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How do you remember Veterans in your community?

COURTNEY McCLURE, The Standard

UXBRIDGE: At the Royal Canadian Uxbridge Legion, branch 170, in Uxbridge, they host a number of events to honour Veterans.

These Veteran outreach initiatives are hosted during specific months throughout the year. For example, there are initiatives during Easter, Canada Day and Remembrance Day. But these aren’t the only days the Uxbridge Legion celebrates local Veterans, or aren’t the only times which the issues of Veterans need to be addressed.

These initiatives were started to help students, from local elementary and high schools, connect with Veterans in their community. This Veterans outreach program was started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants create, assemble and deliver gifts to local Veterans for these initiatives. There are also some adults who help out with these programs as well.

This will be their second year running this initiative. The program coordinator at the Uxbridge Legion, Tish MacDonald is spearheading this initiative.

Veterans received a written card or note from a local elementary school student this Valentine’s Day. There are 28 local Veterans who received the Valentine Outreach box, said Ms. MacDonald. Some local elementary schools have also provided crafts for the Veterans for some of these initiatives.

According to Ms. MacDonald, the Veterans’ outreach initiatives are run through the “Honour Them Well” remembrance program.

Al Bainbridge is one of the Veterans who has been involved with the Uxbridge Legion for about nine years. Mr. Bainbridge worked as a United Nations peacekeeper. During his time with the United Nations peacekeepers, he did three tours. One was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and two in the Middle East.

Mr. Bainbridge is helping out with the Valentine’s Day initiative by delivering three of the boxes to other local Veterans.

“Nobody treats us as well as Tish MacDonald,” said Mr. Bainbridge. He also named a few other members of the Uxbridge Legion, like the president, Sherril Hodgson.

According to Mr. Bainbridge, the Uxbridge Legion hosts initiatives for the Veterans “all the time.”

“It makes it feel worthwhile… what we did,” he said.

The Uxbridge Legion hosts one or two Veterans’ dinners throughout the year. But, according to Mr. Bainbridge, the Legion hasn’t been hosting them because of the pandemic.

“I hope we can get back to that sort of thing,” he said.

Mr. Bainbridge said, for many years, many people ignored Veterans within the community.

“But Uxbridge doesn’t do that,” he said. “This whole thing the Legion does, and Tish does, is just fantastic.”

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