Within hours of Mayor Jeff Genung receiving the first poppy, the annual campaign of the Cochrane branch of the Royal Canadian Legion went into high gear.
Over the weekend, Cochrane was already shaping up to be a vast field of poppies that would make John McCrae proud.
Even before the Poppy flag was raised at the local branch, Legionnaire and veteran Brian Walford says he had already distributed a number of poppies.
A growing population means more locations have them available on their counter and on the weekend army and air cadets will be stationed at six retail outlets, says Campaign Captain Eric George. Legionnaires will also be in various locations in town on weekdays.
It's anticipated over 10,000 of the poppies will be distributed and the funds donated will assist local veterans. That doesn't include the 6,000 poppies being made available for students in Cochrane area schools.
"It allows us to assist them with food, transportation, housing, medical coverage, medical needs," explains Campaign chair Janet Faynor. "We have services officers available to assist."
Mayor Jeff Genung was presented the first poppy at a brief ceremony at The Station on Oct. 27. The last Friday of October is the traditional kick-off for the campaign.
It's a honour he continued to take to heart.
"It's incredible," says Mayor Genung. "I just feel so proud to be part of a community that has a strong Legion, and takes the time to recognize our vets, have a poppy campaign, and do the Remembrance Day ceremonies. They do such a great job of that.
He says the town has rallied through a tough week in dealing with the waterline break, and now it's time to focus on the Poppy.
Legion 2nd vice-president Brad Ross will once again be leading the Remembrance Day service at the community cenotaph on Nov. 11. A large number of schools will also have their own services and have been reaching out to the local Legion for assistance.
The annual Nation Youth Remembrance contests are also underway and the branch chair is past president Karen Bruens.
The contests include multiple levels of competition. Poster and literary works compete first at the branch level, with winning entries moving forward until they reach the provincial level. Video entries compete first at the Legion Command provincial level. Provincial finalists of all contests then move forward for final judging by the Legion National Foundation to determine the national winners.
You can find full details here.
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