Yesterday, $1,777.55 in cash plus a $50 cheque donation were presented to the Cochrane branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, thanks to an outpouring of support of residents to a grassroots bottle drive.

Word of its launch spread quickly, and even the volunteers were pleasantly surprised by massive response.

Local Legion president and District Commander Karen Bruens was thrilled with the donation. She didn't know the amount raised until she received the money.

Just prior to the bottle drive, Bruens says the Legion was harshly criticized via Facebook. They didn't respond, nor have any part of it.

"Shortly afterwards, we got the message from Paul that he was going to do this bottle drive, and we thought that was fantastic. It's so great to see the community supports the Legion, and everyone is welcome to come in."

Spearheaded by Singh Palwinder (Paul) and Kelsey Yoachim, the bottle drive was launched in early September. They were kept busy in all their spare time collecting and sorting the bottles in a campaign that ended late last week.

The Legion is a popular location for meetings and events, and they took a major hit in revenue because of COVID-19.

Now, use of the hall is starting to come back slowly. The Cochrane Rotary Club, for one, holds their regular meetings there.

There is also a Dementia group that meets at the hall, at no charge.

"My mandate is really to get service clubs to work together. Our focus is veterans and their family, but we deeply care about the community, and we do help out." 

The Legion is currently preparing for its annual Poppy Drive that aids veterans and their families. Because of COVID-19, there will be major changes in how they conduct the ceremony.