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$25,000 grant awarded for Carbonear Legion research project

MP Ken McDonald presenting the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 23 Carbonear with a $25,000 grant to fund an upcoming research project.
MP Ken McDonald presenting the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 23 Carbonear with a $25,000 grant to fund an upcoming research project. - Chris Lewis

Help keep the stories of local veterans alive

CARBONEAR, NL — The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 23 Carbonear received funding for a new research project this past weekend.

During the recent annual general meeting of the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Carbonear, MP Ken McDonald stopped by the building to announce some exciting news for the branch’s future endeavours – a $25,000 grant from the New Horizons for Seniors program to fund their upcoming project that aims to deepen the understanding of local war veterans and their stories.

Comrade Leslie Forward spoke with The Compass during the meeting Sunday about the project’s goals, how they plan to bring it to fruition, and what the branch would like to see come of it once all was said and done.

“Remembering and understanding the stories and lives of veterans is very important, and that’s sort of the main idea here – remembering,” she said. “With this program, we want to research and learn more about our veterans, and everything we can about them. Not just their name and when they served, we want to know where they were from, what they did before going to war, who their families were. Everything. We want to pass that along to the younger generation, pass along that knowledge and those stories so that they can know it and remember it too.”

Forward explained that through this research, she and the rest of the Legion hope to see the stories of soldiers and other veterans live on for decades to come, long after the veterans themselves, and even their children, have passed and can no longer tell the stories themselves.

“The members of the Legion are seniors, for the most part anyway, so if these stories aren’t passed along now while we still can, they’ll be lost forever. The younger generation need to know these things so that doesn’t happen.”

A senior advisory committee will be formed in June to overlook the project as a whole. Members of this committee, as Forward explained, will interact directly with project partners, regional community seniors, and students as the project unfolds.

The committee will hire a researcher to consult with veterans and families in local towns and communities. The researcher’s duties will include information gathering for people who served in armed conflict, peacekeeping missions, as well as at-home roles such as those involved in the Women’s Patriotic Association, or people who helped prepare for attacks on the home front. Collecting stories and photographing memorabilia will be the main focuses of the researcher.

Forward explained that all this information will be assembled into a major project to be used in educational endeavours for local schools, including classroom sessions where the gathered information will be shared with students and teachers.

“We’ll be working with the College of the North Atlantic throughout the whole thing, as well. Specifically, we’ll be looking into ways for this research to be preserved and digitalized,” Forward said. “That way, it can be used even easier with these school sessions, or for Q & A sessions we could hold with students, cadet corps, and other youth groups in an effort to share the project.”

The Legion hopes to see the project ready to be presented to schools for the 2018 school year in September, with the majority of the research and other similar steps taking place throughout the summer season.

chris.lewis@cbncompass.ca

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