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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Legion Week activities hoped to draw in new members

by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

With over 700 members, the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201) is the largest branch in Southwestern Ontario, something of which local supporters of the service organization are

extremely proud.


With there always being a need to bring in new members, the Essex Legion kicked-off its 2023 Legion Week celebrations on Sunday with the annual wreath- laying ceremony at the Essex Centre cenotaph.


It is hoped a week filled with a variety of fun and engaging activities, from September 17-24, will draw in community members who may want to learn more about becoming a member.


Legion Week is a multiple-day event that offers fun activities for community members, over the age of 19, to enjoy. While designed to be fun, Legion Week is hosted at many branches across the nation, so

community members can learn about the many services and programs the local Legion offers.


The Essex Legion is dedicated to supporting local youth initiatives and in assisting Veterans in a variety of ways.


At Sunday’s kick-off at the cenotaph, Padre Kim Gilliland said it is always heartfelt to see the turnout at the wreath-laying ceremony. This year’s event attracted over 30 individuals, who were pleased to show their support to Veterans and the Legion.


He noted Essex is a community that is supportive, and that was demonstrated with those who attended the event.


After the wreath- laying ceremony wrapped-up on Sunday afternoon, attendees were invited back to the Essex Legion to enjoy a barbeque with musical entertainment.


Legion Week continued with a darts tournament on Monday evening and a Euchre tournament on Tuesday night. Wednesday’s activities include burger day, from 11am-1:30pm, followed by a cornhole tournament at 7pm. On Thursday, the Essex Legion will host the always popular trivia night and community members are invited to attend the annual pickerel fish fry, from 4:30-7pm, on Friday.


Festivities for Legion Week will continue on Saturday with the Big Daddy Meat Draw, and will wrap-up on Sunday with the always anticipated Kinger’s Krazy Golf tournament, which combines the

popular sport with an array of twists and challenges on the green.


New members for the Essex Legion and the Ladies’ Auxiliary are always welcome. Those interested can head into the Branch and ask for an application form.


Looking ahead, Essex Legion President, Dave Renaud, noted that the Poppy Campaign will

kick-off at the end of October, and volunteers are always needed to assist with that annual

fundraiser that allows the local Legion to support Veterans and its many c o m m u n i t y - r e l a t e d initiatives.


The Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is also already preparing to host the annual Remembrance Day celebration in November. Working backwards from the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, it will have individuals take turns standing in a vigil at the cenotaph. The number of volunteers who sign-up will determine how long the vigil will last leading up to the ceremony.


More information on both initiatives will be available soon. Those interested in getting involved can reach out to the Legion at that time.


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