Rainy River Legion repays CEBA loan thanks to community donations

Elisa Nguyen
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
enguyen@fortfrances.com

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 54 in Rainy River successfully reached fundraising goals and was able to pay a Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Loan that will keep their doors open.

Debbie Wagner, wife of Waltner Wagner who is president of the Legion, posted on Facebook to announce the good news.

“Hi everyone. I would like to let you know that your support for Keep our Legion Branch 54 in Rainy River Open has been amazing,” she wrote on January 18. “We will be able to pay our CEBA Loan which is due today.”

“The branch has been the heart of the community and will continue to be in the future. Our fund has been shared many times. We have received donations from all over Canada and the United States. You all have a special place in our hearts. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.”

As of two days before the CEBA loan deadline, the GoFundMe page had received 178 donations, for a total of $24,700 raised of $40,000. Although more than half of the fundraising amount was still needed, the amount fundraised on such short notice shocked many community members.

To the community’s relief, the loan was successfully paid on January 18.

Many residents expressed their delight in seeing the generosity of small communities. “This is also testament to how much the Legion means to folks both near and far,” a Rainy River resident commented online to Wagner’s Facebook announcement, which garnered community engagement of almost 200 likes and over 50 reshares.

A member of the Legion noted that many donations were also received outside of the online fundraising page.