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Legion Shares Details of Property Sale, Enjoys Night Partnered with REO/Styx

Noblesville American Legion members had the opportunity to bring home more than $1,000 when they volunteered to work a booth and sell music CDs at last Friday’s REO Speedwagon/Styx/Loverboy concert at Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville.

And just a couple of days later, the Legion officially shared its plan with The Times to sell its building and purchase a new property.

The Times reported in January that voting members of Frank E. Huntzinger Post No. 45 unanimously approved to sell the property at 1094 Conner St., to a buyer and to purchase property elsewhere but was unable to release details of the sale, including buyer, selling price and plans for the property.

However, on Monday, Post Commander John Morris said, “We have signed sale agreements with all parties involved, and we should have both closing in August 2022.”

“While the terms of the sale are still under a confidentiality clause, I can at least speak in generalities. Church, Church, Hittle & Antrim (attorneys) have entered into a purchase agreement for our property located at 1094 Conner St., Noblesville. We have entered into a purchasing agreement for the (historic) R.L. Wilson property located at 273 S. Eighth St., in Noblesville,” he said.

(Photo courtesy of Noblesville American Legion)
Noblesville American Legion members Chris Walters, Eric Behrends, Deb Pfledderer and John Morris pose with autographed guitar winners, Kerri Thomas and Chris Thomas (center) during the Legion’s partnership with Styx and Reo Speedwagon during last Friday night’s concert at Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville.

“I do want to make one thing very clear about these transactions. The City of Noblesville has played no role or exerted any influence on our decision to sell our property or on our selection of where to relocate. I do believe all parties involved are happy with the idea that these properties will still be under ownership of organizations with a longstanding tradition within Noblesville,” he said. “It was very important to everyone that future caretakers of these properties would ensure the very best results for the City of Noblesville community and its residents. The new location for CCH&A allows for them to expand into additional office space and parking with the existing layout.” In other words, the Legion building will remain and be used.

He said, “The Noblesville American Legion will be able to expand our services to the veteran community, as well, and we believe we will present a true must-visit Post experience when we are able to fully open in late spring/early summer 2023. We will continue to operate out of our original location until we are ready, and we have committed to a continued partnership with Heavenly Sweets (currently housed on the R.L. Wilson property) for the foreseeable future, as well.”

Morris said, “These transactions would not be nearing completion if it were not for the patience, shared vision and true collaboration by all three sides. The end goal for everyone goes way beyond the simple exchange of funds on three sides.”

The American Legion Post currently has 500 members between the Legionnaires, Sons of the American Legion and the Legion Auxiliary.

On the Legion property, there is a posted sign of an upcoming hearing, which is “simply to correct an overlooked zoning issue,” he said. “We have already met with our immediate residential neighbors and explained what was happening long before any postings or mailings were conducted. Long story short, our current location is zoned as a residential property, and we are changing it to be zoned Downtown (DT). This should have been handled decades ago but was overlooked by everyone,” he said.

“We are extremely excited and looking forward to the next 12 months, not only due to our move, but we also have a few exciting new ventures for our members coming in the next few months to increase our value to the  membership,” Morris said. “I will announce those as we get everything put in place.”

Now back to the charity rock event …  Morris said the charity Rock to the Rescue partnered with REO Speedwagon and Styx and the Legion Post, and its mission was spotlighted at Friday’s concert at Ruoff.

“What an amazing opportunity for our Post,” he said. The Legion sent officers and staff.

(Photo courtesy of Noblesville American Legion)
Noblesville Frank Huntzinger Post 45 American Legion members Kayla Minnick (from left), Chris Walters, Al Pfledderer, Deb Pfledderer, John Morris, Jennifer Miller, Rose Craft, Tim Wagoner, Nan Tharp, Maria Morris and Mike Sherfick volunteer at a booth selling REO Speedwagon and Styx musical CDs for $20 each and included a chance to win an autographed guitar during Friday’s “Live & Unzoomed Tour 2022” at Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville.

“As part of the arrangement, we sell their CDs at their booth and then receive a cut of the sales. They announce on stage who we are, what we do and what they are doing for us. Our admission is free,” Morris said just a couple of days before the June 10 concert.

Morris said, “We were selected by the representative of Styx, Kevin Compton. We asked Kevin how we were selected, as well, and he said he really tries to focus on veterans organizations in the immediate local area. Everything happened very quickly. Kevin called our Post Monday night (June 6) and left a message for me. I called Kevin on Tuesday (June 7), which was when he explained the charity partnership to me.”

Morris said, “The concept is that we would sell Styx and REO Speedwagon CDs for chances to win an autographed guitar. Fifty percent of the proceeds cover the bands’ cost, 25 percent goes to a disaster relief fund they manage, and finally 25 percent goes to our charity, Noblesville American Legion.”

The winners of the guitar were Kerri and Chris Thomas.

“This was special for everyone since their entire family is part of the veteran community though we had never met them before,” he said.

The proceeds of the donation will go to the Post to support our mission.”

The best perks other than the donation, were good press and free entry, he said. “We are simply honored to be chosen.”

For each REO Speedwagon and Styx CD sold at the concert, either at the booth or while roaming the Music Center, buyers of each $20 musical CD received an entry to win a band-signed guitar.

While volunteering at the booth, which was located in the front plaza area of Ruoff Music Center, Legion members snapped photos, which they shared with The Times. Those attending included Eric Behrends, Kayla Minnick, Chris Walters, Al Pfledderer, Deb Pfledderer, John Morris, Jennifer Miller, Rose Craft, Tim Wagoner, Nan Tharp, Maria Morris and Mike Sherfick.

“We ended up with 12 volunteers from the Legion,” Morris said. “We ended up selling over 200 CDs for a chance to win the guitar. We received a $1,012 donation from Styx/Reo for our efforts.”

Legion members had access to the lawn when the bands were playing as well, he said. “We had a great time.”

The “Live & Unzoomed Tour 2022” stop in Noblesville is among 35 stops on the tour that kicked off May 31, 2022, in Grand Rapids, Mich. It’s the sixth time that Reo Speedwagon and Styx have been on tour together. The tour ends Aug. 21 in Wantagh, NY.

Morris said his first term as commander, June 2021 to June 2022 has seen the Legion donate more than $25,000 to various organizations to include the Noblesville Boy Scouts, Noblesville Girls Softball, Saving Our Sisters, Aspire, Pets Helping Vets, LifeCamp USA, to name a few.

– Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.