WILMINGTON — When Wilmington Veterans Post 49 received its temporary charter in 1919 and its permanent charter in 1923, its members selflessly began serving the local veterans and the community.
Through the years, the volunteers who make up the Post 49 Memorial Squad have performed military honors for countless deceased veterans, presented the national colors at almost as many football games and other community events, and marched in more parades than Macy has sponsored.
In addition to honoring the area’s deceased veterans, the Post 49 Memorial Squad has been a mainstay of many community events. In the first 42 weeks of 2016, the Post 49 Memorial Squad has performed military honors at 34 funerals and participated in 22 non-funeral events or programs.
Post 49’s members have been joined by members of the Ladies Auxiliary Unit 49 and the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 49 in order to ensure there are always enough personnel available to meet the community’s requests and serve the families of the area’s deceased veterans. This group of dedicated volunteers travels anywhere in the county they are needed in a bus owned and maintained by the Post, solely for the use of the Memorial Squad.
Anyone who has seen the Memorial Squad’s current bus knows how “tired” it looks, but that’s not its only problem. Back on the farm one might say, “It’s held together with duct tape and bailing wire.”
Sometime ago the Wilmington Church of Christ generously donated their old bus to the Post; however, after a thorough inspection, it was determined that it would cost more to bring it up to standard than it would be worth when completed. Therefore, a committee was formed and, after researching all available options, it recommended the purchase of a new bus. It was determined the best fit for the Post 49 Squad, was the 14 passenger (non-CDL) AeroTech by Eldorado National Motor Coach and could be purchased at a cost $60,000. The bus may be built on either a Chevy or Ford chassis (no preference at this time).
The Memorial Squad Bus Committee received unanimous support from the membership present at the Oct. 25 regular meeting to begin a multifaceted campaign to raise $52,500 that will be added to the $7,500 donation received this summer from the Altria Corporation to repair the donated bus. The membership also approved opening a separate account at Peoples Bank with the Altria donation and to deposit all the donations in that account.
The veterans and other American Legion Family organizations will be working hard to raise money through raffles, events, and other fundraising activities. But in order to meet this hefty goal, they will need the support of the residents and businesses in the community.
There is no doubt that the Memorial Squad must have a bus to sustain the valuable services they provide for the area veterans’ families and area organizations. A new bus will allow the Post 49 Memorial Squad to be a viable asset to Clinton County for many years to come, but these resolute veterans and other volunteers can not do it by themselves, so they are asking for the county’s financial support.
Tax-deductible contributions may be made to the “Bus Campaign” and mailed to: Wilmington Veterans Post 49, 140 E. Locust St., Wilmington OH 45177, Attn: Bus Committee, or dropped off at the Post home.