Veterans honoured at annual Legion dinner

Marc Benoit, Special to TC Media
Veterans honoured at annual Legion dinner

World War Two veteran Andy Charlebois holds up a photo of himself from his days serving in Europe in the 1940s. Charlebois

CORNWALL, Ontario – Today marks 98 years since the armistice, that ended the First World War, came into force. With ceremonies planned across Canada, and the Commonwealth, and with the familiar poppy adorning almost everyone’s lapel, today is a day long known for mourning, and respecting the sacrifice others others have made.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 297 held a dinner to honour those very individuals in our community on the evening of November 10, 2016. The annual dinner saw over 200 attendees, and was organized by branch president Linda Fisher, and her dedicated team of volunteers.

“Tonight is a way of thanking those who served our country,” said Fisher. “And, to remember those who didn’t come home.”

On hand for the evening as the guest speaker, was Lt. Col. Richard Perreault. Perreault is an active duty officer serving in public affairs for National Defense, in Ottawa. Perreault was honoured to speak to the crowd at the Legion on Wednesday night.

“I’m hoping that hearing from someone who is currently serving, they will maybe give  them some hope that whatever sacrifices were made are not forgotten and will not be forgotten,” said Perreault.

However, the evening truly belonged to the many veterans who had come out to show their support for one another, and to be with their community.

Andre “Andy” Charlebois, who served in the border region between the Netherlands and Germany and was one of the veterans  in attendance at the dinner.

“I was a private, I was overseas for two years. I have some stories that I think, should be told. I think every store from the war should be told,” said Charlebois

“I was wounded and before I got wounded in the war I was sharing a trench with another fellow…we were from Montreal. He got wounded, so I was left alone in the trench. For four days I had no replacement, and I didn’t ask for one,” said Charlebois. “ At the end of four days I got a replacement. I wasn’t very lucky, all he did was pray all the time. I have nothing against prayer, but I was hoping for something braver than me.”

Today also marks the end of an important fundraiser for veterans and supporters of the Legion. The annual poppy drive is a key source of funding for the services provided to veterans by Legion branches across the country.

“Without the support of the Cornwall citizens, we wouldn’t have a poppy drive. With their donations, and they’ve been very generous again, we’re able to help our veterans who are in need,” said Fisher. “It goes a long way for homeless veterans, a lot of people aren’t aware we have homeless veterans. We have several.” 

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