Branch #99 of the Royal Canadian Legion has been part of the community of Sicamous for more than 80 years. In that time, the branch has experienced many ups and downs, but with the help of the community and its membership we have survived to become a strong advocate for our veterans, their dependents and the community at large.
In order to appreciate what the legion does, it is important to first know who we are. We are an association of Canadian citizens, non-sectarian and not affiliated to or connected with any politician party or organization. Our mandate is to serve veterans and their dependents, promote remembrance and to act in the service of Canada and the community. No military affiliation is necessary for membership.
The service to veterans and dependents is financed by the annual poppy drive donations and the sale of Remembrance Day wreaths. These wreaths are purchased by the branch and sold throughout the community with a small mark up, typically five per cent. Funds raised through the poppy drive and wreath sales can only be used to support veterans and their dependents.
Our gaming funds are the proceeds of our weekly meat draws and occasional raffles. All money in this fund must be returned to the community in the form of donations to community groups, maintenance of the medical equipment library, assistance to those in need on an emergency basis, and other charitable donations. This year we have supported the Safe Kids rally, literacy programs, provided child identification kits to schools and preschool groups, donated $650 to the Fireman’s Club, $1,100 to the Eagle Valley Rescue Society and, in conjunction with our Ladies Auxiliary donation, $1,550 to the Sicamous Girl Guides. The legion support for the Guides in the last three years has resulted in increased enrolment from 13 to approximately 46 young women and children. In addition to these donations, our medical equipment lending library has made available to the community, two electric scooters, five manual wheelchairs, three walkers and various canes. This equipment is available to all at no charge.
Branch #99, in a typical year, donates $12,000 to $15,000 to local charities and community groups, and spends more than $100,000 on goods and services within the community. The branch is financed by proceeds from the canteen, approximately $10 per member from membership dues and proceeds from hall rental. The support of all members is therefore critical to our continued success.
Our aim for the coming months is to have every member visit the branch once each week. With that support, Branch #99 will be able to continue to fulfill its mandate in the community.
Submitted by Cyril Gosse, president, Branch 99.