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Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • Westernport Legion turns corner toward brighter future

  • WESTERNPORT - A little over a year since it was closed down by the Health Department, a newly polished and refurbished Victory Post 155 American Legion in Westernport is well on its way toward becoming a hub of activity once again for the quiet little town.
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  • By Liz Beavers
    lbeavers@newstribune.info
    Tribune Managing Editor
    WESTERNPORT - A little over a year since it was closed down by the Health Department, a newly polished and refurbished Victory Post 155 American Legion in Westernport is well on its way toward becoming a hub of activity once again for the quiet little town.
    The hall was able to reopen last fall due to countless hours of volunteer work which brought the building back up to specs. SInce reopening, it has been the location for numerous events, including weekly karaoke sessions, dinners, dances, weddings, and even a wedding vendor show set for later this month.
    Roger "Buck" Lough, who was elected commander last year and has spearheaded the resurrection of the facility, says it has been a difficult road to get as far as they have come, but it has definitely been a group effort.
    "I've had as high as 70 volunteers in here at one time," he told the News Tribune during a recent tour of the facility, noting that there have been a total of approximately 100 volunteers who have helped throughout the process of cleaning, polishing, replacing and upgrading.
    The floors have been scrubbed downstairs and replaced upstairs, the tables and chairs in the social hall were cleaned and repaired, and the kitchen was made spotless.
    "Eight people worked 17 hours on the stoves alone!" he exclaims.
    A digital jukebox has been installed in the bar, along with video games, Keno, Powerball and the Maryland Lottery Horse Race Game.
    "I'd say this is one of the nicest places in the area now .. and I'll tell you, there is no dirt in this building!" Lough said.
    Among the volunteers who have helped over the past year, Lough said he especially wants to thank Dick Miller, Pat McConnell, Howard Rotruck, and mayor Danny Laffey, who "has been just great."
    "I'd like to also give a special thanks to my friend Bob Simmons, who lives in California but never forgot where he came from," he said.
    Now that most of the physical work is done, Lough says one main task remains - to convey to the town's residents that the Legion is there for them ... not just for veterans.
    "We need the young people to know that they're welcome here," he said. "It used to be, if you weren't in the service, you couldn't come. But that's not true. Everyone's welcome."
    To help serve the community, the Legion has a full schedule of activities, including karaoke every Friday night with local DJs, monthly dinners, an upcoming New Year's Eve celebration with Solid Gold providing the music, a mechanical bull ride and more.
    On Sunday, Sept. 29, from 4-6 p.m., a wedding show has been planned with a variety of vendors showing what they have to offer.
    Page 2 of 2 - The social hall is available to be rented for weddings, anniversaries, class reunions, holiday parties ... the possibilities are endless.
    To inquire about renting the facility, interested persons can call Roseanna Twigg at 301-707-3501 or email her at rose_anna1@hotmail.com.

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