Sanger home to American Legion state headquarters

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Saturday, September 5, 2015
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San Francisco's loss has been Sanger's gain.

SANGER, Calif. (KFSN) -- San Francisco's loss has been Sanger's gain. The patriotic Fresno County town has turned out to be the perfect place to move the American Legion Department of California headquarters.

State adjutant Bill Siler, 73, has found the Valley to be much different than San Francisco. Siler explained, "Less traffic. You can walk down the street and talk to people and they talk back. Stuff like that. I like to do that kind of stuff."

Siler was the only employee to move from the Bay Area, but five locals have joined the staff which has been busy processing memberships. American Legion Post 23 past commander John Bart of Sanger said, "Our primary function is as a corporate headquarters. We're a business office, but we also assist veterans with service needs."

Bart added the old bank building was something the American Legion can call their own. Instead of dollar bills and coins, the old bank vault now held historical pictures and documents which date back to 1919 when the American Legion was formed. Siler said, "We've got like 465 posts now I think in the state of California."

The move to Sanger was prompted by a rent increase from $1 a year to eventually $2,000 a month at War Memorial Hall in San Francisco. Bart explained, "It wasn't the city of San Francisco. It was the committee within the trust that set the donation that we were to give to occupy the space."

The group figured Sanger would be an easier place for members statewide to reach. Next year, the American Legion state convention will be held in Fresno.