On December 27, 2017 at approximately 2:00am, a fire broke out at the American Legion in Waynesboro. It happened on one of the coldest days. The Record Herald newspaper reported that the temperatures of around 10 degrees challenged firefighters to keep water flowing through hoses. Some of the hoses that weren’t being used had frozen quickly. The flames gutted the veterans’ lodge and vibrant Waynesboro social club which was over 100 years old with nearly 2,500 members. We enjoyed so many events such as holiday parties, class reunions, weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays; not to mention all of the ceremonies honoring our veterans.
We salute the sixteen firefighter departments who battled the blaze and prevented the spread of the fire to other buildings in downtown Waynesboro. As a thank you for their brave service, some Auxiliary members gathered together on a Saturday in January to put together thank you baskets for each fire department. They were filled with chips, pretzels, popcorn, hot chocolate mix, candies, Chex mix, etc. As we delivered the baskets to each and every fire department, we explained how grateful we were to have them in the community.
Unfortunately, Post 15 lost everything in the fire with the exception of some of the military artifacts that were stored in the building’s basement. Thousands of dollars’ worth of paintings and veteran memorabilia located throughout the club were either touched by fire or damaged by excessive water. The main ballroom, entire kitchen, the canteen, the conference room, and offices for the Post, Home Association, Sons of the American Legion, and the Auxiliary were completely damaged. It is unclear at this time if Post 15 will rebuild at the same address, but they would like to remain in the Borough of Waynesboro.
Post 15 is temporarily located at an office building that was offered to them by a local realtor, who is also a Legion member. Good news is that Post 15 is still moving forward with membership and scheduling events. The Auxiliary is currently planning an Easter party for the members’ children in March. We are working on a fundraiser consisting of pro bono bands and a silent auction. All proceeds will go to rebuild Post 15. Our motto is ‘Post 15 Strong!’ We will come back, stronger than ever!