By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
Two veterans groups formerly located in Fultondale have found new homes.
One, the Hawkins B. Carter American Legion Post 255, has been homeless since the April 2011 tornado destroyed the post’s meeting place at the intersection of Decatur Highway and Stouts Road.
Legion members and members of the post’s Ladies’ Auxiliary have been holding meetings at the American Legion post in Tarrant.
On Thursday, the Post 255 broke ground on property it has purchased at the corner of Carson Road and Old Black Creek Road just outside Fultondale city limits.
The new 5,600-square-foot building will be steel with a brick veneer, and will even have a screened porch.
It is scheduled to be completed during the first quarter of 2013, according to Mark L. David with Blalock Building Company, which is building the facility.
“We couldn’t ask for a better community to be in,” said Post 255 Commander Ron Johnson.
The former post building on Decatur Highway has been demolished, and the American Legion has not yet decided what to do with the property.
Another veterans organization that also formerly met in the American Legion has met a different fate.
North Jefferson Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 10250, actually no longer exists, but has consolidated with another local post.
In October, the Fultondale post joined Brookside Post 6173, transferring all members and funds to the Brookside entity.
The main reason for the closing of Post 10250 was a severe decline in participation at meetings, including a lack of interest from members to serve as officers, according to former VFW Post 10250 Commander Steve Marion.
“I truly hate it,” said Marion. “It’s a part of the legacy that the people in Fultondale, especially the veterans, have lost.”
Marion said the only active members of the post — about seven or eight people — were mostly in their 70s and 80s.
“We couldn’t get any younger people to join to regenerate the post,” Marion said. “We needed new blood, new people out there to carry it on. Brookside has younger members.”
Jerry Anger, senior vice president with the Brookside post and Alabama VFW District 3 commander, said 101 members transferred to Brookside.
“We didn’t want them (Post 10250) to lose everything,” Anger said. “At least this way, they can move over to a post where they know people. We know them. We like them. There are no problems with them coming over and participating.”
Anger said the Brookside post is very active, having activities every night of the week.
The Fultondale post is not the only one that closed this year in District 3; the Pleasant Grove Post 218 also closed. District 3 has decreased from 10 posts to six in the past couple of years.
The former VFW Post 10250 owns the Veterans Memorial Park that is located adjacent to the former American Legion property off of Decatur Highway. Marion said he is not sure what will happen to the park.
One popular aspect of Post 10250 was the Honor Guard, which performs at funerals, Veterans Day ceremonies and other events. Marion said the Honor Guard would remain active as much as it can from the Brookside location; its members are mostly World War II veterans who are in their 70s or 80s.
Marion plans to be active at Post 6173 in Brookside, and he said he hopes other former Post 10250 members will do the same.
Anger encourages all military veterans to join the VFW, the American Legion or other veterans organizations.