BUTTE, Mont. – Butte celebrated the grand opening of American Legion Post 1 on Saturday afternoon.
People gathered around the front of the new building, which is located next to the Longfellow baseball fields on Wynee Avenue. The building originally opened in February, but the Legion wanted to wait until the 100th anniversary to show off the new spot.
“I think it turned out beautifully,” said Architect Steve Hinick. “I love the exterior impact it has. It blends with the neighborhood. There are some two-story buildings in the area, and I think it works really good with that. It is a great thing for the post and it is a closing of a nice chapter in my architecture career.”
Butte veterans packed the new post during the grand opening ceremony as they reflected on their service to the country.
“It’s a dream come true. I am glad I served,” said Veteran Jack Whelan as he admired photos from throughout his lifetime.
For others, it’s a way to give back to the community and stay active, even though they never thought it to be possible.
“Coming back I was wondering if I would have to fight on my own soil,” said Vietnam Veteran Mike Lawson. “The night and day difference of coming back and today is very inspiring.”
Just like everything else in Butte, the history for the Legion runs deep. In fact, the post was formed in Butte before it was nationally.
“One hundred years. Over 82 commanders,” said Lawson.
A century of giving back, whether that is baseball, girls/boys state, scholarships or other community service projects.
“So you stood up once,” said Navy Veteran Eileen Greb. “Raised your hand and said you would serve your country. Now we ask them to stand up and serve their community.”