American Legion rebuilding after fire: ‘You watched us burn, now watch us rise’


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita American Legion Post destroyed by a fire has started to rebuild.

It’s a new day for the members of American Legion Post 401 in south Wichita. As Old Glory stands tall in front of the post, construction crews are hard at work out back.

“You can see light at the end of the tunnel now,” said American Legion Post 401 Commander Stacy Foreman.

In June of 2016, the post caught fire. The blaze destroyed the more than 50-year-old building and nearly everything inside.

“It just hurt that day. It hurt bad that day. We pulled a lot of memorabilia out. Some of it we could save. Some if it we couldn’t save,” Foreman said.

For the last 14 months, Foreman and her husband have been working with the City of Wichita on an action plan to rebuild their post. On Tuesday, Foreman said their efforts finally paid off. Crews began construction on the posts’s new building.

“It’s excitement. I can’t wait until it gets done,” Foreman said.

The 7,200-square-foot building is expected to be completed by late October. Foreman said the opening of the new building will be emotional.

“I’ll cry just like I did when it burned down. I’m still passionate about it whether it’s the new building or the old building,” she said.

Foreman said she and her members plan to come back from the fire stronger than before.

“Our new slogan is you watched us burn, now watch us rise. We are going to rise to the occasion, bring in new members, have a good time and be the friendlies post in the City of Wichita.

The grand opening is slated for October 21, 2017.

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