Durham AMVETS welcomes public with winter tournament

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Given the OK to use their upstairs hall, members of Durham AMVETS Post 13 will try to get the community in the habit of coming in this winter with a new program – Corn Hole Tournaments.

The tournaments – what Post 13 Commander Chad Burke calls a “cross between horseshoes and a bean-bag toss” – will take place on Thursdays, from 6-9 p.m., Jan. 7-March 26.

“It’s very fun and a heck of a lot safer than horseshoes,” Burke said.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the AMVETS hall, but, Burke said, that’s not the entire focus of the tournaments.

“The money will help keep the doors open, but it won’t be that much money,” he said. “We’re just looking to get people coming into the hall and using it. It’s a good time. Over the winter, you don’t get too many people out.”

Dozens of volunteers have made the AMVETS hall, located at 1049 Royalsborough Road, useable after pipes burst last March, creating not only a mess, but an unsafe situation.

This past summer, a team of volunteers led by The Home Depot of Topsham renovated the inside and all around the outside of the building. The post also received a materials donation of $24,000 from The Home Depot. Volunteers replaced the flooring, the ceiling tiles, the LED lighting, the windows, kitchen cabinets and counters, bathroom fixtures and vanities, and painted the walls. Others tilled soil and planted flowers. Since then, Post 13 members have installed safety devices.

“We’ve got the thumbs-up to rent by the code enforcement officer and the state fire marshal,” Burke said. “We’ve put sprinklers in the furnace room, new fire extinguishers and rebuilt the front deck to code. It was a lot of work – a lot of hours. We had a lot of volunteers helping us out, veterans and non-veterans.”

The Corn Hole Tournaments will include prizes for weekly winners. Points will be accumulated each week, and the championship will be played on Saturday, March 26. The top six teams will compete for a cash prize and trophy, followed by a season-ending party that will include all teams.

Burke said that the game is set up with players on each end of two boards. Players toss bean bags, and try to get them into a 9-inch circular hole, angled up. A successful toss equals 3 points, and the game ends at 21.

The Durham AMVETS chapter was started in 1974 and has served veterans and the community at large through a variety of outreach efforts. AMVETS membership is open to anyone who is serving, or has honorably served, in the U.S. Armed Forces from World War II to present, including those in the National Guard and Reserves. The organization is an advocate for veterans for programs such as employment training, health care, and other benefits to which they are entitled.

A CLOSER LOOK

Two-person teams have until Dec. 28 to register for the Durham AMVETS Post 13 Corn Hole Tournaments. The fee is $100 per team. The competition will take place on Thursdays, from 6-9 p.m., Jan. 7-March 26. For more information and official rules, email durhamamvets@yahoo.com.

Darin Baker, left, finance officer for Durham AMVETS Post 13, and Commander Chad Burke were all smiles in June during the big volunteer effort to renovate the property.

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