Ticket sales for Friday’s chicken plate fundraiser at the American Legion hut in Henderson have been brisk – so brisk, in fact, that Andy Roberson, commander of local post 60 said if you haven’t gotten a ticket yet, you’ll have to rely on luck to snag a plate.
“We’ve actually sold 1,150 tickets,” Roberson told John C. Rose on Monday’s Town Talk. “That’s the most we’ve ever done.” They shoot for 1,200 plates each time, he said. The fundraiser begins at noon and ends at 2 p.m.
There are usually some no-shows, however, and the cooks always prepare 50 or so extra plates, so if you’re feeling lucky, there’s a chance you can get a plate closer to 1:30 or 2 p.m. without a ticket.
Roberson said the legion post tries to hold the fundraiser twice a year – April and October – and tries hard to avoid other community fundraiser dates.
Next year, the local post will celebrate 100 years of service in the community, Roberson noted. But it wasn’t too long ago that the post was in danger of having its charter revoked for lack of membership and activity.
Roberson has been involved with Legion Post 60 for about five years. Numbers had dwindled as members aged, he said, and he credits Ed Blue for keeping the post afloat. Blue’s efforts, along with a policy change that removed active military service as a requirement for membership.
The ranks have swelled to 125 members today, Roberson said, adding that service members who served in Afghanistan and Iraq now join veterans who saw action in Vietnam and Korea.
Roberson said it’s just as important for the legion to support the community as it is for the community to support the legion’s efforts.
In addition to raising money to send students to participate in Boys’ State and the N.C. State Highway Patrol Student Academy, Roberson said annual countywide oratorical contests the Legion sponsors could lead to thousands of dollars in scholarship money for local winners who win competitions at higher levels.
In addition, he said a local Girl Scout troop meets at the Legion building.
But mostly, the legion is active to support veterans’ needs, he said. Whether it’s building a home ramp or better accessibility or arranging transportation to the VA hospital for appointments, the legion wants to be available for veterans.
They meet on the third Thursday of the month, gathering at 6 p.m., sharing a meal and then having a meeting about 7, he said, and extends the invitation to any service member to consider joining.
“If you have a DD-214 with an honorable discharge,” you’re eligible to join.
“We all have something in common in that building,” Roberson said.
“If you’re a veteran and you need some help, you call and we’re going to do everything we can to help you,” he said, from help with military service records or getting paperwork squared away to get VA services. “Whatever it takes, we will try our best to get it done.”
Roberson hopes to join Mako Medical and Chick-fil-A again this year to provide meals for veterans. The tentative date is Nov. 5 when veterans can “drive by and get a bag with some food in it,” Roberson said.
Having such good community partners makes for a good relationship, he added. Other projects in and around the legion have been completed by others in the community, Roberson said. There’s a firepit with five benches representing the five branches of the military that was a scout project, and Franklin Brothers Nursery installed mulch and other landscaping during a recent facelift. The family of Harold Ivey donated a new heating and air system in memory of their loved one as well, he said.
“It just shows what you can do in a community where people want to be tied in to veterans,” Roberson said.
Contact Roberson at 252.432.2432 to learn more.