It’s said, ‘home is where the Heart is’ and come Memorial Day, Encinitas American Legion Post 416 is hoping the public will help to raise funds for a new building by participating in the post’s first “Walk for the Fallen.”
On May 27 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p. m., all are welcome to join the walk honoring those who have “served our country, deceased and retired from the military, anyone killed in action or those missing in action.”
Each Memorial Day American Legion Post 416 hosts a barbecue, beer garden and live music event (held after the walk from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and this year has added the honor walk.
“As we walk forward to honor our fallen heroes, we must remember that ‘freedom’ is not free and that some made the ultimate sacrifice and gave all for those freedoms that we hold so very dear to our hearts,” said Matt Shillingburg, United States Army Ret. Commander, San Dieguito American Legion Post 416. “I wish to thank all that walk for our fallen.”
The walk will take place over two courses: 1/2 mile and 2-mile; each course starts and finishes at Post 416, between 2nd and 3rd streets at “F.” Cost: $29 with 100 percent of net proceeds going to the new building fund. Register to walk or “virtual walk’ at: https://excelarace.com/
According to Schillingburg the San Dieguito American Legion was established in 1931 by World War I veterans as a sanctuary and meeting place to help them deal with the horrors of the war.
“The San Dieguito (meaning little San Diego) area spans from Carmel Valley through most of Carlsbad and inland to Black Mountain. For the last 88 years, the current facility has served veterans, family members and the community through charitable donations and volunteer efforts,” he said.
The proposed new building will keep the original WWI barracks and add two stories beside the original structure with the second story serving as a Community and Veterans Resource Center with full-time veterans service officer tied into the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Any veteran can walk into our facility and ask the veterans service officer, ‘What benefits do I have as a veteran?’” Schillinburg said. “We’re building a new facility for the next 100 years; everyone should come and enjoy this event.”
Among the many new amenities, the building will have an elevator to the second floor and the facilities will be ADA complaint, and Smart wired with solar roof panels.
Plans are in the completion of the design phase and expect to go to the planning commission in June. The planning process is expected to be 8-12 months before breaking ground and construction should take 6-12 months.
Event Director Steve Lebherz encourages everyone to come out and show support or to join the walk.
“My father, Capt. Thomas B. Lebherz, USN Medical Corps. Ret., an OB/GYN, served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years. I was one of seven children all whom were born on military bases throughout the U.S. Though he never served in a combat zone, everyone in the military system is important to the cause. It is said he delivered more than 40,000 babies to military families during his long career. There are 250,000 active duty, retired or family members in San Diego, we encourage everyone to support this event.”