ORRVILLE − Danny Brown has lifelong memories and ties to the American Legion Post 282it’s like a “second home”.
Her father was a bartender and her mother was president of the auxiliary in the 60s when they took her there almost every day.
“I’ve been coming here since I was in a diaper,” Brown, 68, said.
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He remembers dancing and building parade floats and wire mesh and Kleenex decorations. “It was a very family-friendly and fun place,” he said.
The organization creates friendships and bonds inside and outside the building. Brown volunteers at a variety of things, from cooking steaks at Steak Fry nights to helping out with Halloween parties and the Fourth of July parade.
Orrville American Legion Post 282 Building Celebrates 50 Years
The Frank E. Cook American Legion Post #282 celebrates the 50th anniversary of its building which opened in October 1972.
“We want to be part of Orrville, because Orrville is part of us,” Brown said.
The old building was in the parking lot of the new building at 237 E. Market Street. It had a basement and two floors. “It got too old and they decided to build a new one,” Brown said.
The new building featured a larger area with a bar and a huge room that members use for their meetings and events. It can also be rented.
When Charles Brandon joined the Legion in 1973 after his military service, he was a member of Marshallville American Legion Post #718 before getting married and moving to Orrville.
There was a time when the Legion was in a bit of a tailspin. There weren’t a lot of activities. It ran out of money and it almost closed, Brandon said. “Now we’re trying to pick up and get things back,” he said.
The Orrville American Legion hosts activities throughout the year
The Legion supports veterans and veterans’ families through various services such as filing claims, assistance with their disabilities, and scholarship programs for their children and grandchildren.
“We hold several fundraisers and parties to support people who have been in war and who have been injured,” said Janice McGuire of the Ladies Auxiliary.
One of their annual fundraisers is Hot Dog Day sponsored by ACE Hardware. “We’re also sending out cookies and cards for veterans in the Orrville and Wooster area,” McGuire said.
Much of the proceeds from fundraising and other activities are donated to the community.
Robin Gray, second vice commander of the legion, said the organization donates to “Shop with the Cop, Orrville Booster Club and Orrville Area Boys and Girls Club”. The Legion this year gave five scholarships to high school students for $500. “It depends on how much we earn, usually we donate between $750 and $1,000, but we reduce the amount to five,” she said.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the legion will be hosting a free celebratory event from 3-7 p.m. on Saturday, October 1.
The event is open to the public with snacks, activities and prizes for children. There will be baskets for sale dedicated to the Legion remodeling project. Members will talk about membership programs and scholarships. Additionally, there will be memorabilia where guests can see a timeline of the legion through old photos, awards and flags.
“We want to get the community to see what we’re doing and bring the American Legion to where it was before,” Gray said.