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As they plan to merge, American Legion posts schedule picnic for Saturday
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Legion picnic

  • What: American Legion Post 521 and Post 534 "Merger Fellowship Picnic"
  • When: 1-6 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: 2640 Sawnee Ave., Buford, near Buford High School football field
  • Cost: Free for post members and families, barbecue plates $5 each for others
  • Also: Veterans can sign up for benefits and updates; games for children and adults

Two area American Legion posts will be celebrating their impending merger with a fellowship picnic on Saturday.

Eugene Brown Post 521 in Gainesville is merging with Post 534 in Buford, awaiting further direction from the Department of Georgia American Legion. Saturday’s picnic will be held at the American Legion Post 127 in Buford, where Post 534 is holding meetings.

The picnic is set for 1-6 p.m. at 2640 Sawnee Ave., near Buford High School football field. The event not only will feature food and fun, but also a chance for all veterans to sign up for benefits and updates, according to Johnny Varner Jr., commander of Eugene Brown Post 521 in Gainesville.

All veterans can sign up for DD214, discharge and separation request, while veterans of Korean and Vietnam wars can sign up for specific honors. Also, veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan can qualify for extra college funds and students can sign up for the Legion’s $1,000 scholarship.

As for the food and fun, ribs and classic barbecue fixings are on the menu, while games include horse shoes, dominos, card tournaments and a jump house for kids. The event is free for members, including auxiliary, and families of Posts 521 and 534. Veterans and others are encouraged to attend and purchase plates for $5.

Post 534 is working on merging with Gainesville’s Post 521 and the new post will have a new location. Neither group has a home — Post 521’s building has been condemned since the mid-1990s and the city of Buford bought Post 534’s building.

The new post home could be in South Hall, Varner said. Once the merger is complete, the new post will select new leaders and also will have a new number. The old 500 series was assigned to segregated posts.

Leaders of both posts are looking forward to the merger.

Douglas Cobb, vice commander of the Post 521 and a Vietnam War veteran, said he believes the merger "is a helluva good idea."

For the Buford post, the move is about survival.

"(The city) was going to put a building on the (property), but it wasn’t big enough for us, so we decided ... that it would be better to merge (with Post 521)," said Leon Johnson, adjutant with the Buford post.