Crosses mark veterans’ graves in Summerland cemeteries

Legion Auxiliary has organized project since late 1950s

Crosses, made by the Penticton Foundry, are on the graves of veterans at the three Summerland cemeteries. (Contributed)

Crosses, made by the Penticton Foundry, are on the graves of veterans at the three Summerland cemeteries. (Contributed)

The Summerland Legion Ladies Auxiliary has placed more than 400 crosses on the graves of veterans throughout the community.

In the early 1950s, the auxiliary made it their project to install crosses on grave sites in Summerland’s three cemeteries.

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Gina Hoffarth of the auxiliary said the organization first had to get permission from the municipality. Then it took a few years to find a foundry to take on the work of creating the crosses.

The Penticton Foundry has made the crosses, each of which is worth $200.

In 1959, the first 71 aluminum crosses were delivered and placed on crosses of veterans. The crosses had to be pounded in carefully, using a rubber mallet.

Initially, Pat Smith and Lorraine Shannon of the auxiliary were in charge of the crosses. Later, Bernice McDonald took over the project and also arranged for poppies on the crosses to be repainted.

Jim O’Neill, now retired from the Penticton Foundry, paints the crosses and poppies when they come out of the mould. He is carrying on the tradition from his father, Ray O’Neill.

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Remembrance Day