Michael Henderson with the Kelowna Naval Veterans Association carries a white cross at he 2017 Remembrance Day ceremonies in Peachland. (Image: Carmen Weld/Black Press)

Kelowna veteran’s association struggles with dwindling membership

Like many veteran’s associations, the aging population leaves the Kelowna Naval Veterans Association desperate for new members.

This Nov. 11 will mark 100 years since the end of the First World War; 100 years since tens of thousands of Canadians died on the battlefield.

It also marks another remembrance day where the onlookers and supporters far outnumber the veterans in attendance. Each and every year we lose more veterans to age and each and every year the organizations that support them lose numbers. They lose members, support and hope.

The plight of many veteran’s organizations and legions is being felt more than ever before as their membership numbers dwindle.

Once such organization is the Kelowna Naval Veterans Association. Once boasting more than 160 members, their numbers have dwindled to just 37, and they’re now desperate for fresh blood to carry on the legacy.

Once full of Second World War veterans, the group has a handful still alive from the world wars.

Former president and director for national for the Kelowna Naval Vets Association, Michael Henderson, says their group ranges in age from 30 to 94, but getting new bodies in the door is an ongoing struggle.

“We have a really hard time recruiting younger members. We have a lot of people asking questions, but we cannot get them out,” said Henderson.

“They’ve just served perhaps and they need time off from the forces. Legions, the army and navy club we are all struggling.”

Related: Lions Clubs dying out with aging population

Related: Kelowna veterans’ affairs office to re-open in November

He says the veterans association provides them a safe space, camaraderie and lifelong friendships.

“This is all about fellowship. We tell lies and stories and we talk about what we’ve all done, where we served. The fellowship and talking about the navy,” said Henderson. “We are all good friends, we help each other.”

He believes some of the new Canadian veterans are not joining these organizations when they are younger as they often need a break from service.

“They’ve served, they need time,” said Henderson. “Just like me. I didn’t do anything for 30 years after I got out. Once you’re in it, you don’t want anything to do with it for awhile. Then they come back later on, like I did.”

To ensure longevity, the Kelowna Naval Veterans Association is welcoming anyone with a grandparent/parent who served in the navy, or anyone who was a genuine love of the sea and an interest in the armed forces.

“At one time you had to be ex-navy, but we have opened our doors,” said Henderson, “You have to an interest in the ocean or a parent/grandparent who was in the service.”

If you want more information on the Kelowna Naval Association you can contact Michael Henderson at weeangus@telus.net.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@carmenweld
carmen.weld@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Shuswap SPCA seeking property for new facility

Organization would like location closer to town centre

Salmon Arm Silverbacks take it to overtime against Wenatchee Wild

Silverbacks earn a point, even the gap in 4-3 OT loss

Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday

Protesters took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday.

Agreement to purchase property for Salmon Arm Landfill extended

CSRD has six months to get Ministry of Environment approval and city rezoning

City administrator honoured for 20 years of service

Carl Bannister’s career with Salmon Arm begins with evacuation

Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday

Protesters took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday.

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

VIDEO: Craft growers will add to recreational market, cannabis producer says

Two B.C. men say their expertise in running small legal medical grow-ops a benefit to recreational market

Christmas wish for Mirielle: love and carpets

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

Vegan chocolatiers set up shop in Penticton

Celine Nativel and David Mullner, of Maison Mulnati French Vegan Chocolates, discuss their craft

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Risk of catching the flu increasing in B.C. this holiday season: BCCDC

Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control says influenza will pick up during the holidays

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Salmon Arm Tennis Club’s indoor facility moving at smooth clip

Volunteer support has been crucial, opening expected in April 2019.

Most Read