SIDNEY — Signed … Sealed … Delivered.
The establishment of the American Legion Post 217 and Sidney Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 4239 under one roof is complete.
“We started working on this in 2015,” said Mike Bennett, VFW judge advocate. “It’s really been a good process as both commanders were on board and were supporting it to make sure it got done.”
Paperwork completing the process and forming the Sidney Veterans Association was signed Tuesday night at the Sidney Veterans’ Center.
Both commanders of the veterans organizations are pleased the process is complete.
“We are happy this has all come together, and the key is it’s all about the veterans and it doesn’t matter where your from,” said American Legion Post Commander Jim Moorman.
“We are all veterans and hope we all can come together here and be one. We’ve been working hard and long to make this happen,” said VFW Commander Dennis Thatcher. “We hope that when veterans come back to Sidney they will know where to come. “
“We originally were going to form an LLC with a provision for land purchase and an agreement for the building, which is now the Sidney Veterans Center,” said Bennett.
After talking with legal counsel, it was decided that — since the American Legion owned all the gaming and liquor licenses — the Legion will continue to own the building and parking lot. The Association will run everything inside the building, which includes the canteen, hall and kitchen.
The Association, said Bennett, will officially take over operations the middle of May or first part of June. It will be responsible for all employees and the hall rental.
“At this point, all the proceeds were going to the Legion,” said Bennett. “Once the association takes over, everything will go through the association and distributed to the VFW and American Legion,” he said.”
The VFW closed its doors at its location on Wapakoneta Avenue on Dec. 31, 2018. It has been open for hall rentals but that has also been stopped as the VFW no longer has a liquor license, said Bennett.
The association will be hiring an overall operations manager to oversee the employees and operation of the organization. Employees will also include a hall rental employee and canteen manager.
“Business is up 30 percent since we’ve come together,” said Bennett. “This merger/consolidation allows the veterans in Sidney to have a home. They know it’s going to be there for a long, long time.
Bennett said there’s a provision in the articles of the association that allows other veterans groups to come on board at a later date.
“Once the AMVETS sell their building,, they will be joining the association,” said Bennett. “All AMVETS are welcome as guests of the American Legion commander to attend events at the center.”
Bennett said there’s now a Consolidated Honor Guard under the direction of the Sidney American Legion. Members of the American Legion, VFW and AMVETS are all members of the honor guard.
“This association is all about the veterans and their families. At veteran’s funerals, we’re there for their families. We will be a home for all veterans.
“We want all veterans and their families to know this is their home and that they can come here when they need to.”
Bennett said an auction is planned for June 22 at the VFW building and will include equipment from the VFW, American Legion and AMVETS.