SYLACAUGA, Ala. – American Legion Post 45 is a home of fellowship and friendship to veterans throughout Sylacauga and the surrounding area, but many upgrades need to be done to the facility that sits just off of W. Fort Williams St.
According to the America Legion website, the national organization was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, service members and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Today, membership stands at over 2.4 million in 14,000 posts worldwide.
The Sylacauga Post is an anchor to its community. It sponsors many organizations such as Boys State and Girls State. Boys State and Girls State are a participatory program in which students become part of the operation of local, county and state government. Founded in 1935, Boys State participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs. Students are able to compete at these events and win partial or full scholarships to colleges across the nation.
The city of Sylacauga has been well represented in the two student organizations. In fact, the very first governor for Boys State was James V. Thompson in 1938. In total, the city has seen four of its boys go on to be governor of Boys State. Chandler Deerman, SHS class of 2017 graduate, was elected 2017 Lt. Gov., and Caitlin McTier, also a 2017 SHS graduate, was elected Girls State governor in 2016.
“These are great organizations that the America Legion Sponsors,” said Brenda Howell, who is trying to raise funds for the legion. Her husband, Mack Howell, is a legion member and Air Force veteran. “The legion is a pillar to the community.”
For veterans, the legion acts as a home away from home. Every Tuesday it holds a breakfast for veterans at 7:30 whuch gives them an opportunity to meet and greet, and fellowship with each other. The legion also provides service officers that help veterans with PTSD get the benefits they deserve and need. It also provides a color guard for funerals, parades, and other events.
Howell told SylacaugaNews.com the legion has more projects which need to be completed than she can name. She listed flooring as one of the highest priorities. She said the legion needs to get the vinyl flooring removed because of mold and mildew, and replace it with a finish on the already existing concrete foundation.
She also explained that the kitchen needs to be remodeled as well as bedrooms. She said bedrooms currently have cots in them as opposed to beds. This is important because the legion hosts many people throughout the year including the artists and sculptors who come in during the Marble Festival.
The goal, according to Howell, is $50,000. This goal, however, just covers the basics of painting, flooring, and more. Any other donations will go towards larger projects. “We have a great responsibility to our veterans,” explained Howell. “This is an opportunity honor them and help keep our patriotism alive.”
If you would like to donate to the legion, do so on its GoFundMe page, or contact Brenda Howell at 256-249-4616.
Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.