By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

The Valemount and McBride Legions are looking to attract more active members and volunteers to help with their events and allow the branches to conduct business.

Past president and Poppy Chair for the Valemount Legion, Pete Pearson said the branch is looking for active members to fill the quorum at its general meetings. 

He said the minimum number of members needed at a meeting is 12 ” seven executive members and five non-executive. Pearson said the branch hasn’t had that number of attendees at its meetings in months.

“Last general meeting was earlier this month. We had six people show up. We ended up having a two-hour discussion on things, but we can’t do business,” Pearson said.

Because of how the Legion is structured, the branch needs Legion endorsement on the money it spends. Pearson said the only time the branch can get that endorsement is at a general meeting.

He said the branch has about 93 members that maintain their membership, but many live out of town either due to family reasons or previously lived in Valemount and still maintain their membership.

Secretary Treasurer of the McBride Legion, Dennis Rejman, said the branch currently has about 36 members, but would like to see more residents become members or volunteer to help with events, like the branch’s monthly bingo held on the first Wednesday of the month.

“A lot of the members have other commitments and all that and they just can’t help. They have family life and everything else but we would like to have more members,” Rejman said.

Members of the Legion are no longer required to be veterans, but Rejman said the McBride branch is looking for residents that want to be active with the organization.

“They have to want to be a member and want to participate,” Rejman said, adding the branch has some volunteers that help out who aren’t members.

Pearson said the Valemount Legion has been proactive in bringing live music to the community and also hosts weekly Friday night dinners and Sunday pancake breakfasts. He said he would like to expand the type of events the branch offers.

“During COVID we did some car bingos because our people love bingo. Right now their only avenue is McBride so we’re looking to get bingo going again,” Pearson said.

But to facilitate bingo, Pearson said the Legion needs to recruit more volunteers, something he said is a struggle not just for the Legion, but for many community organizations.

“We try not to scare people off because we’re not looking for a huge commitment. We’ve been very lucky that there’s a core group of volunteers, but it’s not big enough,” Pearson said.

On Remembrance Day, the Valemount Legion will host an outdoor ceremony starting at 10:30 a.m. at the community cenotaph before moving inside for refreshments after the 11 a.m. moment of silence.

The McBride Legion is inviting residents to march in a parade with them at 10:30 a.m. from the Legion Hall to the cenotaph at Steve Kolida park. The remembrance service will then be held at 11 a.m., followed by a Remembrance Day Luncheon 12 p.m. at the branch, located at 805 4th Avenue.

Those interested in becoming members of the Legion can sign up online. Interested residents in McBride and contact Rejman at [email protected]. The Valemount Legion will host its executive elections meeting on November 7th. Residents can contact the branch at [email protected] for more information.