Here’s the latest from the Peachland Legion!
It’s going to be a big breakfast at the Legion on July 27, and it will have all the good things. Plus, money raised is going to a great cause – the Military Police Fund for Blind Children. It’s run by military police volunteers who find kids in different communities live with blindness by providing needed resources, from guide dogs to training, other specialized equipment, and recreation activities, too.
Nikki Montgomery at the Legion tells me there will be about 30 Military Police motorcycle riders at the Legion on the 27th – and everyone is welcome to attend (they do have an 83-person total capacity).
There’s a new patio and a new president – but what hasn’t changed at Peachland’s local Legion is its focus on community. Dave Reichert is now leading the way, taking over from longtime president Jean Saul.
Crediting her years of service, Reichert says the current executive is focussed on being financially viable – so they can continue to raise money for Peachland groups. Money raised through the Poppy Fund goes to veterans of course, “but the money that’s collected from things like the meat draws, that goes directly to our community groups.”
Not being able to host meat draws (because of COVID restrictions) means the Legion needs to get creative – and Reichart is pleased that so many Peachlanders are coming out of the woodwork to help.
“Whether it’s financial help, work help, intellectual help – anything we can possibly capitalize on from our membership and volunteers, is huge, and they’ve been fantastic.”
A GoFundMe drive has about $450 so far, but it doesn’t count the donations that are being dropped off, plus the little (big) things people are doing. The recent donation of a big-screen TV to maybe attract the sports crowd, and a blower to clean up the new patio are a couple examples.
Non-members are always welcome too, Reichert says.
“Just coming in and getting something to eat, or to drink, all those things, every contribution is putting us in the right direction. We still have a ways to go, but we’re definitely going in the right direction.”
The Legion is hosting another one of its bottle drives this Saturday, June 26. It’s in the usual place, the IGA parking lot and they’ll be set up from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“My biggest thing is just to get everybody working together,” says Reichert.
“That’s what we’re all here for – the community and for the Legion. We have to make sure the Legion is a success.”
The Peachland Legion opened up their kitchen Christmas Day. Did you catch up on how some locals spent their day? It was a great team effort:
For months, they researched and worked on 21 white crosses, each commemorating a Peachland soldier lost during the
First and Second World Wars. And on Nov. 4, a small group including Saul, gathered at the Field of Crosses they created for a short, but meaningful service.
“We had to do a fair bit of research,” says Saul of researching the names and ages on each cross.
“Some of them we could not find a date of death, some of them we couldn’t find an age…but it will recognize all 21 people whose names are inscribed on the cenotaph, and they were all Peachlanders.”
Peachland, as you may know, has the sad distinction of losing the most men per capita of any Canadian town during the First World War. During the ceremony, Saul reminded those gathered they were young
people with their whole lives ahead when they died.
“Take a look at their names. Their ages,” she said.
Here they are:
Sgt. Harold Birkett
Pte. Frank Chapman
Corporal William Dryden
Pte. Ernest McKay
Pte. John Morrison
Pte. Charles Needham
Pte. George Neeham
Pte. Norman Pope
Lance Cpl. Alex Seaton
Pte. Archie Seaton
Pte. Emmett Shaw
Pte. Charles Sutherland
Pte. Arthur Theobald
Pte. Herbert Vivian
Private Royal Edwin Bartee
Warrant Officer 2 Raymond Hathaway Wilson
Flying Officer Frederick Henry Mills
Flying Officer George Robert Pringle
Pte. Robert Laidlaw
Pte. Harry Urquhart
The Legion’s last two bottle drives have been huge successes! A whopping 41,988 bottles, cans and refundable containers were dropped off at the IGA July 11. That means the Legion raised $4,101.58. And their Sept 12 bottle drive raised almost $3,900. That money goes towards helping other groups in the community. Dozens of hard-working volunteers put in long hours for those donations! The Legion wants to thank all Peachlanders for their support.
About the Legion:
We will never forget, and the Peachland Legion Branch #69 plays an essential role in ensuring our town knows and appreciates the sacrifice of all veterans. They do a lot more than hand out poppies and provide veterans’ support – in addition to their important role during Remembrance Day, the Legion contributes to many local groups. Most recently, they made a donation towards the repair of the historic mural across from Heritage Park, which was damaged by vandals.
Earlier this year, the Legion commemorated the 75th anniversary of Canadian Troops liberating Holland, which happened on May 2, 1945 – an occasion especially poignant as we lose more of our veterans from those years.
Branch phone number: (250) 767-9100
See Nov 6 story More info on Remembrance Day in Peachland
See Oct 13 story Only 50 allowed at this year’s indoor Remembrance Day ceremony
See May 4 story Tulips and troubling times: How is the Legion doing?