American Legion in Medina thanks supporters for help with many projects in 2020

Photos by Ginny Kropf: From left, Steve Johnson, vice commander of the Butts-Clark American Legion Post, Peter Huth, adjutant, and Glenn Whitmore, commander, stand next to the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial at the Legion Post, where two artillery shells were recently donated and added to the landscaping. The shells were refurbished with the help of several local organizations.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 7 January 2021 at 9:03 am

MEDINA – 2020 may have been a challenging year, but it was, nevertheless, one in which the Butts-Clark American Legion Post received extraordinary support from the community to accomplish several goals.

Commander Glenn Whitmore and vice commander Steve Johnson have joined to say thank you to the businesses and individuals who helped the Legion in any way last year.

Steve Johnson holds a picture of the Butts-Clark American Legion Post building when it was a stone structure in 1914, where William Gallagher rented wagons and carriages.

When Medina Mayor Mike Sidari was given two artillery shells by the Leo Dolan American Legion Post in Lockport, he asked members of the American Legion in Medina if they could do anything with them.

Medina members decided they could and set forth in what would become a true community project.

First, Phinney Tool and Die (Whistler) fixed the caps on the end of the projectiles. Ed Wojtkowski of Gasport Welding and Fabrication made bases for them out of stainless steel.

The late Joe Perry, superintendent of the Medina Department of Public Works and a member of the American Legion, agreed to mount them.

Lyons Collision painted them. Landscaping was done by Dave Walker, a Vietnam veteran.

All this was done free of charge or at reduced prices, said Steve Johnson, vice commander of the Medina post.

The shells are now part of the permanent Vietnam memorial at the north end of the Legion building.

Next on the Legion’s agenda in 2020 was painting of their building.

“We were given tremendous price breaks in our endeavor,” Johnson said.

Bids went out for painters, and Craig Royal got the job, with Scott Grimm and Jeff Gay, who scraped and patched the exterior. Because it was for veterans, Royal agreed to do the work for the cost of the materials.

“We got two coats of paint for the price of the materials,” Johnson said.

Steve Johnson, vice commander of the Butts-Clark American Legion Post, commander Glenn Whitmore (standing) and Peter Huth discuss the many organizations and individuals who donated time, labor and services to the Legion in 2020.

The post had not been painted since Garrick Insurance was located there. The American Legion has been there 30 years, Johnson said.

The building has been there since before 1914. A picture on the wall in the Legion shows the building in 1914, when it was sandstone and occupied by William Gallagher, who rented wagons and carriages.

At some time in history, concrete was applied over the sandstone, and before painting could begin last year, Glen Giltner gave them a price break on repairing the concrete.

Finally, John Doyle agreed to seal the blacktop parking lot at cost.

They also received special considerations from Cusimano’s Pizza.

In addition, the late Joe Perry contacted National Grid and got them to remove a tree which was leaning on the building. After that, the village removed the stump and brush.

The side entrance was sided by Lakeview Sheds, who did a tremendous job, Johnson said. The Mennonites also gave them a break on the labor.

When they replaced the heating and air conditioning recently, they got special consideration from Todd Houseman Heating and Air Conditioning in Oakfield.

“If we’ve missed thanking anybody, I apologize,” Johnson said. “We couldn’t have done this without the support of all these people in the community.”

Johnson said before any of the work could be done they had to get approval from the village for improvements to the exterior, due to the historic designation of Main Street.

One big, very important step remains, Johnson said. And that is to obtain permission from the village to have a 26-foot long furled American flag painted on the south end of the building. It will be a commanding sight to those driving down Main Street, the veterans said.

The Butts-Clark American Legion Post has 170 members, but only about 10 are really active.

The post hasn’t been able to be open during most of last year, due to Covid-19 restrictions and concerns and post meetings were canceled for five months.

They still have 15 or so turn up on Tuesday mornings for coffee and donuts, while practicing social distancing.

Every Tuesday, when there is a funeral at the National Veterans’ Cemetery in Pembroke, the Orleans County Honor Guard, which includes members from the Medina Legion and VFW posts, participates by providing a 21-gun salute. Jim Freas is in charge of organizing that.

The Legion and VFW are always looking for new members and any veteran is encouraged to contact either or both organizations about joining.