STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — A nonprofit organization that helps veterans is on the verge of closing for good because of the pandemic.
For veterans like Post Commander Bonifacio Arong and Post Adjutant Scott Halsey, American Legion Karl Ross Post 16 is more than a hangout spot.
“I like the camaraderie that we have and how we help the other veterans,” Arong told FOX40.
“We’re family. No matter what branch you are, we are family,” Halsey said.
American Legion Posts are nonprofits that provide services, information and support to the nation’s heroes.
“They can always call the post, and we can either give them the information they need or steer them in the right direction,” Arong said. “And not only that we help them and their families.”
But the hall and bar have been closed down for months.
The pandemic forced them to cancel all 30 events they already had scheduled this year.
Now, Commander Arong says Post 16 is in danger of shutting down for good.
“This post survives by the hall rentals and the barbecues and the other functions to bring in revenue to pay our bills,” Arong said. “Since the COVID, we had to shut down completely. And have zero money coming into this post.”
He says they’re surviving off savings but anticipates the money will run out early next year.
If that happens, Halsey says it will be a huge loss for the community.
“We won’t be able to have the outreach to help veterans and just people in general. Our own membership, it’s going to hurt us all,” Halsey said. “It’ll hurt the community.”
Arong and Halsey are working to raise money so the Post can stay open. And they’re hoping the community they served will save American Legion Post 16 and its more than 600 members.
American Legion Post 16 is accepting donations. Anyone who would like to donate can drop a donation off at the Post or through the organization’s GoFundMe page.