American Legion Post 6 of Chapel Hill, N.C., is a true centennial post, having received its initial charter in 1919. Over the years, the post home has moved more than once. According to post adjutant Lee Heavlin, Legionnaires “cut down local trees and split logs to build a log cabin” that served from 1919 to 1955. In that year, they constructed a new home for themselves on more than 35 isolated acres outside town.
But by 2016, their surroundings were a lot less isolated, and the building itself had seen better days. Membership was down as well. The Post 6 Legion Family was faced with a choice: spend more than half a million dollars to bring the post home up to code, or start fresh in a new location. Discussion began. Several committees were set up to evaluate the post’s current position, and develop a direction for the post to go in terms of continuing to serve veterans, their families and the community.
In the end, the decision was virtually unanimous to sell the post property and build new. The Town of Chapel Hill bought it, and the post used the proceeds to purchase 128 acres. A point paper on “Project New Post Home” describes the next step: “The goal was then established to replicate our existing amenities and add features that are more relevant to the needs to current and future veterans and their families.”
Since then, a new Design Committee has been canvassing other posts for ideas to incorporate to make the new post home the best it can be; ideas range from recreational and exercise options to a Legion museum. Members will be able to picnic in undeveloped woods, and plans for a special camp/retreat site are also in the works. The amount of land should create an effective buffer for a long time to come.
The point paper goes on to say, “Our goal is to accelerate membership growth using the momentum created by change and opportunity.” This in turn will lead to a growth in programs and assistance rendered. And as befits a perfect centennial project, “We are hopeful that we will be ready to occupy or dedicate the new post on Aug. 28, 2019, our 100th anniversary,” Heavlin says.