The historic Walter Robinson American Legion Post 450 is on a new path to prosperity.
"We're not going anywhere," said Moon Township resident Keith Bullard, a businessman for 40 years who has taken the reins as the Sewickley post's new commander.
The Chadwick Street post was on the brink of being sold last month in sheriff's sale until Bullard stepped in and began working diligently to turn the legion's situation around. Despite some reports, the building was not up for sheriff's sale Monday.
Bullard said utilities are paid up, garbage is once again being collected and an agreement has been made with the legion's mortgage company giving the post 90 days to pay the rent for March and April.
Come May, he said the legion will have finished making structured payments and will be back on track with its normal financial agreement.
"We’re moving in the right direction," Bullard said.
The post that once served as a gathering spot for black veterans during segregation has struggled in recent years, filing for bankruptcy twice and landing more than once on the Allegheny County sheriff's sale list.
Members of Post 450—a designated historic landmark by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation—asked Bullard to come in and help save the legion because of his business background. Bullard for years owned car dealerships in Moon.
"My goal is to bring the building back to its glory of what it used to be, to service the veterans in the community."
In order to do so, Bullard said the legion needed new vision and will need the continued support of the Sewickley community to preserve and sustain the historic site.
Bullard said several plans are in the works to restructure and revamp the post, including better security measures and classier entertainment. He said the former commander and officers who had been in charge of handling money are no longer with the legion and new officers have been named in their place.
Bullard met with the Sewickley Historical Society a couple weeks ago to explain the legion's strategic plan, and a mass mailer is being sent out to the community this month.
A 30-day membership drive is expected to kick off soon, and a fundraiser is in the works, he said. An account has been set up at First National Bank in Moon. Funds collected will be used for building and operating expenses, said Bullard, who is hoping for more community support.
"The legion is too valuable to the black history of Sewickley and to the region to let it go," Bullard said. "We're asking for support from everybody to help save the legion. We need support."
For more information contact Keith Bullard at 724-759-1153 or to make a tax exempt donation, visit any First National Bank branch.