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Shelburne Legion celebrates 85th anniversary




By Jasen Obermeyer

 

On June 10, Shelburne's Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 220, celebrated its 85th anniversary, commemorating past and present veterans, and recognizing all the work the branch has been involved in its long history.

The branch opened in December 1931, but according to Legion President Lesa Peat, they were booked with events and wanted to celebrate with good weather.

1931 is certainly a long time. At that time there was the Great Depression, our Prime Minister was Richard Bedford “R. B.” Bennet, while cars were considered a luxury. The branch has grown to 366 members.

The ceremony saw local veterans, other Legion members, and members of the community attend the special celebration.

The ceremony saw the Legion's Color Party marching down William St. to the Cenotaph outside Town Hall, where a wreath was placed by it to commemorate the branch and all its veterans, and a moment of silence was given.

Peat gave a brief history of the Branch, including listing all former branch presidents. She thanked everyone who attended, and said this anniversary celebration is very important for the veterans.

“It's more to let these people know that this is in fact a Legion, not just an entertainment place.”

Padre Gord Horsley offered a prayer for those who served, and are currently serving their country.

He later told the Free Press in regards to the branch, the veterans are the “key part of this,” and added that since there are less and less veterans from the Second World War and Korea, they were “going to wait to do this on the 90th (anniversary) but we thought if we do it now, there would be some veterans left.”

Rob Stephenson, the youngest veteran at the branch, attended the ceremony, and described it as patriotic.

Stephenson, 46, did a tour in Afghanistan before an explosion put an end to his military career, but said the Legion is a place he can go where others have been through what he went through, both younger and older veterans.

“Besides tactics, there really isn't much of difference,” he said. “At the end of the day, we were both on the battlefield, facing the enemy in combat.”

Peat said they put their veteran first, but the branch is also the biggest hub in Town for community events.

“Any children's organizations, all the schools, we do lots of volunteer hours with the kids for community service,” she said. “This branch puts in for everybody in the community.”
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