American Legion Post 49 Reopens
After months of cleaning out flood damage from Hurricane Ike, Orange’s American Legion Post is re-opening. They are holding regular meetings and bingo is back every Sunday afternoon. June 28 the post is inviting the general public to the grand opening celebration.
The building at 108 Green Ave. received nearly two feet of water from the hurricane. In addition to damage to the floors, walls and electrical outlets; the tables and chairs in the large meeting room were so damaged, they had to be discarded.
Many important papers dealing with the history of the post were in the lower drawers of filing cabinets and were destroyed by the water.
“We had a lot of pictures damaged, but we have a member who is trying to salvage them. She cleans them and scans them and then has to clean her scanner,” said incoming post commander John Ochs.
Post 49 has a long history in Orange. It was chartered in 1919, with W.F. VanArsdale serving as the first commander.
The post was named in the memory of Lloyd Grubbs, the first soldier from Orange to be killed in World War I.
Grubbs was a 1914 graduate of Orange High School and enlisted in the Army in 1915. After a distinguished combat record in France, he was selected to attend the American Expeditionary Forces Field Artillery School in Samur, France. Grubbs graduated as a second lieutenant and was assigned to Battery F of the 109th Field Artillery on Sept. 9, 1918.
On Oct. 2, 1918, a German artillery shell hit the dugout Grubbs was in. Shell fragments hit him in the neck and back, killing him instantly.
Original members of the post were veterans of World War I, or the Great War, as it was once called.
Since that original group, members of the post have included veterans of all branches of the military from every period of armed conflict, as well as peacetime. Members have also been members of National Guard and Reserve units as well.
To become a Legionnaire, one only needs to be a veteran. Overseas service is not required.
The post will host an opening day celebration at 3 p.m. Saturday. There will be barbecue, drinks, lots of music and dancing. The headline band will be Johnny Vee and ZydeSoul, with the possibility of three other bands appearing.
“Admission cost is only $3 for a single and $5 for a couple,” said Ochs. “We are not trying to make a lot of money. We want people to come out and see our facility, meet us and maybe, decide to become a member.”
The post is conducting a raffle of a Brinkman Barbecue. Tickets are available at the post, from members and throughout the afternoon of the party. The drawing will take place that day.
Ochs added, “One reason it has been so long for us to get the building back in shape is that we have such limited funding. About the only way we have to raise money is our Sunday bingo and an occasional raffle. We will accept donations at any time, in any amount. We are also happy to have new members at any time.”
In addition to the Legion, the post also has an American Legion Auxiliary and a Sons of the American Legion Squadron.
Prospective members are invited to attend post meetings at 7 p.m. second Thursdays.
For information about joining the Legion, Auxiliary or the SAL, call Ochs at (409) 779-4605. The post number is 886-1241.