American Legion starts program for rebuilding

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Ceceil Duke salutes the flag during the opening of an American Legion Post 49 breakfast meeting at the Disabled American Veterans Center in Tupelo. Since the April 28 tornado, Legion members have had to find new places to meet.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Ceceil Duke salutes the flag during the opening of an American Legion Post 49 breakfast meeting at the Disabled American Veterans Center in Tupelo. Since the April 28 tornado, Legion members have had to find new places to meet.

By M. Scott Morris

Daily Journal

TUPELO – The process of rebuilding from the April 28 tornado is underway at American Legion Post 49, but insurance money won’t get the job done alone.

“The debris removal is going to cost more than we have to cover it,” Bill Mims, the post’s financial officer, told about 60 members on Wednesday. “We can still do it, but that will come out of the rebuilding money.”

Post 49 held its weekly breakfast meeting at the Disabled American Veterans Center, and it’ll have its business meetings at the Vietnam Veterans Association and Marine Corps League building for the foreseeable future.

Mims announced a pledge program to help generate the money to rebuild at Legion Lake.

“What we’re looking at is trying to do something on a month-to-month basis,” he said. “It’s not what you necessarily can give, so much as it’s what you can raise each month. You might not be able to do $300 up front, but you can do $50 a month.”

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Bill Mims, financial officer for American Legion Post 49, tells members about a new pledge program to help cover the cost of rebuilding at Legion Lake.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Bill Mims, financial officer for American Legion Post 49, tells members about a new pledge program to help cover the cost of rebuilding at Legion Lake.

Post 49 received a $5,000 jump-start on its efforts from the American Legion’s national emergency fund.

Robert Gosa, American Legion national executive committeeman for Mississippi, brought that check, and delivered two $1,000 checks for individual members who were displaced by the tornado. He also brought more applications for assistance.

“I talked to other Legion members from around the country, and I know there will be some support coming from them,” said Gosa, who singled out a post in Massachusetts that planned to send money.

Mims said the post would make sure that donations for the building fund would be used only for that purpose.

“This ain’t no CEO getting money out of this,” he said. “This is all going to rebuild. There is a different account and a different bank. It will all be kept separate.”

The tornado devastated the American Legion’s building. There’s not much left standing but a couple of walls and a bent flag pole with storm-ravaged flags.

But Post 49 still takes its mail at 1875 American Legion Road, Tupelo, MS 38804, where any and all donations to the rebuilding effort would be appreciated.

“We got the mailbox up,” said Tommy Carr Jr., post commander. “That was the first thing we did.”

In addition to the monetary support, Gosa brought copies of the American Legion’s charter and the Sons of the American Legion’s charter. Post 49’s original documents had been lost in a fire decades ago.

scott.morris@journalinc.com