CONSTANCE BAY – The West Carleton Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 616, continues to be closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and is unsure at this time when doors will open again.
“Branch 616 will remain closed until further notice,” Branch 616 public relations officer Arleen Morrow released in a statement last week (Aug. 7). “We are evaluating monthly. Although the province announced Phase Three for business openings, our branch has limitations and costs would be greater than we can sustain.”
Many Legion branches across the country have been hit hard by the pandemic. Legions are known as welcoming places regularly hosting community events and Branch 616 is no different. The branch is a community hub for Constance Bay and hosts several events throughout the week and throughout the year. Darts, cards, senior club meetings and Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF) Dinners are regular features at Branch 616. During the year, the branch hosts the veterans of Rideau-Perley hospital twice a year, a Christmas market, Ladies’ Day, New Year’s Day Levee, Canada Day, a special Remembrance Day Service, Legion Week, the very popular Old Sled Run as well as many other events. The Legion has also played a crucial role for its community during times of crisis including providing food for volunteers during the 2018 tornado and food, respite and anything else it could offer during flooding in both 2017 and 2019 and launches regular fundraising initiatives to support its community.
This extended closure has taken a toll on the legion’s resources.
“Financially, we are still in the green but some major roof and building repairs can deplete our account quickly,” Morrow said. “We are looking for donations for the aforementioned repairs and hoping to be back in business possibly by October. Again, this is being evaluated by the branch executive.”
The executive is actively looking at the options for the September/October timeframe, depending on the state of the epidemic and observing all the rules of social distancing and wearing of masks.
“If the executive finds it feasible to open in September, the Early Bird Membership Campaign would run from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30,” Morrow said. “If they open in October, the campaign would be from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.”
The branch does have some fundraising activities planned.
“The sports committee is planning a fundraiser golf tourney,” Morrow said. “Details are still up in the air. As soon as plans are firm, advertisements will be published.”
If you are interested in supporting Branch 616 or would like to contact the branch, email Marilyn Deslauriers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Branch and community said goodbye to another comrade last month. William Morrow, husband of Branch 616 public relations officer Arleen Morrow, was a longtime member of Branch 616 and, for a few years, a member of Branch 174 in Arnprior. Bill and the gang from 616 kept up the connection to the Arnprior branch, partaking of a jug and their hamburger special every Friday. Condolences to Arleen and family. RIP Lumpy: we will miss you.