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American Legion in Tucker ready to rebuild from fire


American Legion in Tucker ready to rebuild from fire

The American Legion Post 207 on Pine Valley Road is under construction after suffering a destructive fire in 2019. Photo submitted by Post Commander Anthony Mathis.

Tucker, GA — American Legion Post 207 is rising from its ashes, ready to rebuild after a destructive fire in 2019. The old building has been demolished, land has been cleared and architects and contractors have been engaged. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the rebuilding process, but it’s a matter of days, members say, until all permits are finalized by DeKalb County.  

The weather was cool on March 20, 2019, the night the American Legion Post 207 on Pine Valley Road caught fire. It was hours before anyone noticed the blaze. 

A faulty wire in the kitchen was to blame for the spark, according to the fire chief on the scene that night. The tongue and groove metal roof and burglar bars kept firefighters from easily entering the property. Once the site of Scout meetings, annual parties, special ceremonies and Legion meetings, the 1950s building was so secure it couldn’t be saved. 

Thick woods border the Legion, which sits on about 7 acres of land. It is surrounded by residential housing, situated between Fellowship Road and Brockett Road. The fire took a long time to be reported because it is so remote. 

Post Commander Anthony Mathis arrived around 4 a.m. 

“It was gone,” he said. “They tried putting it out. There was water everywhere, but it had been burning too long.”

Most devastating was the loss of Post 207’s history: Flags, awards, mementos and photographs all went up in flames. It was impossible to put a dollar amount on the things they lost. Trying to explain that to the insurance was hard, he said.

Built in 1952, Post 207 is made up of 150 veterans, Sons of the American Legion, Legionnaires and auxiliary members. World War II vets established the post in the 1950s, and the last Post 207 member to fight in WWII died three years ago. Other members served in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Panama.  

Post 207 provides services for local veterans and their families, and stays in close contact with key people at the VA Hospital. It’s a place to celebrate wars fought and retire tattered American flags.   

“We wanted to a beacon in the community,” Mathis said, recalling a time Eagle Scouts repainted the Legion’s cannons.  

The plan is to build a larger meeting room for the community to utilize, particularly for the annual Memorial Day BBQ, during which the Legion sells 500 to 600 plates of barbecue. 

Mathis said members hope to hold an official groundbreaking next week, and celebrate the reopening of the Legion with a party on Veteran’s Day in November. 

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