There will be no more bingo at American Legion Jamerson Sheffield Post 91. The post, which is located on US 129 between Trenton and Bell, was closed on Monday, Nov. 17 by order of 4th District Commander Chuck Ferguson.
All of the officers at Post 91 resigned on Sunday, Nov. 16. Florida Department Commander Jay Conti, Past Dept. Commander Larry White and 2nd Vice Commander Kenny Deschamps were there to take over the post’s affairs.
Post 91 has not lost it’s charter and will hopefully reorganize and reopen in the future.
The Florida Department of the American Legion is expected to send out letters to all Post 91 members to explain the situation.
Bill Fossett, who was the commander of the post prior to giving his resignation, stated that the unbecoming conduct of several members forced Post 91 into closing. All activities at the post, including bingo, Cub Scout and Boy Scout meetings, parties, Breakfast with Santa, and an upcoming arts and crafts show have been cancelled.
“The American Legion and other local veterans organizations were formed for veterans to gather to support one another and the communities in which we call home. We support our comrades and take care of each other as if we were family, because we are. Additionally, we reach out to the needs of our community with love and compassion and we hope to instill a sense of pride and patriotism in the hearts of our youth. Our service to our nation is never ending as we continue to serve on the home front in our local community,” said local veteran Bryan Chrisp. “Our veterans organizations are not just a place for old vets to go tell war stories around a couple of beers. In fact, most of these organizations in our surrounding communities do not have a bar. The facility is simply a place for all to gather to meet and discuss the activities of the organization and their outreach to the community. Not all veterans are able to actively participate in these organizations for numerous reasons. Many of us are working full-time jobs and raising our families and cannot dedicate a great amount of time but we maintain membership and do what we can, when we can.”
In recent years there has been a great decline in membership within these organizations. Older and more active veterans are reaching a point where they need to slow down and rest.
“We owe each of them a great deal of gratitude for their service to our country and our communities and many are in need of more support from us younger veterans. It is imperative that we keep these organizations going strong and increase involvement in our communities but this is becoming more and more challenging due to the number of veterans who are willing to step up and fulfill these needs. We need not slumber brothers and sisters, our service never ends and we need your assistance. We’re not asking for your money and we’re not asking for every available moment of your time. We just ask that you provide what you can, when you can,” Chrisp said. “I submit this not only with intent to encourage new membership in our local veterans organizations, but to stress a great disappointment which comes largely from a lack of membership and participation. Although all of our local veterans organizations can benefit from a larger membership roster as we strive to meet the needs of our community and fellow veterans, I’m greatly disappointed in the present status of our local American Legion Post 91 of Trenton. Without involvement of post members, a decision was made to close the post. As a result, the doors are now secured and all future meetings have been canceled.”
Chrisp continued saying, “Fellow veterans and citizens, we need to come together and resolve this problem. I encourage all who are concerned about the closing of our American Legion Post to submit a letter to our local veterans service officer located in Trenton. I further encourage all qualified veterans to attend and inquire about new membership in other available veterans organizations such as American Legion Posts outside our county, Tri-County Marine Corps League, Veterans of Foreign Wars and AMVETS to see how you can help make a difference and keep these organizations alive! Fellow veterans, our community is counting on us, our fellow veterans are counting on us, our future veterans are counting on us and one day we will be counting on them.”
Anyone interested in stepping up to see that American Legion Post 91 is reorganized and reopened is asked to call Florida Department Adjutant Michael McDaniels at 800-393-3378.
By Carrie A. Mizell