By Beverly Keller
While Sugarcreek’s Homer Weiss Post 494 of the American Legion isn’t quite 100 years old, they are still joining with the national organization in celebration of the centennial year in 2019. As described by the American Legion, “the Centennial Celebration is not only about honoring the past 100 years of our history, but also preparing to continue our legacy of service. Events and activities at posts all around the world will showcase the American Legion ‘Still Serving America.’”
“The American Legion wanted each post to host Centennial Projects,” explained Sugarcreek’s First Vice Commander Jeff Schrock. “We looked at our building and decided this was a great place to start.”
He also noted that because the American Legion year, like many other service clubs, runs from July 1 to June 30, the time to start the projects was now in order to make sure they were completed on time. The group decided the first thing that needed to be done was to replace a flagpole that stood tall at the corner of the building which was originally installed in 1960. Through private donations from individuals and businesses, nearly $2,000 was raised. Donors included: Wayne Beaber, Sugarcreek Sportsman Club, Jeff Schrock, Dick Harmon, Robert Eckert, Tad Miller, Bill Schindler and Smith Funeral Home. The project was also helped along thanks to the generosity of Sugarcreek Mayor Clayton Weller along with Belden Brick and Otto Electric.
A second project outside the building involved the installation of a flag collection box. “People had been leaving the flags in bags on the steps before this,” explained Joe Day, a trustee for the post. “Just a few hours after the box was installed, we found a flag inside.”
The project was bankrolled thanks to donations from Bontrager Excavating with help from Zimmerman Steel. Work was also done by Aaron Miller in terms of fabrication of the box. In addition, post member Sam Beachy was a big part of the project. After the box was made, Day got involved and with the help of Heritage Signs, the box was sandblasted, powdercoated and readied for a vinyl wrap.
The front of the box represents the five branches of the armed services. The left side depicts a poppy made famous by the poem from World War I — In Flander’s Field by John McCray. It represents all who have passed away. The left side of the box depicts the eagle and stands for the freedoms that are enjoyed today thanks to the battles fought by brave men and women in the military.
Inside the hall located on Broadway in downtown Sugarcreek, extensive work has taken place. Day has laid a new floor with the help of friends and family. In addition, several volunteers from the post took down all items on the walls, washed them down and decluttered. A new board of members was created as well. “It is up to date now,” Day added concerning the board.
New chairs were purchased and, in the process of rearranging, a special place has been prepared for a memorial to those who never came home. The POW/MIA table is a place setting for one, but a table for all. The table is small and draped in a white tablecloth with an empty chair and a Bible along with a black napkin, a single red rose, a yellow candle and ribbon, slices of lemon, salt and an inverted glass. That project is being spearheaded by Post Commander Dan Crenner who noted how important it is to remember.
Underwriting these improvements and projects was made possible thanks to the support of fish fry events held the third Saturday of each month from 4 to 7 p.m. The meals are all-you-can-eat and included lightly-breaded Alaskan Pollock along with french fries, applesauce, Swiss cheese, baked beans, beverage, and dessert. Cost is $10 per person. Dates include: September 15; September 28 (3:30 – 7:30); October 20; November 17; January 19; February 16; March 16; April 27; May 18.
Another way that the group raises funds is through the sale of flags. They have many in stock that can be ordered by contacting Jeff Schrock at 330-852-2629 or 330-473-5928.
New members are always welcome. The group meets on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. “We are here for the veterans,” Crenner reminded.
This story originally appeared in the August 22, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.