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Posted: August 17, 2013 8:30 p.m.

Veterans donate school supplies

The new American Legion Post 332 in Social Circle is still in its infancy, but the group is already starting to make a difference in its community.

The post donated several boxes of school supplies, including crayons, markers, calculators, notebooks, colored pencils, glue and three-ring binders, to the Social Circle Elementary School Thursday.

"For a group with no money to be able to (donate) that kind of stuff is pretty darn good," said Post Commander Tommy Hatton. "I’m proud of these guys."

One of the American Legion’s past state commanders, Charlie Tucker, received some supplies from a company he has a connection with and donated those to the post; Social Circle post members also donated supplies, Hatton said. The choice of school was easy; Social Circle, which has its own school system, only has one elementary school.

"We’re trying to keep everything as local as we can," Hatton said.

Hatton said the post, which was formed earlier this year, continues to grow and is up to around 50 members.

The group continues to work on renovating the old brick home at 549 Cherokee Road in Social Circle that was donated by The Mews Assisted Living of Social Circle Senior Living Community. Hatton said the city is trying to get permission to get the power turned on in the building, so it can complete some electrical work needed to get a certificate of occupancy.

In the meantime, the post meets in The Mews dining room at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of the month; dinner is $5. All veterans or anyone interested in learning more about or helping the group is invited.

Hatton said there are an estimated 44,000 veterans in Georgia who are not members of the American Legion, including an estimated 4,268 veterans living within 10 minutes of the Social Circle post.

"And I’d like to have every one of them," Hatton said.

The national American Legion organization has agreed to help the 10th district, which includes Covington, Conyers, Social Circle and other surrounding cities, with a big membership push Sept. 12-14. Hatton said the goal is to increase membership in the district by around 2,800 members, including bringing Social Circle’s membership up to 200 veterans. The American Legion has a special bank of veterans’ phone numbers .

Hatton said the post is in need of all the donations it can get. Any donations can be sent to Gary L. Lemonds Post 332, P.O. Box 1504, Social Circle, Ga., 30025. Donations to the American Legion are tax- deductible. The group is also in need of any furniture or other supplies people are willing to donate, though nothing can be put in the building until it meets current building codes.

For more information about donating or joining, contact Hatton at tlhatton@comcast.net or 404-226-0775.

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