In February 2019, Cumming, Ga., Post 307 was at a crossroads for survival. With 275 paid members, the post found itself with only 5% of its members actively involved and its commander announcing he would be moving to Fort Hood, Texas.
COVID-19 had not yet fully descended upon the world, but it was circling the gates. Intact were the post’s Adjutant, Sr. Vice and Jr. Vice Commanders, Finance Officer, Chaplain, Judge Advocate, SGT at Arms, two Directors and Public Affairs Officer. Sr. Vice Commander Gary Ely stepped up to fill the commander’s slot for the balance of the year, and a new transfer member agreed to cover the Sr. Vice slot.
With those changes in place, the small post restarted its survival efforts by kicking off a BOGO membership promotion with a series of ads in both a local newspaper and on an electronic billboard. That effort was minimally successful. A serious drawback for the post has always been the lack of a facility of its own; one where members can regularly gather and hold fundraising bingo. It now relies on the gracious provision of a local funeral home’s chapel.
A suggestion was proposed that the post restore its 105 mm howitzer to be an event, fundraising and parade tool. Restoration was accomplished for the Italian-built cannon, which had been captured by the U.S. 3rd Army in Iraq in 1991. Its missing 5 mm steel ballistics shields had to be manufactured and welded on, and both the howitzer and its trailer painted by a local firm’s charitable arm. To complete Howie the Howitzer’s transformation, four 24” x 18” double-sided, steel sign frames (for sponsor advertising) were welded to the trailer’s floor.
The post ran its annual High School Oratorical Contest, and with three strong bucket drives to follow, plus its annual community BBQ fundraiser, the post’s project coffers were helped. Even minus an active Auxiliary, the post has since raised enough funds from outside organization donations to send 87 boys and girls over the last three -year period to Boys State/Girls State civics scholarship programs.
Also in 2022, the post commander, after having served two years in that role, moved up in the Legion to district commander. One of its newest members, Kevin Ganns, a Navy Submarine Force veteran, was voted in as the 2022-2023 post commander. The post’s true “crossroads” need at this time, however, is a philanthropic benefactor willing to provide a facility it can call home.