Royal Canadian Legion Branch #113 in Ashcroft is gearing up for its annual Veterans’ Dinner on November 3, and would like to invite all veterans (including active and retired members of the Armed Forces, the RCMP, and reservists) to attend at no charge and be honoured by the community.
Steve Clark, the Ashcroft Legion’s bar and building manager, says that the event is held in conjunction with the weekly Friday dinner, which is open to all members of the public—including children—whether they are members or not.
“It’s the best way of recognizing the contributions that veterans have made in a general forum,” he says. “And not all veterans are Legion members, for a variety of reasons, so they might not hear about it. We want to ensure that we get the word out, because we really want to recognize the veterans in our community.”
Clark says that the Ashcroft Legion has members who served in World War II, as well as in Korea and Bosnia. “There are two World War II vets living at the Ashcroft Hospital.”
The Ashcroft Legion has recently undergone some renovations, having received a $20,000 grant to install new flooring. They also fundraised for three years to be able to purchase all-new chairs for the Legion, with some plastering and painting work still to be completed.
Changes to rules surrounding who can come to the Legion mean that children are able to attend the weekly dinner, as well as special events such as Canada Day and Remembrance Day. Adults who are not Legion members can also attend all events, including the weekly Saturday meat draw, as long as they sign in, and respect the institution.
The weekly dinner on Friday is $12 per person ($14 per person on steak nights), and includes a full dinner, salad, and dessert. The local Sea Cadets branch regularly comes in to help with the preparation, serving, and clean-up of the dinners as a fundraiser, with the Legion taking out the cost of the dinner and giving the rest to the cadets.
At the Veterans’ Dinner on November 3, the Legion will be honouring the veterans present, as well as holding a ceremony of recognition for those who did not make it. Long-service pins will also be awarded to longstanding Legion members.
“We ask the vets to stand and be introduced and recognized by the public. It won’t stop the world, but it’s a nice way to say thank you to all of them.”