American Legion reaches out to community for help

The Charles Skellenger American Legion Post 267 at 10309 Davison Road in Davison Township. Photo by Gary Gould

The Charles Skellenger American Legion Post 267 at 10309 Davison Road in Davison Township. Photo by Gary Gould

DAVISON TWP. — After 100 years of helping the community, the Charles Skellenger American Legion Post 267, 10309 Davison Rd., is asking for assistance in return while it weathers a drastic loss in revenue during the pandemic.

The organization, which has about 70 members currently, has long helped out in the Davison area by offering assistance to veterans, honor guard salutes at veteran funerals and the annual scholarships it provides to graduating Davison High School seniors.

But, like many groups and organizations locally, COVID-19 has forced the post to cancel virtually all of its fundraising efforts, from nightly poker games to its Mom2Mom Sale and even rental of the hall has seen 100 percent cancellations for 2020.

Post officials said they believe they will not be able to hold their annual Santa at the Hall event this year due to social distancing guidelines.

“It’s a struggle to keep our doors open,” said Tim Hernandez, judge advocate for Post 267. “To be able to meet, to have organizations in the hall, to hold wedding receptions here.”

The loss of charity poker at the hall is costing the post about $1,000 a week, money it uses to pay its bills and keep the hall open. It has also seen the cancellation of its Mom2Mom Sale, which earns about $1,000; Poppy Days earning $1,500; and funeral dinners, totaling about $1,000

Mary Pavelock, Unit President of Auxiliary, said the situation is bleak.

“We can’t help other people if we can’t make money,” she said. “And we can’t pay the bills.”

The post regularly donates $2,000 to Outreach East for Christmas, Veteran’s In Need for $1,000, the senior scholarships at DHS $1,000 and the cost of the Wilwin Lodge Cabin that belongs to the post at $250, Pavelock said the post needs about $2,500 a month to pay its bills

Post Commander Dan O’Neill said members are putting in as much as $100 each a month of their own money to help make ends meet.

To try and help the post get by, O’Neill said his wife, Kathy O’Neill recently put in for a $10,000 grant from the national American Legion. But, he admits, many posts are in the same situation throughout the state and county, so competition for the grant will be greater.

“Everything is cancelled, its terrible,” said O’Neill. “This shutdown has killed us.”

Pavelock said she’s started a GoFundMe page for the post, hoping perhaps the community the American Legion has served faithfully for 100 years will help it now in its time of need.

“It would help us stay open, pay some bills, maybe fund some programs,” she said of the prospect of community donations of the national grant. “We’d like to be able to support things like Boys and Girls State, Trooper School and sponsor Little League again next year.”

To visit the GoFundMe page on social media, visit 1