Royal Canadian Legion to distribute poppies via T-shirt cannon to maintain social distancing

Royal Canadian Legion to distribute poppies via T-shirt cannon to maintain social distancing

New Brunswick — Everyone’s had the thrill of attending a live event and participating in things like half court shots, silly races, and 50/50 draws. But, in the COVID pandemic, one in particular stands above the rest: the T-Shirt cannon.

And in 2020, when organizations like the Royal Canadian Legion are looking at ways to continue fundraising, while respecting social distancing, a little extra firepower could give them just the edge they need.

“We’ve been working on it for months now,” exclaimed Shelby Stevens, longtime Legion volunteer from the New Brunswick command office in Saint John. “We needed a solution to keep the fundraiser alive this year, and T-Shirt cannons are perfect! We’ve retrofitted the barrels to load the smaller poppies, pin out of course, and now we can accurately deliver a poppy, directly to the chest of a donor, from at least 10 metres away!

“We’ve been testing for a few weeks now, and selecting the right volunteers to run the cannon is important…there have been some issues,” he continued. “A lot of our members suffer from vision issues like glaucoma after all, and the last thing you want is ol’ One-Eyed Pete lining you up in his crosshairs. The good news, though, is we’ve found that as long as we aim low, below the head and neck, the damage is minimal.

“And we have had great success when we were able to secure our members who are former sharpshooters to volunteer. Why, just the other day, Keith Chapman, who used to be a top marksman in the army, pinned a poppy from nearly 70 metres out!

“It was a thing of beauty, gliding through the air and sticking right to the lapel of our target. Unfortunately, we are still tweaking the perfect air pressure, so it stuck in a good inch to the target’s chest, but we’re confident we can work that out in time.”

When The Manatee reached out to some local New Brunswickers for their opinion, however, the response was much more mixed.

“What are they, crazy?!?” cried Sarah Gilbert. “They’re going to start firing shrapnel around grocery stores like they’re at Vimy Ridge or something. The last thing people want when they’re out shopping is to dodge pins flying at their heads!”

Jason Reid, however, was more positive. “I think it’s great! I hate going grocery shopping, and now it’s going to be at least more interesting — like paintball, but with needles!”

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