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Legionnaires donate bingo money

By Ronnie Thomas · 340-2438

The aroma of frying catfish and hush puppies drifted Saturday morning from a green canvas cook tent at the side of American Legion Post 15, drenching the parking lot with sweetness.

Little doubt there was a party going on, and Decatur Legionnaires know how to give one.

They also know how to give away money. With about 300 people looking on, Post Commander Willard Tapscott, with assistance from First Vice Commander Becky Burney, distributed $23,600 from their bingo fund.

They even scratched up an additional $50 for the Lakeshore Rehabilitation Foundation of Birmingham, making the agency the biggest recipient at $5,050. The large check facsimile that the post proudly displayed showed $23,550.

The post awarded $5,000 each to Veterans Administration Hospital in Birmingham and Floyd E. “Tut” Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville.

Other awards were to American Legion Auxiliary, $3,500; Centers for the Developmentally Disabled of North Central Alabama, $2,000; Boy Scout Venture Drew 310, $800; Hospice of the Valley, Austin High School Touchdown Club, World War II Memorial and Citizens Flag Alliance, $500 each; and Morgan County Night of Bands, $250.

Burney said the money represents 51 percent of total proceeds from bingo, the percentage that the post is required to donate.

Guests at the post’s annual membership fish fry included State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur; Braxton Bridgers, American Legion state adjutant; and Willis Frazier, past Alabama state commander.

Tapscott said about 100 people were involved in pulling together the event, including cooks, assisted by Morgan County Jail inmates.

“They started this morning at 6 o’clock, and you see the results,” he said, as a line formed inside the post building about noon for the meal. “They cooked 325 pounds of catfish.”

Many gave unselfishly of their time, including Gary Morgan and Curly Jones, who aren’t even members of the American Legion. They represent Elks Lodge 655.

“We all come together for a good cause,” said Morgan, as he and Jones dipped catfish into a boiling caldron. “We’re pleased to offer our services.”

Meanwhile, Hollis Bryant, Doyle Osborn and Jim Jones whipped out the hush puppies. They are members of the post and of Veterans of Foreign Wars 4190.

The batter recipe belongs to Osborn, who said he has been cooking hush puppies at outings for 25 years.

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