LAKE MILTON, Ohio (WYTV) – The members of American Legion Post 737 in Lake Milton once dedicated themselves to serving their country and now dedicate themselves to serving their community.
The post has a table dedicated to those service men and women missing in action and serves as a reminder of the sacrifices soldiers sometimes have to make for each other. But no one is missing in action at the post when it comes to helping one another.
“We have approximately 975 members that volunteer their time and talent to make these things happen,” said Joseph Leonard, the finance officer for the American Legion Post 737.
The American Legion Riders have raised $38,000 over the past eight years for 155 scholarships given to college-bound students who have lost a parent who died defending the country since Sept. 11, 2001.
“I just decided when I came home that I was going to spend my time helping the community and I always have,” said Merle McLoughlin, who founded Post 737 in 1947.
The post raised $58,000 last year for various organizations, including Easter Seals, the MDA and the USO. The money was raised through Easter parties, fish fries, Christmas parties and other events at the post’s banquet hall.
“If it was not for the members and the volunteers, none of this would be possible,” Leonard said.
One of the post’s biggest events is the annual Toys for Tots campaign in the fall, which is organized by member Jodi Minotti, who is originally from Nashville, Tenn.
“I just like doing it, I like to know that the children that don’t have a Christmas will have one. Being from the south and growing up poor, I know what it is like not to have a gift under that Christmas tree in the morning,” Minotti said.