Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 297 are aware that there are several homeless veterans in Cornwall who may need assistance. They strongly believe that no vet should go without and would like veterans in the area to know that they are not a government agency.
“We don’t want to miss people who are struggling outside on the street,” said President, Marvin Plumadore, “These fellows have been left behind for many, many years and the more we can do to help them, the better it is for everybody.”
The Legion is here to provide support to veterans of all kinds, anonymously and with no questions asked. All they need is the veteran’s regimental number to confirm their status.
Legion members can help by providing vets with:
- Food to eat
- Shoes if theirs are worn out
- Transportation to medical appointments
- A safe, warm, dry place to sleep
- Basics like pillows and blankets to start vets off if they find a home
Another way that the Legion helps veterans is by donating to organizations that provide direct support to vets in our community. A few examples include sending food to non-profits like Centre 105 that feed vets and funding hospitals and homes (i.e., the Glen Stor Dun Lodge and St. Joseph’s) that treat and house veterans.
The Legion can also help by seeing if veterans are entitled to a pension that they are not currently getting.
“We know how to apply or help people apply for stuff they need,” explained Dona McNish, 1st vice, “Let’s say they’re not getting the pension that they should be, we can help them apply for it. We can’t get it for them, but we can help them try and get the paperwork going for it.”
The main way that the Legion raises money to help local veterans is via the Poppy Fund, when poppies are given in exchange for donations at booths and boxes across town. This fundraiser runs from the last Friday in October until Remembrance Day on November 11th.
The biggest struggle now is getting veterans to come to them for help in the first place.
“They’re anti-establishment; they have been forced to become that way because of what governments have failed to do for them, or even their next-door neighbour,” said Kerry Patterson, 2nd Vice, “There are so many veterans who came back from Vietnam and Afghanistan that were shamed by their fellow citizens for having participated in those actions, and so they become hermits. And those are the people that we’re trying to help. So many of them have PTSD and it’s a tragic situation.”
The Legion’s main goal is to get these veterans off the street.
The Homes for Heroes Foundation has successfully built two tiny home communities for veterans in Calgary and Edmonton and are in the process of planning a similar community in Kingston, Ontario. Our Legion has reached out to local government representatives, including MP Eric Duncan, to ask for support in building at least 6 tiny homes in the next year to address our local homelessness crisis.