On Sunday, the American Legion North Cobb Post 304 will have a drawing for a Browning shotgun, three Remington shotguns and two gift cards to raise money for a meeting spot for the group’s 330 members.
The nonprofit Legion post relies on annual membership dues, individual and corporate donations and various fundraisers to support the post’s community outreach programs that primarily serve veterans and their families and the youth of Acworth and Kennesaw.
In September 2012, Post 304 member Hervey Ross purchased a defunct restaurant off South Main Street in Acworth, then donated the building and property to North Cobb Post 304.
“We have been looking for a post home since 1991,” said Cmdr. Ron Asby, who has been with the local American Legion for the last nine years.
The North Cobb Post 304 members hope the money raised at Sunday’s raffle will fund renovation projects for the rundown space.
The group has hired an architect to design the needed improvements. The estimated cost is $350,000, including $264,000 for the inside, Asby said.
One half of the updated 7,000-square-foot building will be a meeting hall, Asby said. The other half will be a bar and grill to serve as a social quarters.
The outside will be repainted, repaired and the 1 acre of land will be landscaped, Asby said.
Changes to the roll call
To be a member of the American Legion, a veteran must have served at least one day of active duty during a congressionally defined war period, Asby said.
The organization has typically been male dominated, but Asby said Post 304 has about six or eight female members.
“We are attracting more and more female veterans,” Asby said about the new recruits, who are especially focused on helping children and families of active duty soldiers.
“They certainly have a different perspective on what the post should be doing,” Asby said. “They are very tuned in to the needs of a family.”
In generations past, military legions across America have been filled with mostly World War II and Korean War veterans. Asby said North Cobb Post 304 has about 23 World War II veterans.
“Some of them are actively involved and some are not due to health reasons,” Asby said.
Now there are other groups of veterans looking for the commodore spirit, including the newest members from Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade.
Originally from Kansas City, Asby has lived in the Kennesaw area for 31 years with his wife.
The couple has four children, including their son, Benjamin, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan and is a member of the North Cobb Post 304.
Asby, who served in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam from 1967 to 1973, said in the last 10 years, Vietnam veterans are opening up about their service and becoming involved with veterans groups.
Although some veterans from the controversial war are bitter, “no matter what we did or what they said about us,” Asby said being in the American Legion is a chance to give back to the community, with a specific focus on reaching out to homeless veterans.
Asby said the renovated building for the North Cobb Post 304 will provide a space for Vietnam veterans to gather together and talk about their experiences.
Kennesaw’s big festival
The American Legion North Cobb Post 304 will staff an informational and membership recruiting booth at the Big Shanty Festival in downtown Kennesaw.
Tickets for the sporting guns raffle are on sale now and will be available at the festival. A federal background check will be required of the winners before delivery of the prizes.
The Kennesaw Business Association and the City of Kennesaw are the hosts for the 38th annual Big Shanty Festival, with 250 arts and crafts booths, 25 food vendors, an interactive kids’ zone and two entertainment stages showcasing Kennesaw’s most talented residents and many area school groups.
The festival will also offer a Civil War encampment, the Wildlife Wendy Tropical Bird Show, a catch-and-release trout fishing pond and a master carver who will transform a 4-foot log into a work of art, using only chainsaws, in less than an hour.
The festival has grown through the years to become one of the largest arts and crafts shows in north Georgia, with more than 60,000 people expected to attend this year.
A parade will kick off the festivities at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, featuring floats and young marchers representing every sports association in the area, plus pageant winners and high school bands.
IF YOU GO ...
• WHAT: 38th Annual Superior Plumbing Big Shanty Festival in downtown Kennesaw
• WHEN: Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
• PARADE: A parade will kick off the festival at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday starting at Adams Park and continuing down Main Street
• COST: Admission is free
Drawings by the American Legion North Cobb Post 304
First Prize: Browning Silver 12 gauge
Second Prize: Remington Model 870 Express Combo, 12 and 20 gauge barrels
Third Prize: Remington Model 270 “Camo” with 3.9x40mm Scope
Fourth Prize: Remington Model 770 Sportsman with 3.9x40mm Scope
Fifth Prize: $100 Gift Card
Sixth Prize: $50 Gift Card
Tickets are $10 each or three for $20