Post 90 honors individuals who made water garden a reality

Beverly and Harold Madison
Terrence Breckenridge, Dave Graham
Dale Ash, Dave Graham
Dave Graham
William Smith, Dave Graham
John Adams, Dave Graham

Don Fletcher
news staff writer

Members of the American Legion Post 90 recently received a $50,000 T-Mobile Hometown Grant for the Post’s recently completed water garden, formally accepting the windfall at a “potluck” luncheon on Dec. 20. .
But before receiving a check from a handful of T-Mobile representatives, the local legionnaire paid tribute to those who worked behind the scenes to bring the water pollination garden to life.
Post Commander Dave Graham and Post Lieutenant Paul Chason handed out framed plaques thanking Harold and Beverly Madison for tending to the Post’s flag. Terrence Breckinridge, who oversaw the Water Garden Project and was named Volunteer of the Year. William Smith, who helped design and install the plants in the water garden. and Dale Ash, who was cited in a successful grant application on behalf of a local veterans group.
“Harold and Beverly Madison are monitoring all emails regarding when and how long the flag needs to reach half staff, when it needs to be put back, when it needs to be replaced, etc.” says Graham. “They’re just doing it themselves.”
Beverly Madison was given a special thank you because one of the recently retired flag grommets was included in her plaque.
Ash was honored next. Graham said her work was probably the key to the successful construction of the flower-filled green space in Legion her post.
“It’s not taking anything away from anyone else, but if Dale didn’t write those grants and work with Paul to make sure they were done right, the information would be out there. It wasn’t on the scale it has,” said the Post Commander.
Chason joked that William Smith listened intently to suggestions offered by him, Chason, or other members, and then nearly waved.
“William was kind of our contractor, our landscaper,” he said. That wasn’t the only time he offered his time, he listened to me and Dave’s suggestions very professionally and then explained why we should do things differently.”
Breckenridge was cited as the “driving force” for completing the gardens.
“Terence is our volunteer of the year for project management and technical guidance for all related to Watergarden,” said Chason. He was a mentor and a motivator. Some of him have taken the time to make it happen and put it together perfectly. “
Certificates were also presented to Tim Albritton, Olan Albritton, Drew Albritton and Ben Tingle. The quartet was responsible for the construction of the garden’s covered pavilion.
Just before presenting those awards, the commander surprised the lieutenant.
“This was not planned because we wanted it to be a little surprise,” Graham said while presenting Chason with a framed and signed inspirational and patriotic acrylic painting by Linda M. Henson. “Paul is all about what we’re doing here, he’s all about the Cheaha project and Watergarden and making Atmore a more desirable place.”
Graham also noted that Chason had committed to volunteering 25 hours a month, but that the lieutenant’s hours were “much more than that.”
Chayson, who was the host of the program, was visibly caught off guard.
“Wow, that’s going to be a tough act to follow,” he exclaimed. “I didn’t expect that.”
Acceptance of the actual grant was subject to approval by local Post 90 supporters.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be here today to talk about our Hometown Grant program,” said John Adams, T-Mobile’s Alabama market manager. I’m sorry, but I’m happy to contribute $50,000 to the completion of the Pollinator’s Garden program, which shows our commitment to rural America.”
Some 30 people in attendance included State Representative Alan Baker, District 34 Commander Larry Meeks and his wife, who traveled from Andalusia, Mayor Jim Staff, and Mayor Protem Sean Lassiter.
After the presentation, the group returned to the kitchen to plate the delicacies of turkey, fried fish, boiled shrimp, dressings, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and desserts.
Meal components were prepared by post-members (or their wives), and the “primary kitchen organizers” were Maggie Graham, Dennis Chason, and Beverly Madison.

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