Hepworth-Shallow Lake legion membership decides to rebuild

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Legion members unanimously endorsed its executive’s recommendation to rebuild the Hepworth-Shallow Lake Royal Canadian Legion last week and if fundraising permits, it will be bigger and better, legion president Karie Cole said.

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The vote was taken last Thursday involving 27 of about 80 total legion members. There wasn’t any discussion at all, Cole said in an interview Saturday. It was unanimous and they didn’t want to wait to learn how much the building insurance will cover.

“They were like absolutely not, let’s get on with it,” Cole said. “We want to rebuild, we want to get going. Let’s start fundraising and get to ‘er. We want to see this thing back up.”

She envisions “a bigger, better legion” that would bring in a bigger, younger crowd to help keep the legion going.

Fire destroyed the legion building on Jan. 21. “Firefighters determined it was in the furnace area,” where the fire started, Cole said. It was more than a $2-million loss, South Bruce Peninsula’s fire chief Tim Wilson has said. The building lot has been cleared.

Since the fire, quite a few people have been interested in joining the legion, Cole said. “We’re going to rebuild what we had but we could make (it) better,” Cole said. That might take more money, given insurance isn’t expected to cover all costs, she said.

Cole has a meeting with an insurance company representative this week. She hopes to understand the rebuilding process better after that meeting. But she understands the insurance company will help arrange planning, engineering and the rebuilding.

“We’re starting to get more donations in all the time and people are saying if you’re going to rebuild we’ll gladly donate once we know going to rebuild. And more fundraising stuff is coming in so it’s great” Cole said.

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More than $8,500 has been donated towards a $50,000 goal on the GoFundMe website. But people may also send cheques to the branch itself, Cole said. Fundraising events will be posted on the legion’s website.

Under the special events tab on the site there’s an April 22 concert featuring tribute artists of Neil Diamond, Dolly Parton, Stompin’ Tom Connors and Waylon Jennings at the Sauble Beach Community Centre at 7 p.m. The South Bruce Peninsula ATV club is planning a fundraiser for the new legion too, Cole said.

Cole said she’d like to see the Bruce Grey Music Hall of Fame, which shared space in the legion, return to the new legion building. The hall of fame is seeking donations as well, with cheques payable to Bruce Grey Music HOF, P.O. Box 911 Stn. Main, Owen Sound, Ont. N4K 6H6.

In addition to lost legion photographs, medals and documents, the music hall of fame lost its displays and memorabilia which celebrated local musical achievement.

The hall of fame was in the legion auditorium, formerly known as the Hepworth Country Music Auditorium, where Stompin’ Tom Connors, Mel Tillis, Leroy Van Dyke, Whispering Bill Anderson and other Nashville artists performed.

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