Local American Legion members want the public to know that they they do more than socialize over beer at Legion headquarters. They are dedicated to their community and to veterans. So, they've done some landscaping and they're hosting a free family-friendly party Monday to reintroduce themselves.
RELATED: 'IF YOU GO' INFORMATION
Driving down W. Glenwood Ave., you might have noted a transformation taking place at the American Legion.
Legion member Faron Marshall explained that the many members spent two recent weekends doing landscaping and trying to beautify the grounds. The exterior improvements are meant to have an impact on two current projects involving recruitment and events.
“We’re trying to improve our public image,” Marshall said. “A lot of people think we’re just a bar but we’re so much more than that. So, we started with the grounds and we’re going to have our first ‘Community Day and Open House’ right after the town’s Memorial Day parade and ceremony.”
In an effort to welcome people, current members are not just aiming to tap into the sense of patriotism abundant on Memorial Day; they’re also aiming for your stomach by planning a large picnic-style feast for people stopping by. Members will also be explaining how non-members can become involved.
“You don’t have to be a veteran,” Marshall said. “You just have to have family that’s served.”
The American Legion also has several distinct factions within its organization for sons, women and specific service backgrounds.
Smyrna’s American Legion has more than 600 members currently paying dues. Those dues, as well as events like the “Halloween Haunted House,” a Mother’s Day breakfast and the “Male Beauty Pageant,” help the organization raise funds for scholarships, veteran assistance and other projects. Local legion members also place more than 800 American flags and markers on the graves of American veterans every year.
“People who stop by might be surprised by what they learn about us,” Marshal said. “Plus, it’s going to be fun. We’ll have cold refreshments as well as a moon bounce and games for children. There’s no cost and it’s open to everyone, from veterans to veteran supporters.”