First it was our American Legion's 1st Vice Commander Neil Steen calling me to tell me that he would be at the dinner tonight at the Post to help out if needed. He has been volunteering to greet our guests and man the ticket table. He is a good man, and I like the fact that he pitches in where and when he can.
The second call came from someone who said that his mother forgot her purse at the Post last night. I said that I'd meet him there, so yes - I finally got going and ran over to the Post.
When I got there, Jerry Combs was already there - and yes, he had already given the purse to the fella that called. Jerry and others were already busy preparing tonight's St. Patrick's Day Dinner!
I figured since I was already there that I would get my chores done behind the bar to get ready for the folks tonight. Frank Sousa came in, and a minute later Dorothy Mechling walked in. Frank decided to come by and ask if he could be of help. Dorothy jumped right in setting up table decorations.
I filled the coolers, the ice chest, cleaned a little, that sort of thing. I saw that I needed a few things from the store and knowing that Steve Duman was 5 or 6 miles closer to town than I am, I called him to ask if he was running into town before coming out to the Post. After he heard what I needed, he ran into Jackson to pickup what we needed. The man is a Saint!
Then the snow started. Nice big fluffy snow. And yes, I loved it because we need it. We need it because unlike other parts of the country - this has been a very mild winter and we need the water.
Winter came to Glencoe yesterday with much needed rain. And friends, it rained hard. Thunder, lightning, cold rain came down in buckets last night. Everyone up here knew the snow was coming today, and yes around 1pm it did.
That's one thing about living up here, everyone watches the weather this time of year.
Then the phone started ringing with people asking if we'd still be open as planned? A lot of folks look forward to Jerry's Great Corned beef & Cabbage, so the answer was a definite "you betcha!"
I ran home to clean up a little and pickup Deanna, then when I got back I immediately jumped behind the bar to tend to business. I cannot tell you folks how wonderful it felt seeing all our friends and neighbors walk in the door.
The snow did not stop outside, but people still came. And friends, it was a full house of what looked like some very happy folks!
Yes, we are a Vets Club. But we are also a huge part of our Community, and our neighbors know that we appreciate and thank them for their support of our Post.
All the laughter, the fun, the jokes, and of course the great food, yes it was a great time!
We opened at 4pm and I finally turned off the lights and locked the door at 9pm tonight. It was a long day, but well worth it! Jerry and his crew in the kitchen did an outstanding job, and I really hope he knows how thankful I am for all that they did today.
Volunteers make any organization like our America Legion Post run. Without them, yes nothing takes place. They are not "employees." No, they are not. Actually, none of us are employees. We are all Volunteers.
I look at all of the Officer positions with the Legion as that of being a sort of Steward. Because of that, I know that I will take care of my responsibilities until the next 2nd Vice takes over. At that time, he can run things the way he sees fit.
In the mean while, I'm tasked with doing my best in my area of responsibility. And that, my friends, is as a sort of morale officer in charge of the bar, the kitchen, and making sure we have activities and fun.
Though I don't have to answer to anyone except myself, there is no "power" in any position at the Post. Its all about honor and responsibility.
It is a point of honor that pushes me to do as good as I can. But friends, it's volunteers like Jerry, Neil, Steve, and all of the others, that get things done and make my job work. I can only hope they know how much I appreciate their jumping in and rolling up their sleeves.
Yes, I'm retired. So all in all, I see this as a way of giving back to my community and fellow veterans. In my position, I've tried to come up with ways of boosting morale.
But honestly, no matter how many ideas for events that I can come up with, no matter what I or someone else comes up with, ideas are just ideas. Its our volunteers that make them happen.
Trust me when I say that I learned a long long time ago that ideas to do this or that - ain't worth diddly squat without great people supporting it. They make things happen.
One neighbor by the name of Don Ames, whose family has been in these parts since the California Gold Rush put together a series of books chronicling our area.
In those books, they show account after account of parties, dances, balls, that the Miners and Loggers and the Merchants used to have throughout the year. Those books prove, that even back in the 1860's during the California Gold Rush, that men and women needed to get together and take time off away from their troubles and toil and celebrate life!
We are a small country American Legion Post. We are in a place that has a population of 189, and that is something that we need to remember when thinking about what we need to keep going. A couple things that our little post has going for it is that we are absolutely blessed with having a great community of really great folks.
Each month, we are slated to do something in the way of a party or a dance or a bar-b-q. Whether its Jerry doing his magic in preparing a great Corned beef and Cabbage Dinner or Santa showing up for the kids up here - my mission is to try to do what those old timers and their wives knew way back when - we should aways take time out from a lousy economy and high gas prices to celebrate life - even if it is in the smallest ways!
For you folks who helped tonight, and for you folks who braved the lousy road conditions to come out and enjoy St Patrick's Day with us, thank you for all of you support!
Have a great night, and may God bless you and yours.
Story by Tom Correa
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