A recent letter to the Times unfortunately missed the purpose and outcomes of what was called “an Emergency Meeting” of the membership of our branch of the Canadian Legion.
That January meeting was called to candidly advise members of a pending financial squeeze that was facing the management committee. Just weeks before that meeting, the branch had committed itself and our civic governments to a costly renovation of our War Memorial Cenotaph in the town square. Days later, with winter coming on, the aged water boiler heating system, in our large building failed, needing a total replacement and multi-heat line repairs. Further there were other major obligations to cover: sky rocketing utility costs, increased municipal taxes and daunting insurance premiums.
A plan was proposed and approved by the 90-plus members present, to obtain a “bridge loan” of $40,000 from the Provincial Command to manage these unavoidable expenses. Knowing the burden of borrowing and the down-the-road obligations, several in the audience rose and proposed the formation of a committee to find ways to generate funds, on an on-going basis, to protect and save an organization and a facility that was much more than just a sentimental entity in our community.
Their message was “meet today’s problems as best we can and then let’s create a support system that will sustain that which is so important to all of us.”
The meeting and the Legion leaders got behind the rally, and moved within hours, to plan a way forward. The support grew well beyond that meeting and Taber businesses and service groups were quick to pledge their sponsorship for events and projects that would save our branch and protect its many services. Nearly fifty sponsors have allocated more that $25,000 dollars in cash and special services, including those of this newspaper, to ensure that the branch would always be more than just an historical location.
The executive committee and the new “Sustainability Committee” in 10 short months, gathered funds and voluntary services to construct an income producing, advertising and recognition project in the branch’s front yard. The electronic sign has brightened both main street Taber and the future of the Legion. It is now a permanent reminder of the tremendous generosity of Taber’s business community and its citizenship. Add to that: communications projects, plans for appealing social events, open executive meetings, full transparency of financial affairs, facility upgrades and many personal and powerful commitments to this memorial building.
The tireless and dedicated officers of the branch richly deserve our support and endorsements as they further their achievements and pursue others in order to protect this living monument of remembrance and service. May we all applaud their tireless dedication and their devoted efforts so that our Legion will always be here.
Please join with them and show your support for their energy and their endurance for the Legion’s general meeting on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Legion lounge.