Every year before Remembrance Day, Royal Canadian Legion branch 124 hosts a veterans dinner to honour those who from the community who have served.
Sunday’s dinner was no exception, with the upper floor of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Legion filled with veterans and their friends and families.
The meal was free to all veterans as well as any caregivers who attended with them.
For all others, it was $20, which was simply to cover the cost of the meal.
Brad Kempston was one of the many veterans in attendance, celebrating more than 50 years in affiliation with Legions across Canada.
Branch 124 president Al Howse called on Kempston to cut the cake before serving dessert to the guests.
Kempson, who joined the armed forces militia in 1966, joined his first Legion in October of 1969.
“I joined because if you’re away on courses in the military, you could always go to the Legion and you’d be welcomed and well-received,” he told The Lake Report.
Kempson, whose father was president of their home branch in Mitchell, Ont., was a member of various branches across Canada before he landed in Niagara-on-the-Lake 19 years ago.
“This branch is down to Earth. There’s a mixture of people in there,” Kempson said.
“We’ve got guys who are blue collar and white collar. Sure, we’ve got our quarrels but at the end of the day everybody rolls up their sleeves and participates.”
The Legion supports multiple causes in the community – one of the most important to Kempson is helping homeless veterans.
“We donate a substantial amount to that as well as to veterans in care homes,” he said.
Kempson urges everyone to support this year’s poppy campaign, which he assists with every year.