Nipawin Legion puts focus on younger veterans with annual poppy campaign

Vice President and Poppy committee Chairperson Helen Hodgson of Branch #120 pins the first Poppy on Nipawin Mayor Rennie Harper. -- Submitted by Shauna Grassing

The Nipawin branch of the Royal Canadian Legion kicked off their annual Poppy Campaign on Friday by pinning a poppy on the town mayor in honour of Canada’s Veterans.

Current Nipawin Branch Legion President, Shauna Grassing, explained that the Poppy Campaign is a way to educate the public about Canada’s current Veterans and those continuing to serve the country.

“While most of the public thinks of WWII veterans, we have much younger veterans in our community as well,” she said. “The fact that we’re out on the streets and people see us with our poppies, [it] reminds people that we still have Veterans that are serving, Canadian Armed Forces members that are serving every day. The Legion also recognizes RCMP officers as Veterans, so we have them in our mix too.”

Starting on Oct. 28, executives and members of the Nipawin Legion, as well as youth from the Nipawin Air Cadets Squadron will be canvassing the community to sell poppies and wreaths, distributing them to local businesses, and supplying children with their own poppies to wear during the schools’ Remembrance Day services, with all proceeds going into the Poppy Trust Funds to support Canadian Veterans and their families.

“We are able to assist them with things like travel for medical appointments, we can help if they’re having trouble with their bills,” Grassing said. “We are able to help them access programs through the Provincial Service Officer, there are many ways we can help that the public doesn’t really know about.”

The Poppy Funds are held in trust and are strictly controlled by Branch Executives; the collected donations provide financial support to Veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP Officers, and their families in need, according to the Legion website.

The funds can also be used for, but are not limited to, housing accommodations and care facilities, grants for food, medical equipment, and prescription medications, educational bursaries for children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Veterans, supporting the work of the Legion in representing Veterans and organizing Remembrance activities across the nation.

The Royal Canadian Legion will be holding their annual service on Nov. 11th at the Nipawin Evergreen Centre, beginning at 10:45 a.m. A collections plate will be available during the ceremony for those interested in donating to the Poppy Campaign.