Middlebury American Legion Post 27

Post 27 History

  

Middlebury American Legion Post 27 History 

A group of twenty officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) in France in World War I is credited with planning the Legion. A.E.F. Headquarters asked these officers to suggest ideas on how to improve troop morale. One officer, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., proposed an organization of veterans.  As a result the American Legion was born and recognized by Congress.  The first post chartered was in Washington D.C. on May 19, 1919.  This post completed the constitution and made plans for a permanent organization and established a temporary national headquarters in New York City. Middlebury American Legion Post 27 was there right from the beginning of this prestigious organization and was chartered on August 4, 1919 with twenty-nine (29) charter members. During the early years of Post 27 the meetings were conducted in numerous locations, either borrowed or rented.  Prior to having a permanent home it was renting space on Main Street, over the “Ben Franklin” store.  It wasn’t until 1954 that the post had a permanent location which was on Creek Road in Middlebury.  This location remained the Post Home for over forty (40) years.  During the years at this location membership remained high with a record number of three hundred and ninety-one (391) in 1959.The property on Creek Road was sold to the school district and the Post Home relocated to its current location on Wilson Road in Middlebury in 1996.  This building was a former rental hall, “The Main Event”.  An addition was added to the rental hall for the club area.  Throughout the years many improvements were made to the building.   Most recently an outside storage building and an outside break building were added.  The outside of the main building was completely repaired and resided in 2010.  In 2010 there were also other firsts for Post 27.  A web site was launched and wifi was added to the post for all to use.Post 27 has always been active in supporting veterans, children and the community.  Much of this has been done with the support its SAL Squadron 27, and an Auxiliary which utilizes post facilities.  Over the years hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated to veteran’s services and organizations in addition to community, educational, and recreational organizations and institutions, and to individuals in need.  Listed below are some of the larger donations along with a sampling of the continuous support to various organizations and institutions:
  • $175,000.00 donated to the Memorial Sports Center,
  • $50,000.00 donated to Porter Hospital,
  • $50,000.00 donated to Project Independence, Elderly Services,
  • $25,000 donated to Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association (MVAA),

  • $21,000.00 + given annually in college scholarships by Post 27 Family to local high school graduates,  

  • $10,000.00 given to Town Hall Theater,
  • $5,000.00 given to the Fucile Field Athletic Complex,
  • $5,000.00 plus given to MUHS for the football field and baseball field renovations,
  • $3,000.00 plus given annually to Middlebury High School programs,
  • $3,000.00 plus given annually to sports programs run by or coordinated through the Middlebury Parks and Recreations Department,
  •  $2,500.00 given annually for the Middlebury New Year’s Eve Fireworks,
  • $5,000.00 for the purchase and outfitting of the Police/Fire Mobile Command Post,
  • $2,500.00  for the Middlebury Police K-9 Program,
  •  Funds and coordinates the annual Middlebury Memorial Day Parade,
  • Along with Vergennes and Bristol American Legion Posts purchased a van for the DAV to transport veterans to the VA Hospital,
  • Donates the use of the hall to area non-profits and prepares and distributes meals to Elderly Services and the Evergreen House,
  • Sponsors and funds participants for Boy’s State, American Legion Baseball, and the Law Enforcement Cadet Program every year,
  • Donates the use of the facilities as an emergency shelter, and makes numerous other donations to the area towns , organizations, and individuals in need. 
Middlebury American Legion Post 27 has consistently been there to support veterans, community, children, and those in need and will continue to do so.

Post 27 has a unique distinction of being the only American Legion Post in Vermont, and possibly in the nation, to own and operate its own veteran’s cemetery, which it has done since 2003.
Located on Creek Road in Middlebury is the Farmingdale Veteran’s Cemetery.  This is one of the most historic cemeteries in the state where remains of those who perished in the Revolutionary War are interned.   In addition to those war veterans this is the burial place of Ann Story, the heroine of Thompson’s “Green Mountain Boys”.   In addition, Benjamin Smalley, who built the first house in Middlebury, is buried at this historic site.  He married the widow, Ann Story.There are currently six hundred (600) burial sites available to veterans (at no cost) and their dependents.

In 2005 Post 27, through the efforts of its then Chaplain, Jim Katar, was able to procure an A-4 aircraft which now sits on a pedestal at the post.  Jim was a Marine pilot during the Vietnam War and flew an A-4 from the deck of an aircraft carrier. The aircraft came from the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, NC and is on loan from the U.S. Naval Museum.  Most of the cost for this display was donated by Paul Carrara, a local businessman.   This monument to all our past, current, and future veterans was dedicated on Flag Day in 2006.  In June 2006 it was visited by National Commander Tom Bock.  Even the granite blocks that comprise the base of this monument have a significant history. They were surplus blocks, or blocks with inscription errors from Arlington National Cemetery.

 

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