The Lacombe Legion will be kicking off the annual poppy campaign tomorrow.
To mark the start of the campaign and to continue on a five-year tradition, two members of the Royal Canadian Legion Lacombe Branch No. 79 presented the symbolic first poppy to City of Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie at City Hall on Tuesday morning.
Each year, from the last Friday in October up until Remembrance Day, Legions across Canada conduct a campaign selling poppies, that will then blossom on lapels and collars of half of Canada’s population.
Lacombe Legion Chair of the Poppy Campaign Jim Pratt said the poppy is a symbol of remembrance of the fallen and it is worn each year for that purpose.
“You’ll be able to buy a poppy at any outlet as of Friday – all of the supermarkets, drug stores and all the stores will have them available,” he said. “Just put your money in the box and take away a poppy.”
The contributions to the poppy campaign nationally support Canada’s serving and retired veterans and their families, while ensuring the nation never forgets.
Pratt said that locally, the funds raised from the poppy campaign go directly back to the community.
“We earned about $35,000 last year in the poppy campaign which is really good,” he said. “All of that has gone back into the community. So it will all be spent, every penny, back in our community and only our community.”
Last year the group gave $5,200 from the poppy campaign to the Lacombe Hospital. Other charities have also received some of the funds, including the Ponoka cadets to name a few.
Pratt said this Friday a group of around 20 volunteers will be going around the City to distribute the poppy boxes at the various businesses.
During the poppy campaign, an approximate 18 million poppies and 70,000 wreaths and crosses are distributed across the nation and overseas each year.
“We are so proud of our Legion and what they do,” said Christie. “Just remember those who fought for our freedoms and democratic rights here in Canada.”
Christie encouraged residents to support the local Legion through the poppy campaign along with attending the upcoming Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 11th.
“Come out to the Lacombe Memorial Centre (LMC),” he said. “I think it is always a full house. Be there early and get a good seat.”
The entire LMC will be open for the ceremony, with the service telecast into the additional rooms for those who cannot sit in the formal service area. The service will begin at 10:30 a.m.
“It will be great to see another full house on Nov. 11th and we will remember them,” said Christie.