Royal Canadian Legion and 16 Wing share Christmas Dinner with Veterans

From 16 Wing Borden

On November 25, 2017, (from left) Legion Branch 499 entertainment committee member Eryn Cleary, Ladies’ Auxiliary president Debbie Pearson, Sergeant Frederic Nolin, Legion member Judi Gaus and Chief Warrant Officer Necole Belanger participated in Legion Branch 499’s annual Christmas dinner for Veterans from Sunnybrook Veterans Centre. PHOTO: Yanik Gagnon, Borden Citizen newspaper

Working in close partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada, the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre in Toronto, Ontario, is one of the largest Veterans’ care facilities in Canada.

Sunnybrook offers offer long-term and complex hospital care to Veterans from the Second World War and Korean War. Not long after Sunnybrook opened as a war veteran’s hospital in 1948, the Angus Edward Macdonald Royal Canadian Legion Branch 499 in Angus, Ontario, began preparing and serving Christmas dinner to these courageous men and women who served our country in the name of peace and freedom. For the past 28 years, this herculean effort has been led by Ladies’ Auxiliary president, Debbie Pearson.

This year, 16 Wing Borden was offered the opportunity to help the local legion provide a warm welcome to those residents of Sunnybrook Veterans Centre well enough to make the trek from Toronto to Angus, which is located about 100 kilometres north of the Centre, near Borden. The wing immediately accepted the invitation and, on November 14, the Wing Entertainment Committee, led by Warrant Officer Larry Crowe, Sergeant Soraya Sheppard and Master Seaman Matthew Langdon, held a book and bake sale, raising $391. Chief Warrant Officer Necole Belanger, the wing chief warrant officer, then used those funds to purchase everyday items – such as blankets, toques, mitts, scarves, pajamas, toothbrushes, calendars and more – that were then carefully placed in gift baskets for each Veteran.

On November 25, 16 Wing’s commander, Colonel Andrew Fleming, Chief Warrant Officer Belanger, and Sergeant Frederic Nolin, the wing chief warrant officer’s assistant, stood side-by-side with Legion members, ready to offer a warm welcome, as the Veterans filed into the Royal Canadian Legion building. Providing support to an event like this is a great way to give back to our Veterans, say Colonel Fleming and Chief Warrant Officer Belanger.

“It’s wonderful that the Royal Canadian Legion is putting on an event to bring some of our Veterans in during the festive season. Being able to assist them in this endeavour is very important to us because it helps build bridges with the local community,” said Colonel Fleming.

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