River Hebert’s Legion Branch No. 14 Ladies Auxiliary found a special way to remember their veterans and it’s slowing down traffic as they do.
Treasurer Charlene Greer’s sister visited Millbrook ahead of Remembrance Day last year and learned about that community’s veteran banners. Each featured a community veteran displayed on telephone poles. The idea came back to River Hebert and the local auxiliary got to work finding sponsors for their own veteran banners.
“We wanted to do this for all our veterans,” auxiliary president Almira Wood said. “River Hebert, Joggins, Maccan. When they went to serve, they always went together.”
One of their first sponsors was their very own first-vice president, Gloria Brownell, whose son Mark Brownell is a veteran of peacekeeping in Bosnia and injured in Afghanistan following a grenade attack in 2006. Today, he works in the oil industry in Alberta, but his military service isn’t forgotte. An image of him in uniform is now on a banner along with 30 more celebrating community members during their time in the military.
When it came time to install the banners on Oct. 22, the whole community came out to watch, Gloria said.
“The reaction was overwhelming,” she said. “Just amazing. People came from Amherst to see them.”
The attention the banners have already generated, Wood said, connect the present to the past. When the community loses one of the ways its citizens connect with one another, like the loss of its grocery store, something needs to fill the void. Wood says the veteran banners will help a younger generation see how many of the last names they recognize and grow up with have played roles all over the world.
“A lot of it is about making young people know about their veterans,” Wood said.
Whenever possible, banners were put outside of the homes of the family members, strengthening the sense of connection.
Banners were designed and printed by Carter’s Cresting in Amherst, while the brackets were made Maritime Pressure. Installation was done by Alan Baker, Bob Hoeg, Mike McLellan and Kevin Vance. Banners were purchased by family members or loved ones for $170 and will be hung each year when Remembrance Day approaches.
The auxiliary will begin a second round of accepting banner sponsors following Remembrance Day 2017. Anyone from Joggins, Maccan, River Hebert and surrounding areas can contact treasurer Charlene Greer at 902-251-2497, or Gloria Brownell at 902-251-2846 for information.