When you’re the only one left of your kind in the region, you have a lot of work to do.
“There is only one active American Legion Post left in Hamilton County and it resides here in Indian Lake,” remarks Ken Cannan, Post 1392 Commander.
On the Post’s rolls are approximately 90 members. Nearly 20 of those reside outside the area and only around a dozen are consistently active members, supported by auxiliary and non-member volunteers, who are left to accomplish solid service for the community at large.
Cannan makes the point that this has got to change if the Post is to continue to hold its charter and, more importantly, continue to serve the community as it has over the years.
He is looking to see more of his current membership become more active and reaches out to younger community members to join the Post and help with its service to the community.
The Post’s only real fundraising activity goes unnoticed for the most part. The “Bottle Brigade,” collects plastic and glass deposit bottles at the transfer station and results in an annual revenue stream of about $11,000.
Most of the $35 dues collected from each member go beyond the Post. In fact, $31.75 goes to support American Legion programs and activities at the State and Federal levels. There are some additional outside funds from the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts which is used to fund the Post’s Annual Summer Musical Event in Byron Park and the Post gets support from Stewart’s Shops.
The Post, which was founded in 1946, performs a litany of services for the community that many are not aware of unless they are personally in receipt of them. Their more expected services such as presiding over funerals of veterans, placing wreaths and flags while saluting veterans at each of four memorials in Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake on Memorial Day, participating in Flag Day tributes where the Post provides ice cream for the grade school children and others present at the tributes.
The Post also awards a scholarship to a Central School senior with the highest scholastic standing. In addition, the Post adds to or matches Stewart’s Holiday donation in support of various local youth organizations such as Girl Scouts, Boys’ Cub Scouts, Little League and Junior Hockey.
What’s more, in a recent communication to members, Cannan asks them to realize that the Post is responsible for the sponsorship for the New York State “Boy State Program,” allowing two male students to participate and learn how government works. He goes on to point out that the Legion Hall has always been made available without charge to those who need a place for meetings and family gatherings for funerals or social events. It is also where the Post hosts “breakfast of appreciation,” to thank members of the Indian Lake Town Board and for members of community work crews for their service to the community.
The Hall has even been loaned to people who are visiting our community on vacation.Cannan makes the point that the Hall is in the community because of the Post. He presses that the loss of the Post and the Hall would leave a gapping whole in the community.
For example, this same Hall houses a Legion-run clearing house for medical equipment and supplies such as wheel chairs, walkers, canes, commodes, crutches and even hospital beds that are donated by and, in turn, loaned to members of the community at large that find themselves in need of such equipment. Quite often, these medical needs are beyond the budget or the insurance coverage of those in need of their use.
Bruce Lewis was a recipient of a walker.
“Without it, I would have had a much more difficult time recuperating from a recent surgery.” he said.
Brenda Valentine made the point that one can find most things that are needed to recuperate.
“Word about the program of loaning medical equipment has been spread,” said Nina Dickinson, Pastor of the Indian Lake United Methodist Church and Executive Director of Indian Lake Helping Hands. “But it seems that people don’t really hear until they are in need.”
Dickinson went on to make the point that it was the loan of a walker that touched her own life allowing a relative to attend a family Christmas.
“We were able to have a family Christmas because of the walker,” she said.
Dickinson also points out that she has use of the Hall for functions with her congregation and the fact that it is handicap accessible is a real plus.
”We ask members and veterans to step up, don’t let all the years of work done by Post 1392 go for naught,” Cannan said. “We ask present members to come to a meeting at least a few times during the year. We ask veterans who are not Legionnaires to join the Post, we welcome you.”
Meetings are every first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Legion Hall on Main Street in Indian Lake. The Post sponsors membership for those on active duty and even if someone is not a veteran, they can join the ranks of the four area non-military residents who are active Post volunteers.