Flag raising at the Chatham-Kent Civic Centre for Legion Week. (Photo courtesy of the municipality of Chatham-Kent)

Royal Canadian Legions Open Their Doors

Several branches of the Royal Canadian Legion are using this week to promote their services and create a sense of inclusivity.

Gabriele Maynard, membership chair at the Chatham branch, says they’re hoping to engage the community and promote the fact that membership is no longer restricted to just veterans.

“We’re finding that having closed doors to just members, isn’t community-minded,” she says. “We’re here in the community and we want to be part of it, we don’t want to [segregate].”

Maynard says many people have a person in their family who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces, therefore having some kind of link to the legion. For those who don’t have a relative who has served, Maynard says someone interested in becoming a member can also have a present member recommend them.

One way of getting people to learn more about the legion is through activities held during Legion Week.

“This is to invite the community into our different branches and let the community understand what the legion is all about,” she says. “It’s also to thank the community for all of the donations.”

Maynard say for those interested, the legion is holding their early bird membership drive until November.

Legion Week runs until September 23.

Several activities are planned at each of the different branches, for example, the Chatham branch has kicked off a history themed night on Thursday’s at 6:30pm, where people can take a look at old photos and learn the background of some veterans.

“That’s one of the things that we’re really trying to promote right now and the legion is always here for anyone that requires assistance,” she says. “If you’re a veteran and you need assistance, come in and speak to our services officer — young and old, we can not forget our young people also.”