Montgomery Legion introduces its Honourary Poppy Campaign Chair Françoise Gagnon

For immediate release

Ottawa, Ontario
19 August 2019

Montgomery Legion introduces its Honourary Poppy Campaign Chair
Françoise Gagnon is the Chief Executive Officer of ADGA Group

The Montgomery Legion is pleased and proud to welcome Françoise Gagnon as the Honourary Chair of its Poppy Campaign.

Françoise Gagnon is the Chief Executive Officer of ADGA Group, a top 75 Defence company in Canada. Ms. Gagnon is the only woman CEO and Owner of a Canadian Defence & Security company: ADGA. She is proud to lead an exceptional team of more than 700 employees and consultants who deliver tailored solutions to the Defence, Security, Space, and Enterprise Computing sectors across Canada.

She currently sits on the Boards of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), the Defence Industry Advisory Group (DIAG), and is a member of the Selection Committee for the prestigious VIMY award (Conference of Defence Associations Institute). She is also a recipient of the 2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women award (WXN).

Ms. Gagnon is passionate about the men and women who serve Canada and our veterans and is happy to lend her efforts to supporting the Montgomery Legion’s Poppy Campaign as Honourary Chair.

“I am delighted to accept the role of Honourary Chair of Montgomery Legion’s Poppy Campaign. I have always recognized the service and the honour of our veterans’ immense contributions to this country and I welcome every opportunity to say “thank-you for your service” to our veterans and their families,” said Ms. Gagnon.

When asked about the importance of the Poppy Campaign and Remembrance Day, Mayor Watson said, “When people from all parts of Canada and from all walks of life join together in their pledge to never forget, they do so by wearing a Poppy. We stand united as Canadians sharing a common history of sacrifice and commitment.”

Ms. Gagnon and members of the Montgomery Legion’s Executive will present the branch’s first Poppy to Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Catherine McKenney on Monday, October 28th, 2019 at 9am, in a brief ceremony at City Hall (Mayor’s Board Room, 2nd Floor, Heritage Building). Members of the media are invited to attend.


Backgrounder

The mission of The Royal Canadian Legion is “to serve veterans and their dependants, to promote Remembrance, and to act in the service of Canada and its communities.” In essence, the purposes and objects of the Legion were born of the need to further the spirit of comradeship and mutual assistance among all who have served and never to forget the deeds of the fallen.

It is paramount that the Legion strives to pass on these goals and traditions to the families and descendants of our ex-service personnel and to raise this awareness among all Canadians.

The major source of funding for the Legion to accomplish this most important work is the annual Poppy Campaign, the foundation of our Remembrance Program. It is the generosity of Canadians that enables the Legion to ensure that our veterans and their dependants are cared for and treated with the respect that they deserve. This November campaign, which sees Poppies distributed to Canadians of all ages, serves to perpetuate Remembrance by ensuring that the memory and sacrifices of our war veterans are never forgotten.

Every year, from the last Friday of October to November 11, tens of millions of Canadians wear a Poppy as a visual pledge to honour Canada’s Veterans and remember those who sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy today. While the Poppy is distributed freely to all who wish to wear one, the Legion gratefully accepts donations to the Poppy Fund.

Since 1921, the Poppy has stood as a symbol of Remembrance, to never forget all those Canadians who have fallen in war and military operations. The Poppy also stands internationally as a “symbol of collective reminiscence”, as other countries have also adopted its image to honour those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Your poppy donations make a difference

The Poppy Campaign is very much a local initiative, conducted by Legion Branches in cities, towns and communities across the country. Donations collected during the Poppy Campaign are held in Trust at the branch level in a bank account separate from the branch general funds and cannot be used for any purpose other than those stipulated. These uses include but are not limited to:

  • Assisting veterans and their families with the such necessities of life as food and shelter;
  • Providing comforts to veterans and their widows/widowers when they are hospitalized, in long-term care facilities, and in nursing homes;
  • Setting up educational bursaries for veterans’ children and/or grandchildren;
  • Funding medical research and training;
  • Operating Legion service bureau offices that help veterans deal with various bureaucracies.
  • Whether or not they are Legion members, all ex-servicemen and women and/or their dependents are eligible to apply for financial aid.

This significance of the Poppy can be traced to international origins

The association of the Poppy to those who had been killed in war has existed since the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, over 110 years before being adopted in Canada. There exists a record from that time of how thickly Poppies grew over the graves of soldiers in the area of Flanders, France. This early connection between the Poppy and battlefield deaths described how fields that were barren before the battles exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended.

Just prior to the First World War, few Poppies grew in Flanders. During the tremendous bombardments of that war, the chalk soils became rich in lime from rubble, allowing “popaver rhoes” to thrive. When the war ended, the lime was quickly absorbed and the Poppy began to disappear again.

The person who was responsible more than any other for the adoption of the Poppy as a symbol of Remembrance in Canada and the Commonwealth was Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian Medical Officer during the First World War.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae

Richard Fadden, O.C. Gives 2019 Vimy Award Acceptance Speech
Big News for Canada’s Future in Space