Legion takes on community service

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American Legion post and auxiliary members on Friday helped changed the definition of family, and extended a helping hand to a Madisonville woman who lost everything in a recent fire.

Delcina Smith, who’s home burned on Aug. 2, got assistance when the Austin Reed Post 84 members and auxiliary members held a barbecue fundraiser to help her recover.

Ken Murphy, post commander, said the legion is primarily and organization that helps veterans, but he wants to extend that to help the community as well.

“A veteran’s family extends out further —beyond just veterans,” Murphy said.

In the past, Murphy said, the American Legion in Madisonville had a bad reputation, but it’s been his mission to change that perception.

“We want to be known for what we do for the community,” he said. “I came from a strong American Legion background, one where we did a lot for the community.”

Since his installation as commander, the post has worked with organizations in town to teach flag etiquette and Americanism, but Murphy said he wanted to do more.

“I went to Donna and J.C. Davis about this, and everybody jumped on board,” he said.

The American Legion purchased the food for the meal, which included brisket, baked potatoes and all the trimmings. J.C. Davis, who is a competitive barbecue enthusiast with Two J’s and a Bimbo, cooked the meat, and most Post members who had an oven baked the potatoes in their ovens at home.

The Legion was able to raise about $1,700 for Smith, and will present her with a check on Thursday.

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