The American Legion Post 85 has a history of helping the community of Perry.
“The American Legion has been doing it for years, and now it looks like the American Legion needs some help from the community. And we do, the funds are low,” Commander Ron Pratt said.
The American Legion Post 85 building, located on the corner of 1st Avenue and Pattee Street, has been closed for the past eight months.
Adjutant Ron Leber was a member before the Perry Legion building closed. The building closed, he said, because not enough funds were coming in to help sustain the building.
“I stand in opposition of closing that post. It’s been here since I was young. I grew up with that building in town,” Leber said of the Post 85 building.
A special revitalization meeting was called to address the future of the Perry American Legion. The state commander, district commander and financial officer all came to the meeting.
Leber said it was decided during the meeting that Post 85 could use a fresh start in the command system. Post 85 members then voted in Pratt as the commander and Leber as the adjutant, along with the other officers.
With a new command system in place, Post 85 then turned its attention to finding ways to bring in enough revenue to get the building open again.
Pratt said that while the outside of the building is in good shape, the inside needs a lot of remodeling and updating. Work needs to be done on the plumbing before utilities can be turned on again.
The kitchen also needs to be remodeled. Pratt added that they would like to make the building handicap-accessible for the older veterans.
There is a ramp on the outside of the building that goes to the main floor. However, there isn’t a ramp to the lower level where Bingo was previously held.
“Right now, the only revenue that we have is paying for the building’s insurance. We don’t have any other means to generate this revenue to remodel or to renovate,” Leber said.
Pratt and Post 85 members have been coming up with different ideas to help bring in that revenue. One of Pratt’s ideas revolves around an upcoming motorcycle run.
Once the building is renovated, Pratt said there are other ways to help bring in revenue. Members have talked about offering a Sunday breakfast for the public and renting out the main hall for receptions.
Leber said that revenue can then be funneled back into the community.
The American Legion Post 85 sponsored a student this spring to attend Hawkeye Boys State. Leber said they would like to also sponsor a scholarship for seniors going into the military and other educational opportunities.
“There are a lot of things (we can do), but we have to get our post reopened,” he said.
“That’s the main priority right now, is opening that post so we have a place to do the work,” Pratt said.
And so they have a place to meet. Post 85 is back to meeting regularly at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month at the Rowley Masonic Community in Perry.
“They are gracious enough, and I can’t say that enough, that they let us use their building for our meetings,” Pratt said.
Leber encouraged veterans to come to a meeting at the Masonic Community. He said Post 85 is looking to expand its membership with younger veterans so it can continue into the future.
Pratt also encouraged community members to contact Post 85 members with suggestions on fundraisers or for more information on how to donate.
Pratt can be reached at 515-321-0752 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Leber can be reached at 515-240-2077 or email@example.com.
“We want to let our community know that we like to think we’re here to stay,” Pratt said. “We just need to come together and work as a team, as a community, so we can do this great work.”
“We can get back to work helping other veterans,” Leber said.
“The community and the veterans,” Pratt added.