Full house at new location for Nov. 11 service

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With the Remembrance Day service now in the rear-view mirror, members of the executive staff can breathe a little easier as the busiest time of the year for Royal Canadian Legion Branch 169 in Rankin Inlet moves towards the holiday season.

Branch 169 president Pelagie Sharp said she was happy when she saw how many people came through the doors for the Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 11.

Nunavut Commissioner Nellie Kusugak, middle in white,poses with Royal Canadian Legion Branch 169 members, from left, Mark Wyatt, Darrin Nichol, Gabe Karlik, MLA Cathy Towtongie, Pelagie Sharp, Kelly Kaludjak, Ashley Julien, Germaine Tatty and Hamish Tatty at the conclusion of the Remembrance Day service in Rankin Inlet on Nov. 11. Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

She said she was a little concerned about the size of the crowd that would attend this year’s service.

“I was honestly quite surprised that we had such a good turnout this year,” said Sharp.

“Everybody just got so used to having it at the school (Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik), so, when I decided to hold it at the new community hall, I was a little worried how that might affect the size of the crowd that came out.

“But, it turned out to be pretty much packed and I was very pleased.”

The Legion recently donated $11,000 to the RCMP Christmas Food Hamper for Rankin Inlet and surrounding communities.

Sharp said the donation is one way the Legion gives a little back to the community it serves.

She said Branch 169 receives constant funding requests throughout the year from sporting groups, youth groups and various other initiatives.

“We provide funds to the food hamper, suicide prevention and a number of other initiatives in the community during the year.

“We can’t always help everyone, but we do as much as we possibly can throughout the year.”

Sharp said the Legion executive first started discussing the Remembrance Day service and making sure enough poppies were ordered for the community in September.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 169 president Pelagie Sharp addresses the gathering at the annual Remembrance Day ceremony in Rankin Inlet on Nov. 11. Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

She said it came down to the crunch in October to make sure they had enough dignitaries in place to carry the various wreaths to be placed at the cenotaph during the ceremony.

“Getting the support of our political leaders and the families who had grandparents serve in a war, or in the military in general, is huge for us because Remembrance Day is the biggest day of the year for the Legion.

“The support we receive from our head command is phenomenal, and requests are sent from Ottawa to all the schools asking them to hold a poster contest in honour of Remembrance Day.

“Sakku School in Coral Harbour reached out to us this year and they’re supposed to be sending us some posters to judge for their school.

“We’re going to put a focus on having the poster contest return to our schools here in Rankin next year.”

Sharp said the Rankin Legion is available this year for any department or organization in the community that would like to host a private holiday party this year.

She said the Legion expects to be busy until about mid-December and will then, most likely, close its doors for a week to 10 days during the government’s holiday closure.

“The Branch is busy, really, throughout the year, but between October and January is our busiest time, I’d say.

“The main thing is to have an executive team that pulls together and we all take different leads on the various events that happen throughout the year.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the executive team we have in place right now.”