American Legion post adding room, breakfast


American Legion officials say they hope to complete an addition to their Second Avenue hall by the end of the month. A Vietnam Veterans’ Day dinner is planned at the hall for March 29.

The Legion also is offering breakfast every Saturday, 9 to 11 a.m., to help raise funds for its programs and community work. It recently moved its burger night to Fridays to accommodate families with children and student groups employed as servers. The American Legion Auxiliary holds a taco feed 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays.

The addition includes a new, 1,800-square foot room and restrooms behind the existing, second-story dining hall, plus additional storage rooms at ground level. Besides creating new space for community and Legion functions, the addition will allow unrestricted use by minors, said John Newton, first vice-commander of Lynn Canal Post #12.

The new room has a separate entrance and might be used for events ranging from meals to conferences or dances.

Because the existing dining hall falls under the liquor license of the bar located downstairs, people under 21 using it must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, Newton said. That becomes problematic when the Legion and other groups using the hall hold functions where students serve as waiters, he said.

The hall is used for functions by community groups, including fundraiser dinners and auctions. On Saturday, the Haines Volunteer Fire Department held its annual Spouses’ Dinner there.

Newton said the addition will help the Legion better serve the community. “That’s what the Legion is for. It’s for veterans and getting them the help and support they need, but it’s also for the community.”

The group is hoping to get across to the public that the American Legion isn’t a bar but a veterans and community organization that just happens to also operate a bar, Newton said. The Vietnam Veterans dinner will help pay for remaining bills for the renovation project.

Recent improvements to the American Legion building were funded in part by legislative grants through the state Department of Commerce. They included building rewiring, $150,000; hall renovation, $150,000; and fire suppression system installation, $150,000.


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