2018 was a good year for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 Poppy Campaign.
In fact, its best ever.
In a ceremony held on the GFL Memorial Gardens concourse Friday, Kyle Raftis, Soo Greyhounds general manager, presented a cheque for $10,760 on behalf of the hockey club to Branch 25 officials for the Branch’s Poppy Fund.
Funds raised came from bids made by fans for special jerseys the Greyhounds wore at a Remembrance Day-themed game in November.
Money raised by the Poppy Campaign goes to assisting veterans, hospitals, health centres, and cadet units.
“We knew the Greyhounds donation would be high, but it was higher than what we had heard. I’m pleased. I’m over the moon,” smiled Rob Gardner, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 Poppy Campaign chair and Branch secretary, speaking to SooToday.
“On behalf of the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund I just want to say a great thank you to the great Greyhounds organization,” said Wilma Oliver, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 president.
As reported earlier this month, Branch 25 was pleased to announce they already had a record-breaking year for donations to the local Poppy Campaign (due in part to 2018 marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War), already sitting at $86,415, but with Friday’s Soo Greyhounds donation, that total climbed to $97,175.07.
The Poppy Campaign lasts from the last Friday in October to November 11 (Remembrance Day), but people may donate any time of the year.
“Any time you can be a part of something that’s a worthy cause, going to a great place, and to play a part in that as an organization is a really proud moment for us. It’s a win-win-win, the money’s going to a good place, the fans were excited to get a shot at a one-off jersey, and for us as a team to support the community, and especially this organization (the Legion’s Poppy Campaign), is really important,” Raftis said.
Restoring the word ‘Memorial’ to the recently renamed GFL Memorial Gardens, the Hounds home ice arena, makes a good connection with local veterans (to whom the original Memorial Gardens was dedicated), Raftis said.
In turn, Gardner and Orville Halverson, Branch 25 Poppy Campaign co-chair, presented a plaque to the Soo Greyhounds hockey club in appreciation for their donation to the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund in 2018.
Lieutenant-Colonel Lance Knox, 49th (Sault Ste. Marie) Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery commanding officer, was also presented with a Soo Greyhounds camouflage jersey by Raftis as an expression of appreciation for local reservists.