Honorary President Sid Littlewood, from the Royal Canadian Legion in Trail, was pinned the first poppy of 2017 by student Charlie O’Hearn-Stone. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Tireless volunteers at the Trail Legion

Last year, the Trail Legion donated more than $38,000 to 51 local causes

Sid Littlewood can usually be found cooking over a hot grill at the Trail Legion the last Sunday of every month.

Veteran volunteers have been serving up a hearty monthly breakfast for six years as a way to get together and visit as well as fundraise for various local causes.

The former Army Reservist was named Honorary President of the Trail branch this year, and he reached another milestone this week – Monday was his 85th birthday.

Not one to let a number slow him down, Sid will keep on flipping eggs over easy and grilling bacon every last Sunday of the month.

“Anybody can come,” he said. “One time I remember a crowd of 212.”

Littlewood is just one of many Legion members who take centre stage this time of year as “Canada Remembers” on Nov. 11. But really, every day the Legion’s presence reverberates throughout Greater Trail communities thanks to their tireless efforts in volunteering and fundraising for charities.

Last year alone, Trail Legion Branch #11 donated over $38,000 to 51 local causes through general donation funds ($12,100), $11,000 in poppy campaign proceeds and $15,000+ through gaming grants.

Those who benefit are all ages, from young dancers, cadets and minor hockey players to high school graduates, the Salvation Army’s Meals on Wheels patrons, memoriums to the Canada Cancer Society – and the largest donation, $6,000, went to the purchase of a bed lift at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.

Aside from helping the community-as-a-whole, Legion members are dedicated to helping each other.

Littlewood filled the role of service officer for a number of years.

“I am not that well educated so I don’t go for jobs like writing,” he laughed. “So service officer was the one that stands out the most to me … any veteran that has a problem can contact the service officer and we try to help with things like dental work they can’t afford and we help with medical expenses.”

He recalled one instance that dealt with a health condition many aging veterans experience – difficulty walking long distances and trouble getting into, or out of, their homes.

“To get out of his house, there were a few steps then across his yard,” Littlewood explained. “And to go up he would have to use a wheelchair. This was summer and we couldn’t get a contractor for the small job, so a couple of friends volunteered and built a ramp from his front porch to the roadway,” he added. “The Legion covered the cost so he could get in and out of his house.”

In addition to helping local veterans, monies raised from the annual poppy campaign continue to support broader veteran initiatives such as the Veteran’s Transition Program, the Legion Service Dog program and Cockerill House for homeless veterans.