COLUMBUS — Tom Bock raised his glass to salute those who worked for months to rebuild the American Legion Hartman Post 84 building.
“I raise a glass, if I may, to toast the members of Post 84 on the return to the ranks and the glorious legacy of the American Legion,” said Bock, past national commander of the American Legion.
It was a little more than a year ago when the local American Legion, located at 2263 Third Ave., was damaged during a fire. It took months of cleaning up and planning, but the Legion was rebuilt. On Saturday evening, a rededication ceremony was held.
Bock, a David City native who now lives in Colorado, was the keynote speaker at the event.
The public was invited to attend and tour the new facility.
The building itself officially reopened Feb. 1 after it was closed for more than 10 months following the March 2012 fire.
It wasn’t long after the doors opened that it was business as usual, which includes dinners and parties.
“We did start operation during the busiest time of the season here, Lent. We had a fish fry every week, and it kept growing and growing, and we had trouble keeping up,” said Owen Lloyd, who headed the building committee.
The Legion plays hosts to wedding parties and Lloyd said next year's calendar is already filling up. He recently booked a wedding party for June 2015.
A $1 million renovation project gave the Legion a new look including an expanded banquet room, relocation of the lounge and an updated exterior.
Bock praised those involved in the rebuild, saying the new facility allows members to continue the mission that was established in 1919 when the first American Legion was born. The mission focuses on four pillars: care for veterans, care for children, patriotism and support of national defense.
“As Post 84 rises from the ashes in this beautiful building, I know they will give back to those four pillars," Bock said. "I know they will continue to serve America as the American Legion has done for 95 years. I know you will continue to serve your community, your children, your schools, your education systems and remember our troops."