POTTSBORO, Texas (KXII) Gary Winters, post commander at the American Legion MIA Post 231 on Lake Texoma, told us if they don’t get their building open in the next four to five months they could be out of business for good.
The post has been closed since the 2015 floods.
“On the 21st of May water came in the building,” Winters said. “We scrimped and saved and had fundraisers to raise money to keep open but we’re getting almost to the point now where much longer we won’t be able to keep going.”
Winters tells us they have put $254,000 into the new post, which has been raised 12 feet in case of future flooding.
The post is working with the Small Business Administration to get an additional loan of $271,000 to finish the job.
They've had to go through some extra red tape since they don't own the land; they lease it from the Army Corps of Engineers.
“So we had to file additional paperwork and the last paperwork we filed they didn’t receive so we just refiled it,” Winters said.
In the meantime, membership is down.
“Total membership was about 800 people and now we’re in the high 500, low 600s,” Winters said. “So we’ve lost over 200 members because of this.”
“We’ve got people that have been members for 20 years that have stopped paying their dues because they don’t feel a part of the community anymore. We’re at the point where we can’t do any of the community service functions that we’ve always done because we don’t have the funds to do them.”
Navy veteran Jerry Wrenn has worked with local veterans for more than a decade.
“Lake Texoma 231, that’s a beautiful area out there,” Wrenn said. “You’re out on the lake, you can do some fishing. You can take the boat out. So it’s just an escape. It’s just kind of peaceful.”
He told us the VFW down the road has allowed them to use their post in the meantime.
“All the questions are: When are we going to get back? When are we going to get back?” Wrenn said.
Winters said as soon as they get the funding they need they could be open in as little as six to eight weeks.
He said post donations are always gratefully accepted.