For in-person events, Post 623 often rents space from Post 414 in their building in Forest Park. “At the end of the day, you can’t replace this wooden bar. Face-to-face socialization,” Knudston said while socializing at a Friday night hangout event. “You can’t do that on Facebook.” From left, Peter Kalenik, Paul Knudston and Byron Watson.
Neil Scarpelli, a member of American Legion Post 414 for the past 40 years, keeps a watchful eye on the building while the younger veterans use the space. ‘We use to meet down here and have coffee,’ said Scarpelli. ‘I remember a time when there were hundreds of us. Now if you get 20 people together you’re lucky.’
Paul Knudston, left, and Byron Watson, discuss ways to engage young veterans. Watson says not having an official post building has been beneficial “because sometimes when there is a post home, the focus is mostly on paying the bills … instead of focusing on the veterans.”