By Moneca Jantzen
This month, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 52 Kamloops is marking a significant milestone, namely its 90th anniversary alongside the nationally recognized Legion Week set to take place from June 23 to July 1.
In an effort to honour this occasion, the local chapter has a multitude of events planned which include a pancake breakfast, a veteran’s luncheon, an open house and a gala dinner and dance. They will also mark the occasion permanently with a memorial at the Battle Street cenotaph by planting an oak tree.
The local branch of the legion currently boasts about 400 members; a membership that is made up of servicemen of all stripes, be they Army, Navy, Airforce, RCMP or reservists, as well as affiliate members — Friends of the Legion — those that have not served but support the organization.
According to the local website: Kamloops Branch 52 obtained its Charter on May 27, 1927. The first Branch was located on Lorne Street before moving to 425 Lansdowne Street in 1930. At that time the building was owned by the Legion. In 1979 the Branch moved to the 1200 block of Victoria Street in an effort to find larger quarters.
In 2002, as fortunes changed, the Branch returned to its former location at 425 Lansdowne Street, although now the Legion rents the premises from the United Steel Workers Union, Local 40, who have their offices upstairs.
In those 90 years, the Legion has supported many causes and continues to do so to this day. Not only do they support their veteran members when needed, the Legion gives tens of thousands of dollars annually to various community groups including youth sports teams attending international competitions, the local hospice, RIH, and other youth organizations including the various cadet groups. Not unlike other service clubs, proceeds from weekly meat draws and other fundraising activities represent an enormous contribution to our local community.
An Open House will take place on June 24 and 25 and the Legion will be open to the public. This family-friendly event will offer snacks and displays and will provide an opportunity to find out more about the Legion, whether one is a prospective member or a curious member of the public. Everyone is welcome.
Part of the anniversary celebrations will include a nod to cadets and their families on June 25 with a pancake breakfast from 10 a.m. till noon. The Legion is a huge supporter of the cadet programs and often assists with the costs involved with travel, equipment and uniforms.
On June 27 it will be the Veterans’ turn to be honoured with a special Veteran’s Luncheon. This will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to any and all vets, reservists, as well as retired or active RCMP. It is not necessary to be a member. Lunch will feature soup, sandwiches and dessert as well as a presentation of distinguished service awards. A handmade quilt will be awarded to one of our more senior veterans. If interested in attending please RSVP by June 25 by calling 250-374-1742.
The grand finale for the week will happen on June 30 with a Gala Dinner and Dance. This semi-formal occasion is open to the public and invited guests. Tickets will be available at the local branch by June 10. Please call 250-374-1742 to reserve tickets or for more information. Besides the dinner there will be recognition awards and a dance with a live band to follow.
Come out and help celebrate this important milestone and visit the website at kamloopslegion.com for more information.