FAIRBORN — The American Legion Dignam-Whitmore Post 526 signed a three-year lease on a new home and is aiming to offer its current items in addition to new and expanded services.
“We want to be the leader in changing the American Legion as far national thinks,” Post 526 Financial Officer Seth Dale said. “We want to be a guiding light.”
The facility, located at 300 Main St., will include a veterans resource center in addition to the canteen center. The veterans resource center will include computers and is aimed to serve as an area where veterans can learn about their benefits — with experts standing close by if needed. American Legion Dignan-Whitmore Post 526 Commander Spencer Chaney pointed out that service members sometimes start college as they leave the military, sparking the inspiration to include computers in the space for veterans to complete homework in a quiet area if they wish.
Chaney, 30, is the youngest individual to lead Post 526 and hopes that the new American Legion facility can appeal to youthful individuals and draw more members. They are aiming to open the center in September.
“I want to try to give them something other American Legions haven’t done yet and that is with our veterans center or with some type of community outreach,” he said. “Fairborn has done a lot for veterans when it comes to the people of Fairborn. We want to not only be able to give back to our brothers and sisters, but give back to our [community] as well.”
Post 526 Public Affairs Specialist Mary Pacinda pointed out that they had considered working with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for veterans as well.
“I guess it comes down to the thought of duty,” Chaney said.
However, the new facility will still include its canteen and other elements, keeping up with the tradition of providing a space for veterans to connect and communicate over a “cold one.”
“For all intensive purposes, it’s a small bar,” Chaney said. “It won’t be nearly as big as the last one, not as large of a selection I would say, but we’ll give our members what they want when it comes to that.”
Dale, 31, highlighted that they envision the space to be blueprinted as a “contemporary” space, including a welcoming and “sleek” design. They have also recently revamped its website.
“We want to have an inviting [space],” Dale said. “This is a turning point, the new American Legion as a whole, at least for the Fairborn side of it.”
The new facility is located across from Giovanni’s in downtown Fairborn, which is exactly what Post 526 officials had hoped. Pacinda pointed out that it includes plenty of space for parking.
“It’s a nice, good, central location,” Chaney said. “We’re still in downtown Fairborn and it’s even better because we’re in downtown Fairborn now with lots of glass frontage … It’s really the perfect set up.”