Johnstown Independent

American Legion

Post 254 holds first fundraiser in new home

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Three-year-old Amelia Lenner enjoys her dinner during the Johnstown American Legion Post 254 spaghetti-dinner fundraiser at the new community complex Saturday, June 21. This was the first event at the complex, which was formerly the recreation center, 185 W. Maple St.

After a long process to acquire the former Johnstown Recreation Center, the American Legion Post 254 hosted its first official event in its new home June 21 with a spaghetti-dinner fundraiser.

About 150 guests raised nearly $1,000 for Post 254, though several hundred dollars of that figure went toward kitchen supplies and other operating costs.

Post 254 spokesman and former commander Bruce Tolle said the event was much more about informing the public of the new location at 185 W. Maple St.

"A lot of the community knows we've moved; there's been stuff on the newspaper and radio, but people hear stuff and it goes in one ear and out the other," Tolle told ThisWeek. "I talked to a few people and told them we moved, and they said, 'Oh, I didn't know that,' and that surprised me. I didn't think there was anyone who didn't know."

Tolle said post organizers had no idea how many guests to expect and were unsure how to prepare for the event, but they were happy with the turnout.

"It went well, and we were pleased with the people who came and participated," Tolle said. "We were waiting with bated breath, thinking, 'Let's see how many will show up.' We had no background to make any kind of judgment on, so it was just our initial try at this."

Now that its first fundraiser is out of the way, the real work begins for the post as its members leave their old location at 44 S. Main St. -- a building they occupied for nearly a century.

Tolle said members are finished moving things out, but the process of moving their possessions in and out of storage while they determine their new purpose at the new location could be a long one.

The post still is planning for the annual fireworks display and Independence Day activities this year, but after those are completed, Tolle said, members hope to have regular fundraisers and other events at their new community complex every month or six weeks.

Those fundraising efforts, which aim for contributions from the community, are what keep Post 254 afloat, Tolle said.

"We get a lot of support from around the general area," he said. "We are very blessed, I would say, to have a lot of support from a lot of people for the things we do. Of course, that's what allows us to do the things we do around the community."

Although Tolle and the other Post 254 members haven't had much free time to reminisce, he said it would be odd to no longer call 44 S. Main St. their home.

"It is a little strange after having it be in that building for so many years," he said. "(The recreation center) is a larger facility. There's a little bit of an echo in there."