Legion approaches 60 years

Post members prepare for anniversary celebration

Post members prepare for anniversary celebration

April 11, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

FUNKSTOWN - With the 60th anniversary celebration of Dixon-Troxell American Legion Post 211 coming up next month, officers and members of the post recently took the time to reflect on the proud and active history of the organization.

Even more important, they had a lot to say about the future and their plans to keep the post vital and relevant to today's veterans.

"There were 123 charter members when the post was organized in 1946," said Gordon Cook, the current commander. "They were all returning World War II veterans."

Cook said he believes there are approximately eight surviving charter members.

A large post

Keeping up with older veterans is a high priority as evidenced by the recent ceremony at the post, at which longtime Legion member Ross Cline was presented with a Bronze Star more than 60 years after he returned from World War II.


Overall, the post in Funkstown has 1,370 members, which makes it the second largest American Legion in Washington County and the fifth largest in Maryland, Cook said. Only Morris Frock Legion Post 42 in Hagerstown has more members in Washington County.

While there are a lot of activities available only to members and guests, others are open to the general public, Cook said.

For instance, there will be a card night on April 14 and bar bingo on April 23. The month culminates with a doo-wop dinner and dance on April 29 and a NASCAR party April 30. All are open to the public.

The 60th anniversary celebration will be open to the public on Saturday, May 20, at 1 p.m.

Ric Santos, past Maryland and national commander, is to be the keynote speaker for the event, which will feature patriotic music by the Boonsboro High School pep band and several soloists, military color guards, historic background and anecdotes.

Located along the banks of the Antietam Creek since 1967, the post first began meeting in the building next door, which formerly housed another organization.

Over the past 39 years, the current building has sustained damage when the creek flooded out of its banks on a number of occasions.

"We had a close call about a year ago when the water got up to the corner of the building," Cook said.

He credited Washington County work crews with keeping the debris cleaned out of the arched bridge adjacent to the post property. That has helped keep the water from backing up to the building, Cook said.

Keeping up

"We used to hire out our landscaping chores but that was very expensive," Cook said.

About five years ago, a volunteer work detail was formed with members handling the outdoor chores such as mowing, mulching and weeding from April to October. The rest of the year the volunteers keep up the inside of the building.

Walt Cline, brother of Ross Cline, is chairman of that detail. "I've been a member for 32 years and commander three times," he said. "I've met a lot of nice people here."

Cline said he is actively involved in Legion baseball, proudly noting that the Funkstown team of 15 to 19-year-olds won the Maryland State Legion Baseball championship in 2005.

Also active at the post are the Sons of the American Legion, which boasts approximately 600 members, according to Terry Cunningham, SAL squadron commander. To be a member of that organization, one must be the son or brother of a veteran.

Jim Haney is the SAL adjutant and has been involved at the post for three years.

"My dad was in the military," Haney said. "I enjoy helping the Legion with new projects that require computer work."

Guy Greene, sergeant at arms, has been a member for 35 years. "We're working hard to get young people into the Legion," he said.

Cook said the post actively supports the 729th Forward Support Battalion of the U.S. Army National Guard by donating to their families and having Armed Forces Day events recognizing their members who were deployed.

Hospitalized veterans are also a concern for the Post with picnics and visitations planned by members.

During the holidays, the Post delivers Christmas baskets and dinners for needy families, Cook said. There is also a Halloween party for Funkstown children and an Easter egg hunt sponsored by the auxiliary.

For more information on the Post and its activities, call 301-791-0211.

"One of my personal goals was to activate an SAL group and we did," said Cook, who served two years in the U.S. Army in Korea as a combat engineer.

"We've also expanded our social programs, many of which are open to the public."

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