Nova Scotia

Donkin Legion is 85; future uncertain

The Donkin legion marked its 85th anniversary this weekend, but it was also time for a reality check on the future.

Changing demographics and economics of the village have reduced membership numbers

The Donkin Legion's 85th birthday is cause for celebration and tough questions about the future. (CBC)

The Donkin legion marked its 85th anniversary this weekend, but it was also time for a reality check on the future. Branch 5 in Donkin was founded in 1927.

They once had more than 125 members and on a Saturday morning it was standing room only. But the youth of the community have had to go elsewhere for work, and the aging population has taken its toll on the numbers.

It currently has 76 members. However, only 14 are active. The others live elsewhere but keep their membership updated.

Bob Clarke is Sergeant-at-Arms. He said the anniversary weekend was a special time for veterans like him.

"It's a long history for a branch in such a small community. The legion itself is in support of veterans and their spouses and remembrance of them and what we can do for them in the communities," he said.

Jim Snow is branch treasurer. He said despite the celebration they're very concerned about the future. The cost of keeping up the building and the declining membership numbers are forcing them to make difficult decisions.

"By the end of the year we're going to have to face the reality of the impossibility of supporting a building such as this with the declining population and the changing demographics," he said.

Snow said the members will be doing a number of promotions and fundraisers in the coming months and hope for the best, but the demographic and economic situations in Donkin don't give him a lot of hope for the legion.

Still, he hopes the legion will be around for a 100th anniversary.

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