More than 50 motorcyclists gathered at the Iroquois Legion, branch #370, on Saturday morning, July 11, 2015, to take part in the 4th annual Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Ride.
The purpose of the C.A.V. annual ride is to help raise funds for Royal Canadian Legion initiative Operation Leave the Streets Behind.
Jeff Betts (“Lurch”) president of the C.A.V. Sicily Unit, said that the ride this year has raised $8,000 for the project. “This amount may be augmented as one of our major sponsors may provide a substantial donation later this week.”
Operation Leave the Streets Behind which is spearheaded by Royal Canadian Legions was created to fill a need in the lives of some of Canada’s veterans.
The initiative helps homeless, or destitute veterans and their family members to leave the streets and turn their lives around. National and provincial programs have been set up to offer financial assistance and supports for homeless veterans and veterans at risk.
“Our soldiers freely give themselves to the service of Canada, unconditionally, and sometimes they need that extra help we can give them,” Betts said.
Beverly Poore, chair of the Iroquois Legion Poppy Fund, pointed out that some former military members, following their discharge from Canada’s armed forces, face a number of challenging new issues.
“Sometimes their condition prevents them from accessing their benefits,” she said. “Operation Leave the Streets Behind finds these vets who need support and guidance.”
Poore presented a cheque for $500 to Betts. “This money comes on behalf of area businesses and people who so generously support our annual Poppy Fund. Local people should know that units like Sicily are doing great work for our veterans. This is a good cause.”
By day’s end, Morrisburg Legion, branch #48, was the final stop of the eastern 2015 C.A.V. ride.
Following a delicious supper served by the Ladies Auxiliary, the Morrisburg Legion, for the second consecutive year, presented a cheque for $5,000 to Operation Leave the Streets Behind.
The Sicily Unit is one part of an international organization made up of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts, many of whom are, or were, members of the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Royal Navy. Each unit is named for one of Canada’s military actions.
Before Sicily Unit’s ride began, Canadian troops’ honours during the invasion and liberation of Sicily in World War II were read out to participants and a moment of silence was held for the fallen.
The C.A.V. ride, following a full breakfast and a great send off by the Iroquois Legion, travelled through Alexandria, Chesterville and Merrickville, and along the Memorial Highway, eventually returning to Morrisburg.
“We were well fed by Legions all along the route today,” Jeff “Lurch” Betts laughed. “No danger that we weren’t all full by the end of the ride.” We appreciate the interest of the public in homeless veterans’ issues,” he said, “and the Royal Canadian Legions’ initiative Operation Leave the Streets Behind.”