Farmington American Legion needs help to avoid being coronavirus casualty

As a United States Army veteran, James Koponen is no stranger to the uncertainty life can bring. 

He faced it serving our country in the Vietnam War and he is facing uncertainty now during the COVID-19 pandemic. But one place Koponen doesn't feel alone is at the American Legion Post in Farmington. 

"I lost my wife 12 years ago, and without The American Legion I don't know what I would do," he said. "It's family."

Since 1923, American Legion Post 346 has helped their community in countless ways. They organize the Memorial Day Parade, spread the American spirit in schools, and even let some community organizations use their hall for free. 

But with utility bills reaching $3,000 a month, the legion could become the next coronavirus casualty. 

"Our primary source of income is renting out the halls," said Marya Davis, Cmdr. American Legion Post 346. "Since Covid hit, we were hanging in there a little bit with the higher amount of people we are allowed to let in there. But right now we can't rent out the halls." 

"If we have to close down, where will the Boy Scouts go, where will the Cub Scouts go," said Koponen. "Where will the Civil Air Patrol go. They all meet here at no charge."

Now the organization known for always helping others needs to help themselves. They are collecting donations and have raised enough to get through the next few months. 

All money raised will go towards keeping the lights on and saving this piece of Farmington history. 

"If it does close, I would imagine we could find somewhere to eat once in a while but it would not be the same," said Koponen. "The community of Farmington would be hurting very very bad." 

"American Legions (are) just like businesses, everyone's having a hard time," Davis said. "So if they have a chance to reach out to their local legion maybe they can help out as well because it's a very special place for veterans." 

This American Legion Post has a raffle every Monday night and they have a GoFundMe page HERE.