PARRY SOUND- Parry Sound has a lot to be proud of when it comes to the accomplishments of the region’s veterans.
From left to right, Ernie Watthey, a Legion service bureau officer, mayor Jamie McGarvey and Hector Lebert, local poppy chairperson, kick off the annual poppy campaign by raising the flag at the Parry Sound municipal building. Parry Sound has a reputation for being an exceedingly generous community to the campaign. Organizers point out that the money raised in Parry Sound stays in the community and goes toward things like the local hospital and supporting veterans.
Roland Cilliers/Beacon Star
Many a soldier hailing from the Parry Sound district has paid the ultimate price in service to Canada. Perhaps most notably, the famed Algonquin Regiment took part in key battles across western Europe during the Second World War. Unfortunately, as a result, many Parry Sounders did not return home.
To honour their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of countless Canadians who served in the armed forces, thousands of people in the district will wear the distinctive red poppy. The annual local poppy campaign kicked off last week and will run until November 11. During that time, boxes selling the distinctive red poppies will be found all across the region.
In the past, the Parry Sound district has been very supportive of the campaign and the region’s veterans.
Hector Lebert, local poppy fund chair, said Parry Sound is a very generous community when it comes to the poppy campaign.
“We just like to thank the people of Parry Sound for all their generous donations in the past,” said Lebert. “All the money raised here in Parry Sound stays in Parry Sound.”
On behalf of the Canadian Legion, the campaign has funded major donations to the local hospital for things like a defibrillator monitor. Earlier this year, funds from the campaign went towards a new c-Arm for the local hospital. A c-Arm, called that because of its shape, is used for fluoroscopy, a process where doctors are able to get live images of anywhere in the body.
“In the past year we’ve donated over $25,000 to Parry Sound Hospital , and then we help our veterans too in different ways with glasses and teeth and traveling et cetera,” Lebert said.
The local campaign is just one small part of a fund that supports veterans and communities all over Canada.
Today, the poppy campaign is an institution across the country. Roughly 18 million reproductions of the bright red flowers will be distributed across the nation, but the campaign had very humble beginnings.
The poppy was officially adopted as the “Flower of Remembrance” by the Great War Veterans Association, the forefather of the Royal Canadian Legion, in 1921. The flower was selected following a petition who had earlier convinced the British Legion to use the flower in their fundraising.
Remembrance Day services are planned in communities all over the Parry Sound District. For more information on the annual poppy fundraiser visit www.legion.ca.