Lawn sign campaign honouring veterans, raising funds for Brockville legion
Signs are popping up all over Brockville to honor war veterans, thanks to a new initiative to help raise funds for the local Royal Canadian Legion branch.
Brockville residents are making sure they don’t miss out, snapping up the signs at Branch 96 on Park Street, including veteran Peggy Atkins.
“It’s great. I like to see the support from the local people for the veterans no matter who the veterans are,” she said.
Atkins was in the Air Force at Trenton, retiring in 2000 as an Aviation Technician.
“People need to realize that there’s veterans from present time, that are more recent,” she said.
Atkins was part of the veteran’s coffee club group that helped line the downtown with commemorative banners a few weeks ago.
“(The signs) are nice, they’re pleasant to look at,” she said. “The poppy, the silhouette of the two military personnel, the bugler, the reverse rifle, I think it’s great.”
“I’ve seen some around town and I loved it and now I need this,” noted Helen Dier, also picking up a lawn sign.
“It should have been a long time ago, I’m sorry it’s taken so long to be inventive to create them,” she added.
Lawn signs made at Ketchum Manufacturing to honor war veterans and raise funds for the Royal Canadian Legion at Brockville. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)
Branch president Ralph McMullen says the signs have been a popular item to show support for those who served.
“I can’t speak for all the veterans but it gets me here,” McMullen said, pointing to his heart. “It shows that people still care which means a lot. I get emotional when I start talking about stuff like this, I was never overseas, but I respect what they’ve done.”
The idea came from former Brockville mayor and Ketchum Manufacturing co-owner Jason Baker, after receiving inquiries about the large sign in front of his business on California Avenue.
Baker then approached the legion to ask if the company could help “paint the town with remembrance” leading up to Nov. 11.
“The legion does a really good job in the community but they are not always the greatest in asking for help for themselves,” Baker said. “So I saw an opportunity for taking products that we do and making a benefit for the legion.”
“We just got done elections signs and we thought this was something we could do for everybody to show their appreciation and their gratitude to the legion for Remembrance Day,” he added.
They hope to have 1000 signs dotting the landscape around the community.
“As of this morning we’re approaching 800, so I think with the community’s help we will get over the top,” he added.
Peggy Atkins with her sign in support of the Royal Canadian Legion in Brockville. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)
All proceeds raised will go right back to Brockville Branch 96, to help with maintenance costs on the 50-year-old building.
“Let’s face it, the three years that we were open, closed, open, closed, we weren’t bringing money in, we still had to pay our bills,” McMullen said. “It’s going towards our building fund and general fund; we have to start replacing stuff.”
“They can use it for whatever purpose they want to,” Baker added. “Our goal is to hand them a check after Remembrance Day for at least $15,000.”
“We’re on target to do that. We hope that check is much larger than that,” he said.
Both men said this year’s ceremony downtown is expected to be well attended, after not having a full ceremony for three years.
“Our vision was when a veteran is heading down to the Remembrance Day ceremony, they had to get by all of these signs that are a way of everybody expressing what Remembrance Day means to them,” Baker said.
“This is a way for the community to kind of reinvigorate Remembrance Day and make sure it goes beyond words that are said on the 11th,” Baker said.
“Each day I’m coming up Reynolds Drive and off of Oxford Avenue and I count them, and every day there is an extra one or two out there,” McMullen smiled.
Two different sizes of signs are available: a residential sign for $20, and a 4-by-8 foot business sign for $100.
“The people are just thrilled with them,” added McMullen. “They think they are just great.”
“Help the Legion just continue on with the building and hopefully continue to serve veterans,” noted Atkins, who would like to see some more veterans join the legion in the coming months.
“People forget about Korea veterans and now there are veterans from Afghanistan,” she said.
McMullen said you can become a member for less than $60, and memberships are even available for those who have never served.
“Anything I can help you with, we’re glad to do and we’re here for our veterans and their families and the community,” he said.
Signs can be purchased in person at Legion Branch 96 on Park St., or ordered online at www.ketchumdesign.ca.