Snow Hill American Legion still fighting for headquarters

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 8:11 PM EDT
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SNOW HILL, N.C. (WITN) - Veterans with an American Legion in Snow Hill have been trying to get a headquarters for years.

They feel it’s only fair they get help from Greene County, since they say the county helped another legion in town secure a building.

However, as WITN Investigates found out, county leaders are telling a much different story.

Most veterans can agree that few understand them quite like other veterans, and for American Legion 536 member Frizelle Edwards, those bonds have changed his life.

“We all get together, and you know, we can all talk about certain things that we’re dealing with that other people don’t understand,” Edwards said.

Snow Hill has two American Legions: 94 is made up of mostly white members, while 536′s members are mostly Black. Legion 94 has a headquarters, at the corner of North Harper and NW Fourth Street in Snow Hill, but 536 rents a room at the Greene County Community Center for $50 a month.

“We have a presence in the county, and if we’re gonna be separate, then why can’t we get the same thing that they got?” Wayne Darden asked.

A 1977 deed shows the county let 94 buy their post, a former Greene County library, at the low price of $10.

Robert Masters is trying to advocate on behalf of 536 members. He feels the county gave 94 a break on the cost, citing a section in the deed that says the building was “in a bad state of repair.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with that at all,” Masters said. ”I’m glad that they supported the veterans, I truly am. The only trouble is, when this came along, they should’ve supported these veterans exactly the same way,” Masters said, gesturing toward members of Legion 536.

Additionally, 536 members believe the county has, in the past, promised 536 they would provide a location at a reduced cost. County Manager Kyle Dehaven disagrees.

He says “The county never promised space to any organization in the operations center as there is not space available for the function they perform.”

He explained during a phone call with WITN that the Legion 94 members actually bought their building for a normal price by taking liens to pay the mortgage. He also adds that the county is willing to help Legion 536 find a building, but they aren’t responsible for securing it.

However, Legion 536 members said they feel they deserve the same help they feel 94 received.

“We just do what we do, and we just keep existing. You can try to push us down, but we get up again,” Edwards said.

Legion 536 is much younger than Legion 94. 94′s website shows that they were permanently chartered in 1947, whereas 536 was founded about 13 years ago.

WITN tried to call Legion 94. We spoke with someone who directed us to another entity called Tuscarora Council for comment. After calling Tuscarora Council, we were told to talk to the East Carolina Tuscarora Council.

Someone at that number said they weren’t aware of any affiliation with the American Legion, and that they were instead predominantly a Boy Scouts of America group.

Legion 536 members acknowledged that it is unusual to have two American Legions in one town when it’s as small as Snow Hill. Members explained that, when they signed up to become legion members, they were told the legion would be happy to have them, but it preferred that they start their own legion, separate from 94.

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