Retiring CF Members Offered One-Year Membership

September 16, 2008 by Legion Magazine

A free one-year membership is being offered to retiring members of the Canadian Forces as an initiative to introduce The Royal Canadian Legion to potential new ordinary members.

The first introductory package was presented June 5 to Commander Cathy Bruce-Hayter at the Naval Officers Mess in Ottawa by Dominion Vice-President Erl Kish and Dominion Command Director of Administration Brad White. Bruce-Hayter retired after 32 years in the navy.

The Dominion Command Membership Committee and Defence Committee negotiated with the chief of military personnel to finalize a kit to be given to members upon retirement. The program was developed to preserve the Legion’s reputation and credibility as a veterans organization. The ordinary membership component of the Legion is approximately 40 per cent of the total, meaning that the majority of Legion members have never served in the Canadian military.

The kit contains a Retired Military Member at Large application form, a letter from the dominion president and a specially designed scroll offering a one-year complimentary membership in The Royal Canadian Legion. The membership includes a one-year subscription to Legion Magazine and access to the Member Benefits Program. It is hoped that the magazine will help educate the members as to the wider significance of the Legion in the support of veterans and perpetuation of remembrance.

“As a member of the military you may have had an opportunity to visit a Legion branch or to hear of our many programs in support of the military and our veterans. Our poppy campaign continues to raise over $8 million each year with which we are able to provide direct support to Canadian Forces veterans and their dependants. We also use this funding in support of our nationwide service officer program by which we are able to provide direct and immediate assistance to any serving Canadian Forces member or veteran who wishes to apply to Veterans Affairs Canada for disability benefits or other compensation programs. Our record of success in winning positive decisions from the Veterans Review and Appeal Board is second to none,” the letter says.

The letter goes on to note that the Legion sponsored show tours to Afghanistan until the government agreed to subsidize the program in 2007. As well the Legion is a financial partner in CF Sports Championships and banquet and the Vimy visit during the Nijmegen Marches. The Legion also continues to distribute certificates for a coffee and doughnut every two weeks to members of the forces serving in Afghanistan.

“Today we sit at approximately 370,000 members but our ranks continue to decline as our war veterans pass on. We urgently need the reinvigorated participation of retiring veterans from the CF today,” the letter says. “And so with the interests of the CF, remembrance and our many programs and advocacy on behalf of the military and its CF veterans, we would like you to consider joining our ranks.”

The one-year offer would make the member part of the Retired Military Member at Large Branch at Dominion Command. The member would be encouraged to join a branch in his or her community to continue as Legion member.

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