The American Legion Post #98 will seem like a completely new facility to community members come March.
Posted on 1/16/15
By Melissa Anderson
The Legion, which was last updated some 30 years ago according to Post Commander Steve Anderson, is now in phase two of renovations that Anderson says will be completed by the end of February.
“It was old. It was dark. It was in need of serious renovation,” Anderson stated.
Over the course of the winter of 2015, members of the Legion worked on the ceiling in the main hall of the legion. Members of the Legion replaced the ceiling tiles, completed repair work to the ceiling, installed recess lighting, and Cavalier Rural Electric helped to repair and rewire the speaker system.
“That was our winter project in a nut shell, and everyone who saw it noticed just a huge difference in how much it brightened and cleaned it up and brought the ceiling up-to-date,” Anderson said.
Now the Legion will move onto revamping the walls of the main hall. Currently, the walls are covered in dark wood paneling. Anderson and fellow veterans have big plans to continue to brighten the hall making it much more up-to-date.
The Legion will remove about 32 to 34 inches of the bottom portion of the paneling and replace it with a honey oak wainscotting. The top portion of the paneling will receive a fresh coat of off-white paint as well as trim.
“That will get rid of all that dark paneling in there, brighten it up and make it look bigger,” Anderson added.
Anderson stated that part of this effort is to improve the Legion and make it more accessible for wedding receptions by removing the need to try and brighten the space for receptions.
“The people that rent the hall, especially for weddings, want it white. We thought we would help them along by painting the walls. It will just modernize the space, and hopefully that’s what people want,” Leon Hiltner, First Sergeant at the Legion, stated.
Besides the need to update the main hall’s drab interior space, Anderson explained that there is another much more meaningful reason for the face lift to the main hall.
“The intent and plan is to start displaying a lot of the uniforms of the different military branches,” Anderson said.
The Legion members will build shadowboxes that will display uniforms from as far back and as many different branches of service as possible. This way individuals who enter the Legion can see the different phases and the progressions of uniforms throughout the years.
“As the American Legion, we support all branches of the military. People can see all this stuff ,and it’s a little something different,” Anderson said.
The American Legion baseball trophy case has been taken down and will be moved to the park where those who appreciate the baseball aspect of the Legion will be better able to view the accomplishments.
The remodel also includes an update to the cooler equipment in the bar area. One cooler recently stopped working requiring the Legion to use a small refrigerator. The other cooler has since started acting up forcing the Legion to do something about refrigeration for the bar area.
“We have had no choice. We had to order two new coolers for the bar area. You can’t have a wedding dance or any functions if you don’t have something for beverages,” Anderson explained.
Future projects include working on the front hall of the Legion where the entrance is located. The ceiling will receive the same updates that the main hall did as well as freshening up the walls.
The Legion’s remodeling projects do come at a price, and right now, the Legion depends on its members to not only help to make these projects through volunteer hours to do the work involved but also financially.
The Legion has been able to apply for and receive grants but much of that money has already been ear-marked for things such as the coolers and other projects.
“As a non-profit organization, money is very tight for us, and we are going to do all we can to finish this project even if it’s a three phase or four phase project,” Anderson said.
The Legion also knows that, should it be necessary, they can ask the community of Langdon to help.
“The community has been fantastic in the past as far as helping out with donations,” Anderson said, “ but you hate to keep going back to the well and asking for more.”
What the Legion needs right now for this phase of painting and work on finishing the main hall and the ceiling tile and lights in the front hall is the hands to complete the work.
The Legion members know that with so few venues for events such as weddings, the need to keep up with the times and make the American Legion hall a practical and wanted venue is important.
“For many, it’s just the right size for the functions that people want so it’s necessary to make it inviting,” Hiltner said.
“We have everything under one roof. We have the kitchen, the bar, and the reception area,” Anderson added.
As the Legion does this work, the need for younger veterans to join becomes apparent.
“I have my go-to guys that I know I can call that will come down and help,” Hiltner said.
Any veterans can join the American Legion and are free to attend the meetings. The dues are $40. If you are a veteran and would like to join, any member of the American Legion can provide you with a membership form.
To volunteer or donate to the Legion, please contact Steve Anderson or Leon Hiltner for more information.