By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
A Coalhurst-based resident has spearheaded a banner campaign for veterans in the town of Coalhurst.
The banners bring visibility to local veterans and are a visual symbol of remembrance, helping educate community members on the importance of holding space to reflect upon the significance of the reall-world people behind the poppy.
Krystal Libbey, is a long-time resident of Coalhurst, and bar manager at the Coalhurst Legion, Branch 273, she said she became involved in bringing banners to Coalhurst because it had not been undertaken yet in town.
In taking on the project. Libbey said her life-long connections to people within the community as well as working as the bar manager at the local Coalhurst Legion were helpful in getting the word out to families of her ongoing goals in bringing a banner program into the community.
She said, she has been working at the Coalhurst Legion, Branch 273, for about five years. She said it was important to her and her family to see veterans recognized within her hometown.
“It was brought to my attention that Lethbridge had this program going and was brought into our legion, but not really carried further, so I kind of took on the project myself.
Crystal said, “my family has a couple of veterans in our family and we were wanting to get one (a banner), as well.”
After reaching out to as many people as she could think of who might want to purchase one, Libbey said she was met with a fair amount of interest.
“I actually got quite a few people back out for this year,” but said there is already interest for next year.
The banners will be rehung every year around Remembrance Day.
Earlier this year, Coalhurst council gave approval for the project to move forward.
Libbey explained that the banners, purchased by the veteran’s families, are to be hung on brackets purchased by town of Coalhurst, and will be utilized for other seasonal celebrations, town-programming, and more.
As of Oct. 31, the project was waiting on the arrival of the shipment of brackets. This year, 10 families stepped up to sponsor a banner for a veteran, But Libbey said there are already six more families interested in getting involved by sponsoring a banner in 2024.
“I grew up here so I know a lot of families that have the military service in their families, myself being one; we have two veterans specifically in Korean War and also in NATO.”
Through word of mouth, interested families contacted Krystal to sponsor banners for veterans in their families and get the project off the ground.
She added she expects interest in the initiative to grow as other residents see the banners hung around town, and is happy to finally get the project off the ground, after organizing and working through the logistics of the projects over the course of many months.
Libbey added all banners had been approved and are expected to be hung this week in Coalhurst, contingent on the arrival of the shipment of brackets.