills, they can come to see us and we help them out,” Howell added.

For the next two weeks, volunteers will be out in the local business community with poppy donation boxes, and poppies will also be available on Garrison Petawawa at canteens, messes and offices.

“We have a big role to play in the military because it’s our duty to remember,” said Colonel Lapointe. “Now that the Brigade is on High Readiness and we have people deploying all the time overseas, it’s very important for us to participate in and contribute to the Poppy campaign.”

This year marks a significant year of remembrance; in addition to Canada’s 150th, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, and the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid, 2017 marks 100 years since the Battle of Passchendaele, the Third Battle of Ypres. It will be commemorated at the Garrison Petawawa Business Luncheon on Nov. 9.

The Petawawa Legion’s Remembrance Dinner also falls on Nov. 9, followed by a Candlelight ceremony. Candles will be lit and placed at the foot of the Cenotaph where they will remain until Nov. 11.

The branch Remembrance Day cermony will commence Nov. 11 with a parade to the cenotaph followed by an 11 a.m service.