AMERICAN LEGION member-at-large Alvin Coop, left, visits with Post 237 Commander Mark Foley about transferring into the local post.

RICHMOND – American Legion Post 237 plans an open house to celebrate 100 years of service to Ray County.

At 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 10, post doors open at 312 Clark St.

Men returning from the Great War in 1919 formed the post, named for World War I veteran Fred Griffith.

Post 237 welcomes all male and female veterans to have coffee and conversation from 8 to about 10 a.m., Monday through Friday.

“People don’t realize we are here five days a week,” post Commander Mark Foley said Tuesday.

Service officer Jim Rippy is available from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursdays to help veterans with VA claims.

Foley said national Commander Bill Oxford’s visit in September “was a big deal.”

“Our district commander, Doug Millison, was impressed with the community activities our post participates in,” Foley said. “Combined with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, we’re involved in a lot of stuff.”

On Tuesdays, tables are set for the post’s weekly bingo game and supper.

“Money we make on Tuesdays is donated to organizations in the community,” Foley said.

The post also loans medical equipment to those in need. Veteran Alvin Coop is new to Richmond and delivered equipment to the post.

“I moved here from Independence and also want to know how I can transfer my membership from Missouri-at-large to Richmond,” Coop said. “I’d like to help out.”

Foley filled out a membership application and membership card on the spot.

“We do need new blood,” he said. “I’ve been commander seven years and at some point I want to be able to do some other things.”

In July, President Donald Trump signed the Let Everyone Get Involved In Opportunities for National Service, or LEGION, Act. The legislation allows nearly 6 million veterans to join the organization and become eligible for benefits.

Foley said five or six people have joined the post since Trump signed the bill into law.

“The challenge is people join and then we don’t see them again,” he said. “And it is not just us, nearly every organization I have talked to is experiencing the same thing.”

Foley said he hopes people will visit Sunday and view post history.

“We have some historical items on display from our first days as an American Legion post,” he said. “This is a good time to ask questions about the Legion, what we do and how to join.”

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