Province announce $100K support program for legions, veterans' units

Royal Canadian Legions and veterans units throughout Saskatchewan will be getting an infusion of cash, as the province has recently announced a new $100,000 support program for them.

News comes on the heels of Regina legion's warning it was struggling to stay open

The Royal Canadian Legion in downtown Regina has said it has been dipping into savings to pay its operating costs. The executive director of Saskatchewan Command says he hopes a new provincial grant program will help support legions like Regina's. (Google Maps)

Royal Canadian Legions and veterans units throughout Saskatchewan will be getting an infusion of cash after the provincial government announced a new $100,000 support program.

"We're still trying to digest [the news]," said Chad Wagner, provincial executive director of the Saskatchewan Command, which helps support legions.

"We're just pretty excited for the opportunity to be involved and working on a project with the provincial government."

The news comes on the heels of Regina's Royal Canadian Legion warning that it was facing struggles to stay open.

Wagner said legion branches perform a vital service, supporting veterans.

"The veterans' current needs are very important," he said. "We need those branches to be viable and sustainable into the future so we can continue those support systems."

Derek Niedermayer is a veteran who relies on Regina's legion, which he says has gone so far as to help him cover rent at times when finding work was a challenge.

Derek Neidermayer stacks dishes in Regina's Royal Canadian Legion hall. He credits the legion with saving him from homelessness. (Bonnie Allen/CBC News)

"If this place closed, honestly I think a lot of veterans would be lost and wouldn't know how to get through things, and have a leg to stand on," he said.  

Wagner said the legions have served that support role for many people.

The $100,000 grant will be introduced in the 2019-20 budget. Wagner noted he's still unclear on what the application process will entail or how the money will be dedicated. But he said there was little doubt it would help support programming.  

"We're looking forward to seeing what it'll bring and how it'll help the men and women that served their country."