NEWTON, Iowa -- Around eight years ago, things were not looking great for American Legion Post 111 in Newton. Declining membership and revenues to the bar and ballroom meant making ends meet would be difficult.
The leadership decided to take a bold move to right the ship in Newton.
“The building was in disrepair, so if we did nothing, nothing was going to happen, it was just going to keep on going down hill,” said Dale Maki, who serves as Financial Officer for Post 111. “We renovated in hopes of regenerating the activities and level of business that we were having.”
The effort seems to have paid off. The group borrowed some money and received generous donations to help with the remodel, and to keep the doors open. Business has picked up.
Post 111 serves veterans and their families from WWII to Korean Conflict, onward to present day. Post 111 had over 700 members coming out of WWII. Now that number has dwindled to under 300. Members here know that in rural Iowa some Legion posts are struggling with very few members, so they are now thankful to be doing better financially.
“We do things like plant 1,600 flags on Memorial Day," said Maki. “We do a 21 gun salute at seven different cemeteries in Jasper County.”
When asked what the general public can do to help veterans at this organization, Maki had a couple of ideas.
“I think the best thing you can do is actually come to our events,” he said. “Be a participant, come to the steak fry, come to the chili feeds, which we have coming here soon.”
He also added that using the Legion Hall for community events helps fund operations of the veteran group.
“If you have a family reunion, celebration of life any kind of event, a birthday party, retirement party, any kind of event, booking our ballroom is probably the savior of our Legion Hall.”
If you'd like to check out upcoming events at Post 111 click here.