On April 16, 1931 a group of veterans of His Majesty’s Forces, held a meeting at the Russell Hotel in Golden. The meeting was well attended and as a result Branch 122 of the Canadian Legion was formed and after 86 years continues to serve the community and the veterans who reside here.
It was formed with one mission; being Golden’s “Keepers of Remembrance,” and to support veterans and the community. However, recently the Legion has fallen on hard times and needs community support more than ever.
In January, the Legion made an appeal to the public. The appeal worked as the public had a very good response and things began picking up. Attendance at functions increased and the Legion was once again making a profit.
“It was a slow start to the year, but the public awareness was renewed after we sent out the appeal,” said Legion President Ed Coon.
However, the Legion needs continuous support. Earlier this year, Coon met with the branch advisor and discovered ways the branch can improve. They set up an operational plan, set up a budget, and sent a card out to the members, asking for assistance. This proved to be successful as they started receiving a number of donations.
Coon is currently in his second term as president of the Legion. Before becoming president, Coon was on the executive board for 16 years. Having now been in the position for two years, he continues to work hard to ensure the Legion remains open and sees success. While Coon himself is not a veteran, his father and all his uncles were and he has always felt a deep gratitude for those who served and fought for the country and so to him the Legion means showing respect for those military members.
“I never did join the military but I’ve always had respect for the people who did,” Coon said.
The Legion is an integral and important part of the community and Coon says it helps veterans out in numerous ways. It has programs available for veterans and RCMP. Programs that deal with post traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol addiction, and other rehab options are available for veterans.
“It’s important that veterans get the support they need,” Coon said.
The Legion also gives back to the community in many different ways. They support the local cadet branch and make donations to them as well as donations to other youth groups.
Vice president Randy Hamilton has been a member of the Legion since he was 19 years old. His grandfather fought in the Korean war and he also has the same respect for the veterans.
The Legion is open for the public and anyone is allowed inside. Hamilton says a great way to show support to the Legion is to come out and participate.
“Come out to meetings, come to the branch and participate,” Hamilton said.
These events can be anything from karaoke nights, impersonators, and their weekly meat draw. The banquet hall is also available to rent for any event the public wants to hold. Anything from birthday parties to office banquets.
“Our doors are open to the public and we ask when considering where to spend your money, you think in terms of assisting a social enterprise and spending it in our lounge,” Coon said.
The Golden Legion continues to be a place of support for the veterans in the community. Despite it falling on hard times recently, the history of 86 years in Golden has improved the community and Coon hopes they can continue to improve.