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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/RANDY MOLL The officers of the newly reopened Gentry American Legion Post 159 posed for a photo after being installed on Saturday, July 18, in Gentry City Park. Pictured with Arkansas Department Commander Doyle Batey (second from left) are Marie Wilbanks, commander; Denver Whitehead, first vice president; Joe Zelk, second vice president; Jim Wilbanks, adjutant; Karla Wike, sergeant of arms; Kateri Killman, finance officer; and Karla Sipe, chaplain.

GENTRY -- After dying out and losing its building in years past, the Londagin-Hardcastle American Legion Post 159 is back and off to a healthy start with its new charter and the installation of new officers. The post retained the number and flag of the former Gentry post.

The Gentry American Legion post met in the city park at noon on Saturday to receive its new charter and to have its officers installed, and during Saturday's meeting, Arkansas Department Commander Doyle Batey presented the organization's temporary charter and swore in the post's new officers.

Post officers are Marie Wilbanks, commander; Denver Whitehead, first vice president; Joe Zelk, second vice president; Jim Wilbanks, adjutant; Karla Wike, sergeant of arms; Kateri Killman, finance officer; and Karla Sipe, chaplain.

The post named in honor of Dan Londagin, who was killed in France during WWI, first received its charter on Oct. 31, 1932. The charter was later dropped but the post was reorganized in 1947, adding the name of Robert Franklin Hardcastle, a WWII veteran also killed in action. The post received its permanent charter in 1959 and an Auxiliary was formed.

In 1960, the post completed the construction of its own Legion hut on Main Street next to the baseball field. After the post closed, the building deteriorated and was later removed by the city.

The reorganized post meets on the third Saturday of each month, with a brown bag lunch at 11:30 a.m. and a meeting at noon. It plans to meet in the McKee Community Room at the Gentry Public Library but, with the facility closed due to the covid-19 pandemic, the post has been meeting in the large pavilion on the south side of Gentry City Park (across from the fire station).

For more information on the post, call the post's commander, Marie Wilbanks, at 850-520-0335.

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Westside Eagle Observer/RANDY MOLL Marie Wilbanks, commander of Gentry American Legion Post 159, shows the temporary charter received from Doyle Batey, Arkansas Department Commander, after he read the charter for the reformed post in the city park on Saturday, July 18. The new post kept the name and post number of Gentry's former American Legion Post which had closed.
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Westside Eagle Observer/RANDY MOLL The officers of the newly reopened Gentry American Legion Post 159 posed for a photo after being installed on Saturday, July 18, in Gentry City Park. Pictured are Marie Wilbanks, commander; Denver Whitehead, first vice president; Joe Zelk, second vice president; Jim Wilbanks, adjutant; Karla Wike, sergeant of arms; Kateri Killman, finance officer; and Karla Sipe, chaplain.
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Westside Eagle Observer/RANDY MOLL The officers of the newly reopened Gentry American Legion Post 159 were sworn in by Arkansas Department Commander Doyle Batey (right) on Saturday, July 18, in Gentry City Park. Pictured are Karla Sipe, chaplain; Kateri Killman, finance officer; Karla Wike, sergeant of arms; Jim Wilbanks, adjutant; Joe Zelk, second vice president; Denver Whitehead, first vice president; and Marie Wilbanks, commander.
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Westside Eagle Observer/RANDY MOLL Marie Wilbanks, commander of Gentry American Legion Post 159, introduces guests at a meeting of the new post on Saturday in Gentry City Park.

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