UP CLOSE WITH JEANIE by Jeanie Summerville
Whatz up, babies?
I’m so excited because I have a double whammy coming to you and they’re both coming from the American Legion Post 148. Part one consist of Steve Lanier, who will share the many aspects of Post 148 and their responsibilities, as well as, his responsibilities and for our enjoyment he’s going to share what he thinks of Ty Causey as a person and as an entertainer. Then part two, consist of Ty Causey sharing why he really loves performing at the Legion and why he considers it home. Also, he’s going to take us back in time to how his career got started, who inspired him and some wonderful things like that. So as you read these spotlights, feel the love that this beauty has to offer as you sit back, relax and enjoy. Or stand and jump and shout if you want to! You can do that because we’re gonna take you there. Ready, set, go!
“Hello Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Steve Lanier and I’m the second Vice Commander and I’m also in charge of entertainment and Special Events here at the American Legion Post 148 and this is my second term. Most of my responsibilities deal with the community and bringing in revenue in order to do other projects for the community. But before I became an officer, I was a Legion member and started doing things such as, starting a yearly Mother’s Day Ceremony and working on our bus trips. Now that I’m in office, I get involved in different aspects because a lot of people think that the Legion is just a watering hole with bands and stuff and that’s not true because we get involved with the community.
“As, a matter of fact, I got something that I’m working on right now that I really haven’t exposed yet but I’m sharing it with you in Frost. It deals with the community and having some bands outside in the parking lot with different vendors and other local businesses especially the Barbers because I’m having another back to school book bag give away like I did last year and it was a great success. But, this time I’m utilizing other resources and other businesses within the community to try and bring people together because we here at Post 148 think that education is everybody’s business. And, with the Legion being here and being a cornerstone within the community we can utilize that because we have the land and resources.
Even though we had a tragedy occur not too long ago, my condolence and blessings out to the family, sometimes great changes can proceed chaos and it’s time for us to focus on the task at hand and get together. Because we have to make sure that this doesn’t happen again, even though, it was out of our control and nobody understands why or how it happened because here, we’re trying to send people to college. We give away four scholarships each year via our Legion Riders and we’re just trying to engage the community because we’re here to help everyone out in every situation if possible and that’s why our entertainment and special events are so important because they can basically cover everything. Along with, our ladies auxiliary having garage sales in the parking lot or the Legion riders having a bike rally.
“We’re always trying to engage everyone and keep everyone informed, as far as, what’s going on and our love is out there for the community but sometimes we need a little love too. And, we’re looking for new servicemen who are out there or even if you have a family member, that’s in the service, that’s coming home soon you can let us know and we can have a welcome home celebration/dinner for them. Because that’s what we do here at the Legion and that’s what we stand for. And, if they want to become a member, our first Vice Commander Anthony Payne is in charge of memberships. But, it’s basically everybody’s responsibility here at the Legion to assist them in any way possible.
“For example, when I attended Frost picnic, I engaged an individual there that was handing out flyers of an upcoming event and he was telling me that he is a disabled veteran. So I asked him was he a member of the Legion? He was like, ‘No man, but the Legion really helped me out when I needed it.’ So, I went on to explain to him that this event that he’s trying to have, if he were a member of the Legion, he could come through us and we’d help him. We have a face page, Internet and a lot of people who are willing to get out there and engage in the community and do things because we have some officers, who hold high ranking positions, within other organizations such as the MLK Club that Benny Edwards is the president of and he’s also a strong member of the NAACP.
“We also have our Adjutant Frankie Billingsley, who helps military veterans get jobs through Work One. We have people that are engaged here in a lot of different things and it’s always good to know and be surrounded by good people. Then I also told him, that our membership is only $32 a year and once I mentioned that to him, he said, ‘That’s all?’ I said yes, so you see sometimes you just never know who you’re talking to and that’s why our membership drive never ends and the members always come first.
