American Legion to host open house next week in Presidio

A recent photo of the American Legion building in Presidio, Texas, showing the restoration work of volunteers. Photo courtesy of Joe Portillo

PRESIDIO — Presidio’s chapter of the American Legion will be hosting an open house event next Wednesday, July 27, from 1 to 5 p.m. “As your veterans and community go-getters, we’d love to see you guys,” said Post Commander José Portillo. “Come down one and all — everyone is invited.” 

The Legionnaires hope that the event will be an opportunity for the community to discuss their concerns and hopes, but also an opportunity for them to show off all the work they’ve been doing on the Legion Hall. The hall has lots of small exhibits dedicated to the past: retired uniforms and photographs of the historical military presence in Presidio. Vice Commander Jesus Luis Chavez was just as excited about the future of the space. “There’s some guys that have really fixed this place up,” he said. 

Chavez’s tour of the Legion Hall includes their new commercial kitchen, high-tech bingo set-up, redecorated patio and improved bar space. He’s hoping to launch another project dear to his heart: a wall of photographs of local veterans in uniform. “Even if you’re not a veteran, if you had a brother or sister or uncle that was in the military, bring a picture,” he said. “We’ll put it on the wall. I think it’s going to look really cool.”

The Legionnaires recently conducted their first flag-burning ceremony in many years: when an American flag is damaged beyond repair, servicemembers retire the flag in a special ceremony. They’re hoping the latest ceremony will be the first step toward more actively engaging the town’s veterans. For now, the Post keeps irregular hours, but is hoping to gather more volunteers and interest in order to keep a consistent presence on O’Reilly Street. 

Commander Portillo stressed that while the American Legion is dedicated to serving veterans, it’s ultimately designed to be a space where everyone can gather and celebrate special events or simply enjoy a drink together. “The perception is you have to be a veteran to be there,” he said. “We’ve returned, and now it’s time to serve our communities. It’s all about community and helping those in need.” 

The Legion’s open house will be held next Wednesday, July 27, from 1 to 5 p.m; the Legionnaires are hoping to have drinks and appetizers available through the early evening. Presidio’s Legion Post 176 is located at 913 West O’Reilly Street.