American Legion Post 5 Shut Down by Legion Officials

By Steve Gravelle, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Hanford American Legion Post 5 in Cedar Rapids has been shut down by state Legion officials.

"There were some ongoing problems and concerns we have had with the post, and it was the feeling of the executive committee that our best course of action would be to close the post," John Derner, the Legion's Iowa department deputy adjutant, said.

Derner said the Legion's executive committee for Iowa voted June 25 to revoke the Cedar Rapids post's charter.

The telephone at the Post at 4719 J St. SW is disconnected, and efforts to contact post commander Roger Fox have not been successful.

In late May, Fox appealed to local vets to continue supporting the post.

"We're really in a financial bind right now," Fox said then. He blamed rumors spread by a disgruntled player in the post's bingo games.

Charles Allen, 85, a Cedar Rapids Korean War vet, said it took two months to receive a new membership card after mailing a check to renew his 40-year membership last fall. He said he later received letters from the state and national Legion organizations that his membership had lapsed.

Allen said he hadn't heard of the revocation, but "I'd expected that." Now, he said, "I'll have to get ahold of the VFW, or maybe join the Legion in Marion."

Derner confirmed membership record issues with the Hanford post. He said its members will be referred to other area posts "once we get the records sorted out. That is part of the problem – we do have discrepancies in the membership records."

Derner said law enforcement hasn't been contacted, and he doesn't expect legal action.

Gary Grant, chairman of the Cedar Rapids Veterans Memorial Commission, called the post's demise "a shame."

"Iit was a great post, and I remember them doing some good work for veterans," said Grant, a former post member.

Derner said local veterans could re-form the Hanford post once its tangled finances are sorted out.

"It's just going to be a matter of time to determine whether or not that's going to be a viable option," he said.
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