American Legion Post 199 in Fairhope is asking for donations to help reconstruct its main building after it was severely damaged by Hurricane Sally.
A GoFundMe page was set up with a $2 million goal, although full reconstruction will cost around $5 million. The historic building has become an iconic site on the Eastern Shore and is even a part of the Alabama Scenic River Tour.
Post Commander Retired Marine Gerry Garcia said the post wants to preserve as much of the building as possible.
"Part of the reason we want to save part of the building is to save one of the iconic landmarks in Fairhope," Garcia told 1819 News. "That building was originally put up in 1913 and its original genesis was to be the Mobile Women's Business Club. It was donated to us by a doctor about 60 years ago and it has been an American Legion ever since."
But in 2020, the building was damaged so severely that post members said the interior was beyond repair due to mostly water damage.
Hurricane Sally made landfall in Gulf Shores on September 16 as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 105 mph. While only moving 5 mph, the storm caused flooding across coastal Alabama and western Florida.
The members of Post 199 evaluated the water damage and have since voted to re-construct while trying to save the exterior.
"This decision, along with your help, will preserve an iconic, historical building and allow us to continue providing services to our Veterans, their families, and our community for generations to come," the post stated.
Veterans' services include health care and mental health services. The Legion also advocates for veterans and active duty soldiers and a strong national defense. The protection of patriotism and the United States flag is a big part of what American Legion members fight for. They also assist in local disaster recovery and offer scholarships to youth.
The post has a temporary building to use in the meantime, and Post 199 has grown recently, making it the third-largest in the state.
All donations for the new building are tax-deductible (ID 63-0254163) and can be made online.
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