Not good for local legion

Bill Balcaen is trying to stay positive, but the president of the Vernon Legion admits it is not looking good for Branch 25.

It's been almost two weeks since the entire executive announced they would be stepping down at the end of April, but so far no one has stepped up to take over.

“It has excited a little bit of concern in the community and I guess that's one of our our aims is to find out if there are people out there who will step up and have the time to do it,” said Balcaen, but so far that plea has fallen on deaf ears.

While once exclusive to veterans, the National Legion changed the rules a few years ago so anyone can now join, however Balcaen said they must be a member for a year before they can serve in the executive.

If a new executive cannot be found by the end of April, the local legion will close its doors.

Legion Command would take over the charter and Branch 25 would cease to exist.

“We have been doing this for six years, and we're all very tired,” said Balcaen of why the executive is stepping down.

Without the charter, legion programs like the annual poppy campaign will likely come to an end.

“There would just be no one to take care of it.”

Balcaen said there is a chance another legion could take over the local poppy campaign, but that would increase their workload and he doesn't know how realistic that would be.

Groups like A.N.A.F. Vets could also take over the campaign, if they choose to do so.

Balcaen said over the years, the local legion has put $600,000 into the community through bursaries and other programs.

“We will disperse all of the monies raised in the community before we close the doors, if it comes to that,” said Balcaen.

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