David Perry, longtime president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 3 in Souris, P.E.I., will mark this Remembrance Day as one of two Islanders honoured with a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation.

Perry, 62, works as an estimator and project manager for a building supply outlet in Souris and led efforts to rebuild the local Legion hall, starting from fundraising through to the finished structure. And he also led design and construction of a veterans monument that was erected in town — even spearheading research that led to almost 1,800 names being listed on the monument.

The other award recipient, Lisa Rose, was nominated for her work in establishing a commemorative monument in her community of Fortune Hall.

Among the projects spearheaded by Legion Branch 3 president David Perry was the local veterans memorial, completed in 2013.
SOURIS LEGION BRANCH 3 FACEBOOK — Among the projects spearheaded by Legion Branch 3 president David Perry was the local veterans memorial, completed in 2013.

“This commendation is the highest honour I can bestow as minister, and it’s a pleasure to award it to two Islanders who’ve gone above and beyond in service of the folks who’ve worn the uniform. It takes a special kind of person to do this sort of work with no expectation of recognition,” stated federal Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay during the August ceremony held at the Souris Legion hall.

Perry is not a veteran but has served as local president for 21 years as a way to preserve the legacy of his grandfather, who was in the service and co-founded the local branch. Perry learned the branch had fallen on hard times financially and felt the need to act.

“The Legion itself was on its way out here in town,” explained Perry. “I didn’t want to see that happen. I wanted to do something to help them survive.”

The new Legion hall project was 10 years in the planning, Perry said. The rebuild was necessary because the previous hall had had three additions with diminishing functionality, and it was not accessible.

He led fundraising with support obtained from three levels of government and the community. Perry started in the building materials business at age 15 so he has long experience in similar projects, undertaking estimating and planning for home additions, apartments and other jobs for his employer and also as a community volunteer. In that capacity he has assisted in rehabbing a stone church and working on a local community centre among many projects. So it was natural he would work out the scope of the Legion reconstruction, then collaborate with a local contractor and architect.

“I worked closely with everybody in that field,” he said. “I was the one that did the estimating of the products for the construction of the Legion itself. I was basically hands-on as far as the supply of the material and ordering materials for construction.”

The new structure, completed in 2017 with a budget of $800,000, has a main floor 54 feet by 74 feet in area with a sunroom and deck outdoors facing one of the bays of Northumberland Strait, and a basement also 54 by 74.

The hall is now a well-used community resource, supporting the local food bank, the Lions Club and other groups.

The $150,000 memorial, built on donated land, was an earlier project, completed in 2013. He considers the project not yet finished, he said, with plans to further research and provide digital access to the service histories of the veterans listed on the memorial.

In his capacity as branch president, Perry ensures that every deceased veteran has a Legion Visitation Service, representation at their funeral and grave marker to honour their sacrifice.

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