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Post 89 Club Now a Model

It has been two and one-half years since we suggested in print that members of American Legion Post 89 in Wheeling deserved a second chance. “Veterans who served our country have earned it,” we wrote in February 2017.

For a time, the odds seemed to be against the Legionnaires. Wheeling City Council members had heard a recommendation that the post’s private club in East Wheeling be declared a public nuisance. That step was seen as part of a move to have the bar closed.

Indeed, as Post 89 leaders conceded, their club had been patronized by too many troublemakers. But they asked that city council give them time to correct “major problems.” “We are going to eliminate them,” pledged Ralph Edwards, then the post’s commander.

They did just that. “There has not been a police call here in two and a half years,” current Post Commander Demetrius Lathon told our reporter for a story published during the weekend.

“We’re not the neighborhood bar,” Lathon added. Instead, the post has changed both the club’s physical appearance and its policies. “There is unity, good camaraderie here,” noted former commander Greg Ford.

In fact, post members hosted a back-to-school event for families earlier this month.

Post 89’s private club has gone from what some East Wheeling residents considered a threat to an integral part of the community. And, thanks to an American Legion rules change, the local post is likely to grow.

Members of Post 89 have engineered a dramatic turnaround. In the process, they have become a model for other establishments, both private and fraternal, with problems similar to those the Legionnaires faced in early 2017. So impressive has been the change that it is tempting to suggest Post 89 should go into business providing consultant services to other private club operators.

Good for the veterans who made it happen! Their achievement was the result of the kind of determination and community spirit that would be a credit to any town or city in the United States.

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