As the largest post in the 5th District, Department of Texas, Love Field Post 453 in Dallas has a rich history of supporting our local community. Our helping hand recently extended about 20 miles south to another Dallas post located on the other side of town.
In late 2015, Post 453 members attended a meeting at Tommie Robinson Post 802. The post, founded in the 1950s, is located in South Dallas in an old house built in the 1930s. During our meeting, the lights suddenly went out. The power failure prompted an inspection of the building’s electrical panel.
What we found and what happened next is a great example of the can-do spirit of the Post 453 Family.
Post 802’s electrical situation could not have been worse. When Patricia “P.T.” Moore, a 453 Auxiliary member and Master Electrician, agreed to inspect the system, she found the main electrical panel to be an outdated Federal Pacific 60 amp split-buss design. These panels have a history of overheating and causing electrical fires. Panels of this design would not pass today's Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certification testing.
“It was only due to he grace of God that Post 802 had not caught fire before now,” Moore said.
On close inspection, the main panel was found to contain several circuit breakers with clearly visible signs of overheating - some breakers were even partially melted. The buss bar, a thick conductor that distributes the incoming power to the breakers, was in poor repair with one of the two 120 volt circuits inoperative and the remaining 120 volt circuit experiencing arcing.
Continuing her inspection, she checked the indoor sub-panel and found it to be an old Federal Pacific six-circuit design that had multiple circuits terminated on individual breakers - an overload condition and a violation of today's electrical code. She estimated that replacing the electrical service would run about $900 in materials alone.
Realizing that a serious problem existed and that Post 802 is a small post with limited financial resources, she reported her findings to the members of Post 453. The Post family quickly voted to donate funds to purchase the materials needed to replace the fire-prone Federal Pacific panels at 802.
Moore and helper Sandra Seaton (another 453 Auxiliary member) agreed to donate their time to make the upgrades. They rolled up their sleeves, removed the old panels and installed a modern 100 amp main electrical panel and a new eight-circuit sub-panel.
And they didn’t stop there. The two installed circuits for donated ceiling fans to help cool the post during hot Texas summers.
All told, the value of their donated labor and the purchased materials was approximately $3,000. Lowe’s and The Home Depot helped, too, by providing a generous military discount on the purchase of materials.
In the end, it was a simple matter of a fellow post needing help. As part of the American Legion Family, Post 453 happily responded with the funds and skills required to protect the lives and property of Tommie Robinson Post 802. It is our sincere hope that we have helped to secure the future of Post 802 and that they may continue serving the needs of the Dallas community and its veterans.