Lt. Gov. Rutherford visit Caroline American Legion Post 193
DENTON — Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary George Owings on Tuesday, July 17, visited Mannie Scott American Legion Post 193 to discuss how the state can help members fund muchneeded repairs to the building.
“This is the kickoff to renovating our home here,” said Tarence Bailey, second vice commander of the post.
Situated on four acres near state Route 404, between Denton and Hillsboro, the post is historically significant, being the only AfricanAmerican post in the county, Bailey said.
Members hope a usable building will bring in income, from event rentals, and more members, as the post’s ranks have dwindled over the years from more than 100 members to its current roster of 35.
“We still hold our monthly meetings here,” Bailey said. “But we don’t let anyone else brave the building. Just us.”
Members led Rutherford on a tour of the building, which began life as a feed mill in Marydel before it was moved to its current site in 1946, the same year Post 193 was chartered.
Inside, a handful of vinyl booths and a bar line the walls, surrounding a checkered linoleum floor. A stage sits on one end, the bathrooms and kitchens on the other. Several plaques and flags, awarded to the post for growing membership, adorn the walls, though the most recent is from 2005.
Members said the building needs to be expanded and its bathrooms and kitchen updated. It needs a complete new roof. Mold has to be removed.
Rene Swafford, the post’s judge advocate, said though the building has to be “taken down to its shell,” she hopes the bar will be saved and reinstalled in the renovation.
“Our members built it,” Swafford said.
Bailey said the post has an estimate on the cost, but he worries it is low.
Rutherford said there might be grants available to help pay for the renovation, but unfortunately, the current fiscal year just began July 1, meaning those grants will not be awarded again until next year.
Another option would be a bond bill, Owings said, but those require matching funds.
Bailey said the post is kicking off a fundraising drive, which could possibly bring in those needed matching funds.
He said the post is also increasing its membership recruitment efforts, reaching out to younger veterans returning to the county. He said 10 new members are set to join the post in August.
Owings said veterans’ organizations like American Legion and VFW posts around the country are facing the same membership problems.
“Members are dying off, and the younger generation is just not joining,” he said.
The aim is to have the building open and available for rent by the spring, Bailey said.
Rental fees and membership dues will support the post’s mission of giving back to the community, Bailey said.
“We’re supposed to help the community, but right now we can’t even help ourselves,” he said.
Bailey also is a great-greatgreat-great-great-grandson of Perry Bailey, Frederick Douglass’s older brother.
The Bailey-Douglass family has held a family reunion at the post every year since 1983, said Roger Groce, the family’s elder. But the last two years, the event has had to be held on the lawn surrounding the building, rather than in the building.
“This is a nice spot,” Groce said. “I’d like to see it returned to what it was.”
Left to right, Lt. Gov. Rutherford Boyd, Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary George Owings, Department of Veterans Affairs Area Supervisor Janet Thomas, Charlotte Hall Veterans Home Director Sharon Murphy and Mannie Scott American Legion...