ALBANY, Ore. - More than a year after an arson fire destroyed the American Legion post on the Fourth of July, the veterans group remains more than $1 million short on funds to build a new meeting place.
"If we don’t get help, we're done," said James McCanlas, commander of American Legion Post 10. "The biggest Legion in Oregon that’s been around for 94 years, the 10th one in the state, will be done."
An arson fire on July 4, 2010, burned the Legion post building to the ground.
Rebuilding already started, with the help of donated architectural work and $40,000 in donations.
But insurance money has been exhausted, and the 1,082-member Legion post is still $1.2 million short on construction funds. They have applied for grants, and later this month the Albany City Council will decide whether or not to give city money to the effort.
"Everyone says, ‘Oh, American Legion Post 10 is Albany’s best kept secret.' That’s because in the old days, that’s the right way to do it. They did it. They didn’t talk about it," McCanlas said, "but because of it, it's not out there what the legion has done for the community."
The group supports veterans and the families of active service members.
Without further funds, the new building will only be a shell.
"Currently we have enough to get the walls up, the roof and the windows and doors - and that’s about it," said Charles Wolf, who chairs the Post's housing committee. "Kind of tough when you have to ask for that kind of money."