For the past 90 years, one of the strongest symbols of the Royal Canadian Legion has been the poppy. Every year volunteers spread throughout the community collecting donations for poppies, to be worn until Remembrance Day on Nov. 11.
One of those volunteers is Grade 10 Belmont student Matthew Brabant, a member of the 848 Royal Roads Air Cadet Squadron. Brabant was the recipient of this year’s first poppy at a ceremony outside of the Langford Legion last Friday at 11 a.m.
While raindrops pelted onlookers and the poppy campaign’s flag was raised, Brabant received the first poppy, a symbol of sacrifices not to be forgotten. That moment officially marked the beginning of this year’s campaign.
“It’s an honour,” Brabant said. “It’s pretty cool.”
The Legion’s Prince Edward Branch 91 in Langford has struggled to find others to sell poppies.
“Our biggest issue is volunteers,” said branch president Norm Scott. “So far this year we’re suffering. All we’re asking for is two hours from someone. You’d be helping veterans and families in need and youth in our community.”
Each year Branch 91 tries to increase public contributions. Last year’s poppy campaign raised about $78,000, all of which stayed in the community.
“We always rely on volunteers to match the previous year,” added Ervin Kobialko, who oversees the campaign. To volunteer as a poppy seller, call 250-478-9812.