The Abbotsford Legion’s Canadian flag was stolen earlier this month and the mechanism used to raise and lower it was damaged leaving the flagpole currently bare. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

The Abbotsford Legion’s Canadian flag was stolen earlier this month and the mechanism used to raise and lower it was damaged leaving the flagpole currently bare. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford Legion’s Canadian flag stolen, raising device damaged

Abbotsford Legion hopes to see flag flying at 2613 W. Railway Street again soon

For many years, the Canadian flag flew high and proud at the Abbotsford Legion branch on West Railway Street but a recent incident saw someone allegedly steal the flag and damage the mechanism required to raise it.

Abbotsford Legion executive secretary Connie Feeney told The News that on April 1 members discovered the flag was removed and the locking plate used to raise and lower the flag was also broken.

The individual who stole the flag and caused the damage proceeded to attach a bag of barbecue peanuts to the flag pole. To make matters worse, the Legion believes that the mechanism used to raise and lower the flag needs to be fixed, which could be costly.

Feeney said it’s disappointing to see this type of disrespect to the few veterans remaining in Abbotsford and also to members who have been cautious in returning to the Legion during the pandemic.

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“Our veterans deserve so much more respect than this,” she said. “Our patrons also deserve more respect when coming to our branch.”

She said over the years many other items have been stolen from the Legion, including hoses, ladders, gardening tools, patio furniture and more. Feeney said the thefts and other incidents in the neighbourhood have left members feeling uneasy.

“I’m one of the youngest members – I’m 58,” she said. “Some of our members are in their 70s or 80s and we’ve been walking them to their cars because of all this. Some members have had their cars broken into.”

Feeney said she understands that vulnerable people on the streets are often left with few choices, but said setting fires, theft and threats hurts the atmosphere at the Legion.

“It’s just sad,” she said of the way members are sometimes treated. “We had one guy out there with an axe telling people he was going to kill them. They seem to have no respect. They tell us to give them money, but we’re one of the poorest places on the planet – we really don’t have any money.”

Feeney said the Legion has over 200 members in Abbotsford, but the pandemic has seen attendance numbers drop. A big night now will see 20 to 30 people gather. She said she has contacted the city of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford Police Department, but there is only so much those groups can do.

In the meantime, Legion members would like to see the flag returned and are looking for someone to help them with the flag raising device.

For more on the Legion, abbylegion.ca.

RELATED: Abbotsford Legion now open five days a week

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A bag of peanuts remains where the Canadian flag used to be. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

A bag of peanuts remains where the Canadian flag used to be. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

The B.C. and United Kingdom flags remain flying but the Canadian pole is empty. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

The B.C. and United Kingdom flags remain flying but the Canadian pole is empty. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)