November 12, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 266

Hurley American Legion says goodbye to Memorial Building

To the Editor:

It is with a saddened heart that the Hurley America Legion must bid farewell to our home since 1928. Although the Legion has had a long history with the facilities, poor economic times, declining membership and recent poor turnout of bowling leagues have dealt the final blows to our institutional face.

We will still be active, just without a permanent home. I hope the Iron County Memorial Building Renovation Committee has much better luck than did we.

So many weddings, anniversaries, graduations, birthdays, a multitude of social gatherings, fundraisers and exhibitions have been held here. Even some first dates — my wife, Patti, and I had our first date at the Legion bowling lanes some 42 odd years ago.

How many of you have spent time either upstairs at a social function or downstairs having a good time on the lanes and canteen? I can honestly say that it breaks my heart to see my post lose its home.

Times are tough all over. There has been a great loss in our membership roles, particularly within the past 20 years. With that loss, revenue changes. Fewer members means less money coming back to the post from Wisconsin and the national levels.

The demographics in the area are changing to an older, less boisterous populace, which equates to fewer bowlers and patrons at the canteen. Those that do imbibe in potent potables do so in a much more cautious manner, or not at all. To try to entice more people to utilize this icon of good times and fellowship, much money was spent and improvements have been made of late.

To all of you who have helped Post 58 be a part of our community, Semper Fi. I salute you. You kept the spirit of the American Legion strong. To those bowling leagues of late whose pettiness and politics led to the final nail in the coffin, I hope this letter stings you to your core.

One final note: Bob Traczyk did more as usual to keep this post alive than most. He is to be commended for his continued outstanding devotion to the post. Louis Valle, Dan Stephani, Paul Mullard, Joe Walesewicz, Bucky Laguna and so many more gave their all to keep the post facilities going, along with many loyal employees, patrons and leagues through the years (not to mention the Iron County Board of Supervisors).

Brian M. Dary Sr.

Post 58 commander

Hurley