The Strathmore Legion hosted an event inviting Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP, current, retired, or allied, to come share their stories and rebuild a sense of local community on Feb. 11.

The program is being called Coffee and Comradeship, and is sponsored by the local Tim Hortons, Shell location. 

Kevin Armitage, a retired military veteran, said the idea has been in the works for several months now and is finally ready to launch.

“It really is just about veterans getting back together with veterans and not feeling completely isolated out in a community where nobody else knows what you are talking about,” he said. “(Saturday was) the very first function, so I don’t know how many people got the word and how many are coming out. The idea is about supporting military personnel (and) I was inspired to do this by my own personal journey and healing.”

Going forward, the function will take place on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month, starting at 11 a.m. and going until 1 p.m.

According to the legion, folks who wish to attend do not have to be members to join in, as the event is simply about spending time with comrades and fellows for coffee and a donut. 

“I’m very, I’m very excited about it, right, because I know that there’s so much to be offered to the veterans through our communities … I want to get the guys out of the woodwork, get them out of their own heads,” said Armitage. “The legion is supposed to be about veterans looking after veterans, giving them a safe place to come and hang out.”

Armitage added he was inspired to get the Coffee and Comradeship function off the ground by similar events hosted elsewhere in the province.

He explained other legions have been hosting similar events for roughly two years, and it was time to introduce the idea to Strathmore. 

“The impact is huge. For each person, that is going to be different as to what the impact is because you can talk to anybody in the world and all of a sudden you are not paying attention to it and it doesn’t affect you,” he said. “Then, all of a sudden, somebody who you know and admire says the exact same thing to you, and now it has an effect on you … you may meet somebody here who you connect with and who you can find your help with, or just somebody to hang out with.”

Veterans, RCMP and allies from outside of Strathmore and Wheatland County are also welcome to join the function should they decide to make the trip out.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 23, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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