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Senior Moment | BINGO! Visit the American Legion for family fun for a good cause

Come join Michele LeBlanc at the American Legion in Statesboro as they host their popular weekly charity BINGO night. Don't be shy --everyone is welcomed to come and have a wonderful time, and who knows -- you might just be lucky enough to WIN!
Bingo players Front Room

Y'all hear someone saying ‘BINGO' in an excited voice??

Oh! Yes! Everyone is thrilled when that sweet little 5 letter word is heard! BINGO is the game that is loved by many, no matter the age from ‘Pre K’ to ‘Assisted Living.’ The pleasure of the WIN drives everyone to want to play.

Let me introduce you to the ‘Charity BINGO’ event every Tuesday night at the American Legion Dexter Allen Post 90 at 100 Rucker Lane in Statesboro. ‘Charity BINGO’ is the legal name in Georgia. Only non-profits who apply for licenses from the Secretary of State and do required background checks for all volunteers involved can do ‘Charity BINGO.’

Bobby Godwin, Junior Vice Commander Service Officer at the Legion, said, “It starts with the American Legion Mission Statement: ‘Our mission is to enhance the well-being of American Veterans, their families, our military and our communities by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.’"

And you wouldn't believe how much a simple game of BINGO helps them to do just that!

Godwin continued, “The American Legion Dexter Allen Post 90 uses the funds from BINGO to cover our building and the administrative costs of [the event]. These costs include ‘keeping ‘the lights on,’ mandatory state background checks for staff, and insurance, along with in-kind donations. BINGO allows us to help the veterans in need. We give to various nonprofits in the community such as the Food Bank, Feed the Boro, and Hospice. We are the charter organization for the Boy Scout Troop 935 and Cub Scout Pack 935 in Statesboro and sponsor local youth for the civilian Marksmanship Program air rifle competition through our American Legion Junior sports program. BINGO allows us to conduct our ‘Vet for Vet’ peer group meetings on Monday nights. Profits allow us to have a place two days a week to help veterans with their VA applications for benefits for which they are entitled, and finally, a significant portion of the scholastic and achievement awards at local schools.”

 Playing Bingo -Betty Aegen standing. Michele LeBlanc

Now... Let’s play BINGO! The evening that I joined the game, there were about 150 people present with lots of room in the 2 rooms (main and overflow rooms). Sound was great, plus they had overhead monitors to show the called numbers. In the midst of the excitement and eagerness of the players getting seated and securing their favorite cards, a charming, energetic 84-year-old woman, Betty Aegan, was buzzing around ensuring the operations were intact and getting ready for future pay-offs to the winners.

Betty and Robert Aegan, a Veteran family, transferred from North Carolina to Statesboro. They bought the building, received their licenses, and became the founders of the ‘American Legion Charity BINGO.' 

“That was more than 40 years ago,” Mrs. Betty said. “My husband would call the numbers, and I did the payoffs for BINGO winners," she smiled!

Asking her “Why Tuesday night?,” she replied, “That's a good day," and she smiled again. Mrs. Betty said, “You can have a good night for $12-$15, including something from the concession, which ranges anywhere from $1-$2.00.”

The pot ranges from $60-$70 for ‘early bird’ wins to a jackpot of $250-$600, depending on the crowd. "Sometimes we have a 'beginner's luck' winner,” Mrs Betty whispered. ”One woman won $600+ -- first time visitor!”

 American Legion Auxiliary running the concession/kitchen. Michele LeBlanc

The concession/kitchen is totally managed by the American Legion Auxiliary. Hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, chips, candy, cold beverages, etc., are there to enjoy at a reasonable cost. Sometimes an auxiliary volunteer brings homemade cupcakes -- now that is special! They raise money that assists Veterans in local nursing homes, the Dublin VA Hospital, and our local VA Clinic by providing snacks, clothing items, and other supplies.

“From the BINGO staff to the kitchen staff, we are all volunteers who willingly give our time each week,” Godwin added.

John Daube, Senior Vice Commander, is the cashier and card distributor. Cards are $12 for the ‘early bird,’ and $20 for nine games for regular BINGO. He said, “A few players come early to get their ‘good’ cards. It's a meeting place to enjoy people and enjoy themselves."

Bobby Godwin, Junior Vice Commander Service, and Bob Marsh, Finance Officer, volunteering. Michele LeBlanc

The American Legion Family is composed of The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, and the Sons of The American Legion.

Mrs. Betty added, ”We help our own," referring to Veterans, their families, and children. The profits of BINGO are a 50/50 split between players and Veteran families. There are over 2,000 Veterans in Bulloch County. Wow!

The American Legion BINGO is OPEN to the public. NO charge to come in -- only to ‘play and eat.’ They recommend you come early to get good parking, good seating, and good cards. It is a busy place enjoyed by many.

If you want to know more about how you can support the American Legion Dexter Allen post 90, you can contact them by email at [email protected] or call 912-681-6262

BINGO is played 49 Tuesdays per year from 6:30-7:00pm at the Legion. (Exceptions are Thanksgiving week, Christmas, and New Year's!)

“Come by for some fun,” said Godwin, “You might WIN some money and make new friends.”

This will be an exciting Senior Moment! BINGO!