Legion helps struggling veterans

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Legion helps struggling veterans Empty Legion helps struggling veterans

Post by Trooper on Sun 18 Mar 2018, 7:45 am


Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald


The General Stewart Branch No. 4 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Lethbridge is tasked with providing outreach services and supports to veterans who may be struggling physically, emotionally or financially in the city.

Wayne King, the local Legion service officer, says it is a duty which keeps him busy. He has about 135 files open on local veterans in need.

“One of my principle tasks,” explains King, “when I have been able to identify a veteran in need of some assistance as a result of injuries or disabilities resulting from military service, on an emergency basis we have access to the poppy funds. These are emergency funds which can be applied to any veteran in need who, because of circumstances, finds him or herself up against it. We can use those funds to assist them in terms of food, shelter, clothing, medication and that sort of thing.”

King also co-ordinates with other local assistance agencies and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to help set up longer term supports.

“We can bring assistance where required, and give a bit of a helping hand in getting them re-established in the community,” explains King. “The Department of Veterans Affairs will sometimes call me up and say ‘we have this individual in need and we can’t react fast enough, can you offer immediate assistance?’ I will be able to intervene and bring immediate assistance to that individual, and hopefully within a reasonable time frame the department would be able to complete the assessment of the veteran’s file and provide them with their entitlements.”

The Legion also offers semi-regular information sessions on what services local veterans can access and hosts a bi-weekly peer support group for those veterans suffering from PTSD.

“Here at the Legion almost every week we have a meeting with an organization called OSISS, which is Operational Stress Injury Social Support, a peer group aimed at helping veterans with PTSD,” says King. “The benefit of peer support and involvement is well documented that way.”

If you are a veteran in the community of any age, who served in any branch of military service or in the RCMP requiring any information or support, King says you should give him a call.

“The best thing to do is telephone,” he says. “They can call the Legion, and if they contact anybody here at the office or at the bar they have my contact numbers. From there it is just a matter of them giving me a call, and away I go.”

The phone number at the General Stewart Branch No. 4 of the Lethbridge Legion is 403-327-6644.

Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter



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