This Remembrance Day, the City of Trail will be honouring those who have served our country but the community will also be recognizing the relentless volunteer efforts of many of its citizens. At the ceremony, members of the Trail branch of the Royal Canadian Legion will unveil the town’s much-awaited cenotaph statue – a project largely attributed to the town’s dedicated volunteers.
What initially started as a small project to refurbish the bronze plaques that list the names of fallen veterans and that line the cenotaph became a community-wide effort. It was during this update to the cenotaph that retiree Bruno DeRosa suggested having a statue made to sit atop.
Together with DeRosa and fellow retiree Leo Ganzini, the legion decided that the statue should be of a WW1 Canadian combat soldier, posing on one knee with his head bent. When the statue is unveiled on November 11, more than 50 years to the day after the original cenotaph, the bronze statue will stand eight feet tall.
Trail prides itself in being a community in which volunteerism is very much a part of its citizens’ lives. Many non-members of the legion also came forth to lend a hand for this project. In fact, the concrete base board that holds the statue was built entirely by Trail citizens who volunteered their time.
As the public gets its first view of the statue, veterans and volunteers will be on hand to celebrate their commitment to their city. “We expect to have hundreds of people in attendance, up to a hundred of those being veterans,” says Rob Reilly, president of the legion’s Trail branch. “This truly was a volunteer project that could not have happened without the support of Trail’s citizens. It’s very close to our hearts.”
With a grant of $25,000 from Veterans Affairs Canada and additional funds from the City of Trail, the Royal Canadian Legion, Teck Trail Operations and Columbia Basin Trust, the overall project totalled approximately $90,000.
The statue is not only unique to Trail but it is also unique to other legions in the province. Adds Reilly, “As far as we know, no other legions in the province have taken on a project of this magnitude. We’ve had inquiries all across Canada from other legions wanting to do something similar.”