SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. -- Marion County American Legion Post 62 on Elm Avenue in South Pittsburg has fallen into disrepair over the years, but a group of volunteers from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga., is about to change that.
Retired Chief Master Sgt. Trevor Shattuck, who recently moved to South Pittsburg, has stepped in to help lead the revitalization effort for the building.
When volunteers installed a new roof on it recently, Shattuck invited a couple of airmen from Dobbins to visit the town and examine the structure.
"They're going to adopt the American Legion building, and they're going to bring back a team that's going to help us basically go in and do projects," he said.
The Air Force volunteers will complete all the design work and generate a list of needed materials to complete the renovations, officials said.facebook
A 10- to 12-member team is expected to return to South Pittsburg sometime around July 4, when they will have a three-day pass off the base, to continue the renovations.
The first projects are to completely rebuild the handicap ramp on the front of the building and repair the rickety stairwells inside.
Shattuck said the airmen took back "a long list" of other repairs they plan to complete over the course of several weekends this year.
"They're proud to do it," he said. "They're excited to do it, and they're ready to go."
The nearly 100-year-old building was constructed just after World War I, and it quickly became a sanctuary for returning veterans to gather.
Since then, it has served as a launching point for soldiers to leave for the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
"There's a big history there," Mayor Jane Dawkins said. "To have it back in some kind of shape so that the veterans and community could use it would really be a blessing."
Officials said local volunteers would be in charge of getting the needed materials for the renovations and more volunteers from the community will be needed to help.
"Hopefully, we'll have that Legion hall back to its former glory, and it will be a thing to be proud of," Shattuck said.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.