A partnership has been struck between the local American Legion Shaeffer Post 115 and the Elks Lodge in Storm Lake, expected to benefit both organizations,
The arrangement will give the Legion Post its first permanent home in the community. After being re-established in 2006, the Legion has met in various classrooms at Iowa Central Community College and later the meeting room at Super 8 Motel.
While members are grateful for those past opportunities, the Elks Lodge will provide space to display the Legion's collection of military flags and to hold more community events.
The Post now has around 60 members, with opportunity for more growth.
An open house will be held October 18, 6-9 p.m., with the public invited to the Elks Lodge to help launch the new Legion Post location. Veterans and Legionnaires are asked to come at 5 p.m. A meal will be offered, with free-will donations accepted to assist with the Legion's efforts on behalf of veterans and the community.
The agreement was a simple one. Some of the Legion Post leaders were at AmVets next door and noted that the Elks Lodge, with its dining room and dance floor offered ample space, compared to the quarters they have been using. They walked next door and asked if they would be interested. They sat down for a few minutes with the Elks board, and within a couple of days, an agreement had been struck.
"They have been very good to us and we are more than happy to be able to share this great location," said Post Commander Tim Schroeder. "Now we have room to grow, to have fundraisers, to use with Legion Riders evens, or even to have a community event with a band or a DJ." With such a location, they hope to bring the fall District Legion Conference to Storm Lake.
After the open house, the Legion will begin preparing to host a pancake breakfast November 17, as a fundraiser for its veteran assistance programs. The Post is active in supporting other community efforts, such as Scouts, high-school oratorical competition, 5th grade Flag Essays program, Boys State and Girls State and even sponsoring a softball team.
With veterans returning to the Storm Lake area from Iran and Afghanistan, the Legion Post can help play an important role in helping to meet the needs of those who have served their country.
"They don't have to become a member - as long as they know we are here for them," Schroeder said. "Whatever issues they may have, we can often connect them with the people they need through our network. There are avenues to help veterans that even Veterans Affairs offices may not know about. And sometimes, what helps the most is just to know there is someplace to go where you can sit down with a fellow vet who will just be their friend and talk with them."
Anyone who may be interested in joining the local Legion Post, or who needs information relating to veterans and services for them, may contact Gary Emery, 712-730-2712, or Tim Schroeder, 712-660-2889.