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Patriotic hangout

Madison’s American Legion
serves community in many ways

Legion offers more
than just food, drink to veterans

By Amy Casebier
Contributing Writer

(June 2008) – The American Legion Post 9 in Madison, Ind., may be well known in the area as a place to eat drink and be merry, but the legion also serves veterans and the community.

Geno Schneider

Photo by Amy Casebier

Cmdr. Geno Schneider
will soon enter his
second year at the helm
of the American Legion
Post 9 club in Madison.

The legion, a not-for-profit organization whose club is located at 707 Jefferson St., sponsors many events, including the July 4 fireworks display during the Madison Regatta Festival. The legion also participates in various services and donates to numerous charities around the area. The legion holds itself responsible for funerals for veterans, including providing uniforms, bus transportation and services at the funeral.
Memorial Day is a big event for the legion. It conducted a 10 a.m. service in Bedford, Ky., and a 1 p.m. service at the Indiana Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Madison. Geno Schneider, the commander of the legion, recently put a flag on every veteran’s grave in Jefferson County, Ind., to help commemorate Memorial Day.
Schneider has been commander for one year and is running unopposed in the legion’s upcoming election to serve as commander for another year.
“It puts a lot of pressure on me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said.
Commanders serve on the executive board and manage and organize all donations, including scholarships that the legion provides to seniors in area high schools.
Several of the charities that the legion donates to include the American Red Cross, the United Way, the Salvation Army and the Lide White Memorial Boys and Girls Club.
The legion also collects donations to help local families in need, such as families who lose their homes and possessions in fires or families with a dire medical crisis.
Scott Croford has been the bar manager at the legion for more than a year.
“There’s always common ground there,” he said of the legion’s atmosphere. Croford added that veterans of many different ages could talk about places they had all visited during their service – just decades apart.
Croford, who was a U.S. Marine, said that one of the most interesting parts about being at the legion was knowing people with connections to prominent military figures. One of Croford’s acquaintances was commissioned on the battlefield by Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller, a famous figure in the Marine Corps who “fought just about every major battle there was,” in his nearly 40 years of service, Croford said.
The American Legion began in 1919 after Congress chartered it. There are around 15,000 posts across the nation that serve nearly 3 million members, according to the American Legion website. The American Legion Post 9 in Madison is one of the largest posts in the state. To be a member of the legion or the auxiliary, one must have either have been in the armed forces or have a family member in the armed forces.
In addition to being a service organization and hangout for veterans and their families, the legion also has a motorcycling club called the Legion Riders that boasts around 85 members.
The restaurant and bar at the legion is open to the public 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays until 8 p.m.

• Contact the American Legion Post 9 at (812) 265-4417. For more information on the American Legion nationwide, visit: www.legion.org.

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