American Legion Post 471 hosts community event for Memorial Day

PORTSMOUTH—A local American Legion post is gearing up to host a free community event this Memorial Day to benefit local veterans.

Chartered by Congress in 1919, The American Legion focuses on charitable service to veterans, service members, and their communities. Since then, membership has grown extensively to also include family members of veterans who wish to get involved, with many local chapters in all 50 states and additional US territories.

American Legion Post 471 in Portsmouth is a local nonprofit which works to raise funds to support local veterans as well as other charities. Janis Coriell, an American Legion Rider for the post whose father served in Vietnam, became involved in the Legion about a year ago.

Coriell shared that this upcoming event is one way that Post 471 wants to give back to their community. Though the post frequently hosts charitable events to benefit multiple causes, this is their first effort for an event such as this.

“This is our first time doing this big community event [for Memorial Day]. We are really looking to do things for the community. We are really pushing for community involvement this year. We are taking on a new turn, and we are giving back,” Coriell said.

Post 471 plans to give back in lots of entertaining ways this Memorial Day, and Coriell said that anyone in the community who wishes to come should mark their calendars for May 30.

“For Memorial Day we have joined up with [American Legion] Post 276 in South Shore. We are doing a free community event with free hot dogs, free inflatables for the kids, and free entertainment. The entertainment is provided by a band that used to be local, but now [they’re] pretty big: Travis Reid Ball and The Trouble. They’ll be playing from 1-4 p.m.,” Coriell said. “We are going to do 50/50 tickets, door prizes which will be free, giveaways, some games for children, and more.”

Attendees of the event should also be prepared to ride home in style if they’re lucky enough to win a drawing sponsored by the post. For $10 per raffle ticket, they could win a new set of wheels.

“We have been doing a bike raffle, it’s for a Harley Davidson Sportster—we’ve been selling tickets for the past several months, so we will be drawing for that on that day, at the conclusion of the event.”

If you’ve not been able to purchase your raffle tickets yet, Coriell explained that there is still time.

“We are having a Bike Night this Friday night (May 20), so they can get tickets at that event, they can get tickets at the Post, they can contact a member for tickets, or they can get tickets on the day of the [Memorial Day] event.”

Coriell added that a Michael Kors handbag will also be raffled off, with tickets $5 apiece, or 5 tickets for $20. American Legion Post 471 is proud to bring free entertainment for the community, and prize drawings like this help to keep their efforts moving.

“That’s how we are making money to do things for the community, and how we are able to pay for free entertainment and things like that,” Coriell explained.

Though Memorial Day is a time of year for many to remember the service of our military service members and veterans, Coriell wants her community to know that American Legion Post 471 works all year round to serve their community. One of her favorite events, called Sweats for Vets, holds special importance to Coriell.

“We have a big event every year around November where we start collecting sweatsuits for veterans. We bring them to area nursing homes to make sure that they have a Christmas gift. That was the most touching thing that I’ve ever done as a member of our post,” Coriell said. “One of the men that I delivered to was so excited that he got a gift, he said ‘this is for me?’ He was just so surprised.”

To anyone who wishes to become involved in the post’s community efforts, Coriell shared that the Memorial Day event presents a perfect opportunity.

“We are also going to have pamphlets and fliers about becoming a Legion member if anyone is interested in that at that time. To be a member, your dad, mom, [husband, wife,] or grandparent needs to have served in the military. You’d need to bring in a copy of their DD214, and then with that copy, you can bring it to the organization and join,” she said.

The Memorial Day community event takes place on Monday, May 30, at American Legion Post 276 in South Shore, KY. Follow American Legion Post 471 on Facebook for their calendar of community events by searching: American Legion Riders, Russell D. Williams Post 471.

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By Kasie McCreary

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Reach Kasie McCreary at (740)353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]

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