‘Community Open House’ hosted by American Legion

Discover the multiple benefits that resulted from the Legion holding a first-of-its-kind event in their hall …

This outdoor reader-board sign is one of the ways that American Legion Portland Post #1 let folks know about their first-ever “Community Open House”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Anyone who drives through the Mill Park neighborhood must have noticed the American Legion Portland Post #1 (“The Service Post”), at 1830 SE 122nd Avenue.

Every year, they hold a special community event honoring firefighters and police officers in their hall. CLICK HERE to see our story about last year’s celebration.

However, for the first time ever, this service organization hosted a “Community Open House” on Saturday afternoon, March 22.

The main hall is set up like a trade show – with businesses, community groups, and neighborhood associations there to tell neighbors about their offerings.

Post Commander John Bolner tells a visitor that all veterans are welcome at this American Legion Post.

“It’s kind of an experiment, you know,” said Post Commander John Bolner.

“The Vice President of our American Legion Auxiliary, Kelly Buck, ‘hatched’ the idea,” Bolner told East Portland News. “She, and a lot of volunteers, have been working on this for several months now.”

To make sure the word got out, Bolner said, local pizza stores taped promotional flyers on to-go boxes, and a volunteer crew passed out 2,000 flyers in the surrounding neighborhood.

Powellhurst Gilbert Neighborhood Association Secretary Barb Klinger, Board Member Lori Boisen, and Mill Park Neighborhood resident Trevor Hopper from the Mid-County Foot Patrol, talk with visitors about their organizations.

“Working with our local community is part of what the American Legion is supposed to do,” explained Bolner. “Our mission is to support the community and youth – as well as Armed Services veterans.

“And, when we help the business community, it helps everyone,” Bolner added. “Plus, [this Community Fair] introduces us to many people who may not know much about the American Legion. It also helps is in our aim to let all veterans know they are welcome here.”

American Legion Portland Post #1 Auxiliary Unit President Kelly Buck, Commander John Bolner, and organizer Auxiliary 1st Vice President and Membership Secretary Liana Smith, smile as the Community Fair gets underway.

The commander introduced the Open House organizer, American Legion Portland Post #1 Auxiliary 1st Vice President and Membership Secretary Liana Smith. “In all, about 50 volunteers have worked on today’s event, in one way or another,” she said.

The effort was worthwhile, Smith reflected, “Because it engaged so many volunteers here at the Post, including our Auxiliary Juniors. For example, after a one of our meetings, everyone worked together to stuff flyers into the door hanger bags that we later took out into the neighborhood.”

Melinda Dorning and Kenneth Burns, both from the Portland Gold Prospectors Association, tell about their 100-member organization.

While the commander said they’d hoped to see a few more community members come to the Open House, they were nonetheless quite pleased with the turnout.

“We want the community to know what we can offer as a Legion,” Smith added. “And, this includes some of our neighboring businesses and organizations. There’s a lot of fun stuff they’re doing. It’s kind of cool to see all the networking going on.”

Learn more, by visiting their official website: CLICK HERE.

Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement Board Chair David Edwards, of David Edwards Insurance, shares a light moment with Post Auxiliary Unit Historian Jackie Miller.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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