“Right now we’re renewing our membership for next year, so any new members and also old members, come on down to the Legion and someone will be happy to assist you because we’re going great things and we want you to be a part of it. We also take trips to football and baseball games and visit other post in Indianapolis because we’re doing something’s to enjoy life, everybody wants to live another day and we just want you to be there with us. For me, it’s always a privilege and an honor to represent Post 148 veterans throughout the State of Indiana, as well as, in the world and I have a daughter who’s serving in the Army right now. She got deployed and is in Guam so I send my love to her and I also have a lot of nieces and nephews who are also in the service and I’d like to say to them, GOD bless all of you and thank you.
“Now, I want to talk about the entertainment segment that we bring to you for all of our enjoyment. Since I’ve only been here for a little over three years, there’s a lot of people that I don’t know. So I actually get out there to see new bands or someone may give me a tip on a hot group and I’ll go and check them out, personally. I go to a variety of different venues because I try to bring a diverse level of entertainment. Because after all, the Legion is for everybody and I need to see what fits within the constraints, as far as, our budget and if I like what I see we make it happen.
“I think we get a great response to the bands here and I know that one of our biggest things is that we have live bands on Saturday’s between 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. That’s something that has been a tradition even before my time and before my predecessors time. It’s something that the community enjoys and a lot of people come and support it. It also helps to build relations too because it carries over into the night a little bit because the crowd is here and enjoying themselves. So when the band stops, everything shifts over to the other side to a D.J., who brings a grown folk type of atmosphere and the people really enjoy that too. Now, what I’m trying to do is, establish that on Friday’s as well so we can bring back the Friday gist of things to get people back out and to let them know that the Legion is a safe and comfortable place to come to. So we want to provide Friday and Saturday night enjoyment for not only our Legionnaires but also for the community. All we ask you to do when you come here, is to be respective of yourself and you’ll get nothing but respect here.
“And, I’m utilizing my resources for your entertainment enjoyment while you’re here with us at the Legion and our line up, thus far, includes Ty Causey, Todd Harrold and Mark Maxwell and I love that since they’re normally playing on Fridays at other venues in the city and Ty could be playing anywhere. We also have Rickey Bratton’s band, Lee Lewis, Latrece Johnson Goree, Ray Harris, Shelby McKinney, Last Call and etc. At this time, I want to talk to you about Ty Causey because I’m just fortunate that he considers us one of the cornerstones and he always has a great time coming here and I really do appreciate him, as well as, the others. But what I think of Ty as a musician is wow!
“The first time I saw Ty perform was at the Blue Tomato when Commander Jesse Booker took me there for his Birthday party and it was a blast, that was the only time I saw him. Then, my birthday was coming around and I’ll never forget this because it was Dec. 17 and the commander asked me, if I’m going to have a party and I was like yea but I want Ty Causey here to perform and my party was a blast and since that day, Ty has been in our rotation. It was a welcome back for him to the Legion and everybody was glad to have him here and we really appreciate his fellowship along with W.R. Sanders. We’ve also had his live band here and we’d like to have them back again in the future.
“The reason that I enjoy Ty so much is because I think that he has a different twist on things and he’s a fantastic entertainer because not only does he sing, he engages the crowd and he has some jokes too and he’ll crack them but it’s all in the name of love. He’s grounded and he knows who he is and that’s the biggest thing about Ty because when you’re an entertainer and people are always thanking you, he understands where his blessings come from and we like to cater to real people and believe me Ty Causey is a beautiful, real person and we enjoy having him here and so does everyone else. Also, Ty has raised the bar for entertainment in Fort Wayne and has always supported other seasoned and upcoming artist. He’s never had an arrogant tone and has always gone above and beyond his normal show to send people away with a lasting impression of some real soul.”
Now in closing I say, great job Steve! Thank you for coming to the people to inform them of all the wonderful things that Post 148 stands for and keep up the great work. And, I know that Ty is really going to love and appreciate what you had to say about him. So until next week, when the entertainer Ty Causey comes to you, you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.
P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from ya.
This article originally appeared in the July 17 print edition.