Bob Woods, the retired U.S. Army general and current commander of American Legion Post 106, announced Monday that the post will not list its meeting hall for sale as previously planned but will try instead to pay off the mortgage.
"We're going to see if we can pull it off," said the general.
Gen. Woods confirmed that, as reported last week, the post had voted Dec. 13 to sell the place if push came to shove. However, almost immediately: "Word got out like it does," he said. "The next day, my phone lit up with people in Trenton wanting to help."
Overwhelmed by this wellspring of support, he said, post leadership has decided not to list the building, at least for now. "We want to keep it because it's important to us, it's important to the community, but we can't continue to operate like we have been," said Gen. Woods.
Post leaders will hold another meeting on Tuesday to discuss what to do going forward, he said.
Meanwhile, said Gen. Woods, he's already been handed a large anonymous donation--"It's a nice little start to what we're trying to do"--and has followed it up by starting donation accounts at both local banks, Citizens Bank and Trust and Bank of Dade.
Readers who would like to donate toward keeping the Legion hall open may contribute cash or checks at either bank, or send checks to P.O. Box 305, Trenton, Ga. 30752. Make checks payable to American Legion Post 106 Building Support Fund.
Gen. Woods said, however, that the decision to continue weekend bingo games at the hall after Dec. 30 still stands. He said other bingo games have sprung up in the area, siphoning off attendance to the point that the post's Friday and Saturday bingo nights are simply "not beneficial."
But the Monday night gospel and Thursday night bluegrass sessions are another story, though the general isn't making any promises. "We will do our very best to keep them going," he said. "That's our intent, but sometimes you have to do your homework on it and see if it's going to be feasible or not."
That will be an item on tomorrow night's meeting agenda, he said.
So will other ways to generate income, said the general. He stressed that the mortgage is dwarfed by the whopping monthly bills for electricity to keep the place going.
Gen. Woods said his key message--besides a heartfelt thank you to the community for its generosity--was that with or without its building, the post will go on. "The American Legion and the auxiliary as an organization that still supports Dade County and Trenton is still going strong," he said.