KNOXVILLE (WATE) – It’s the season of giving, and our local American Legion Post 2 is in need of some help as the building they’ve used for decades is literally falling apart around them.
The site, on Ruggles Ferry Pike off Asheville Highway in Knoxville, was built in the 1930s and is desperately in need of repair, but donations haven’t been coming in as hoped and there are only three days left of the Red Basket fundraiser.
An American flag hangs in front of the American Legion Post 2. From outside the building doesn’t look too bad, but inside, the 70-year-old site shows its age.
“Unfortunately it’s not a pretty sight to walk into. The ones who come in are the ones who come here all the time because they know we’re here and we have a meeting and they do understand that we need to renovate the building,” said American Legion Post 2 Commander Michael Testerman.
From holes in the ceiling of the men’s bathroom, to broken ovens and stoves, the building needs a lot of work. On top of that, it’s running without central heat and air.
The post is the second oldest in the state, serving the community since 1919. The building they’re in is nearly as old, it was built in the 1930s. Still, the building is a source of pride for more than 750 local veterans. They hope, with the community’s help, they can rebuild the rundown building.
“We’re here as a service organization for the community and we want to be a bigger part of the community. That’s why, we hope, with a new building we can do a lot more with that,” said Testerman.
Over the past year, the American Legion has been raising funds for the brand new community center. Right now they’re just over $22,000, but the goal is $375,000 to build a brand new building.
“These veterans, for over 100 years, have been instrumental in many programs throughout the community to support other veterans and the community at large,” said Woodmen of the World Community Outreach Manager Rochelle Cordova.
To help out, legion members started an online Red Basket fundraiser. They hopes to raise $100,000, but have fallen short. Over the course of three months, only $2,000 has been given. Still, our local veterans aren’t giving up hope.
“This is our chance to give back to our veterans who have given so much to our country and to our community,” said Cordova.
Members of the American Legion Post 2 are hoping to have the groundbreaking for the new building this summer, but that all depends on funds.
If you make a donation to Red Basket, Woodman of the World will match every dollar given. For more information, visit the Red Basket fundraiser website. Donations can be given through Sunday, Dec. 14.
More online: American Legion Post 2 Red Basket Fundraiser