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American Legion post turning 90

A group of local veterans will celebrate an important milestone on Wednesday, July 7. That date marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of American Legion Douglas Glass Post 6.

The American Legion post was first named after Porter L. Plier, the first man from Chilton County killed in World War I. The name was changed in 1940 to simply “Chilton County Post 6,” in an effort to reflect a more inclusive organization.

“I think it’s because they wanted to make sure it covered all of Chilton County, people who served from all over,” said post member and Korean War veteran Lally Bates of Clanton.

In 1920, there were 20 charter members, all World War I veterans. These were Cecil Armstrong, I.D. Blalock, Grady D. Broadhead, Joseph N. Callaway, E.S. Callen, F.B. Collier, Hosea F. Downs, Victor J. Heard, Arthur Johnson, Oscar W. Jones, A.L. Kemp, Raymond H. Marcus, Thomas M. Parrish, William S. Parrish, Willie M. Parrish, Guy H. Roberts, Frank W. Smith, Walter L. Vinson, William S. Wilson and W.M. Wyatt.

In nearly a century of existence, the post has provided local veterans with a common ground for staying connected and honoring those who have gone before them. It also serves to assist veterans with health problems and help conduct military funerals.

The post has grown to include veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. There are currently 70 members, but there is always room for more.

“It is open to all veterans and active duty personnel,” Bates said.

In 2000, the post was renamed again — this time after the late Douglas Glass, a fellow Korean War veteran who served as post commander for more than 10 consecutive years, from 1985 to 1996 prior to his death in 1996.

The current commander is Jerry Grooms of Clanton, who was just elected to his third term. Grooms was out of town Tuesday and was not available for comment.

The local American Legion did not have its own facility until 1960, when the current building located on Enterprise Road was constructed. Prior to that, the veterans held meetings on the second floor of what is now Messer’s jewelry store. Currently, they hold meetings on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m.

The facility is also used as a polling place and is available for rent at the daily rate of $150.

The American Legion helps more than just veterans. They also contribute to Boys State and Girls State, an annual opportunity for selected high school juniors to enhance their leadership skills. Those who are selected become familiar with the operation of government and meet well-known state, county and city officials.

Bates wished to recognize the efforts of all veterans, both past and present, who have contributed to the organization.

“A lot of people don’t realize we have been in existence that long,” he said.