VFW Post 3167 is asking the Williamsburg City Council to annex it into the city limits, which is a move that could potentially allow the organization to legally sell alcohol.
During Monday’s city council meeting, Mayor Roddy Harrison read a letter from VFW Post 3167 Quarter Master Robert Taylor, who is an Iraq war veteran, requesting that the post be annexed into the city limits.
“We ask the city council for the motion to have VFW Post 3167 be annexed into Williamsburg City limits at this time,” the letter stated.
VFW Post 3167, which is located in Goldbug near Colonel Market, has been in Whitley County since 1979, and has 275 members that live in Whitley County, the letter stated.
The post donates an average of $5,000 – $10,000 annually to many different organizations and schools, such as Williamsburg and Whitley County football, baseball and basketball programs, the Whitley County JROTC and Shop with a Cop.
“(We) try to do our part to help the children in our community and to make a difference from within the county. We help veterans that are in need of relief,” the letter stated.
“Our post helps with needs that may arise, such as, gas money, pay for utilities, rent, etc. Thank you for allowing me to address this issue with you.”
Harrison said there are still a lot of things that need to be done before the annexation can take place, but he thinks those can be completed before the next regularly scheduled council meeting on Nov. 13.
Harrison said that the VFW hasn’t mentioned alcohol sales as a reason for wanting to be annexed into the city.
The VFW has a well-known history of illegally selling alcohol at its facility.
If the VFW is annexed into the city, would Harrison, who also serves as the city’s Alcohol Beverage Control Administrator, consider issuing the group a liquor license especially after a 2016 incident where a drunk driver killed someone after drinking at the VFW?
“If they apply for the license, then we will go through the process for the license,” Harrison said. “I do have the authority to deny that. The one thing with a license is you have guidelines. Those guidelines, that if followed, would probably help.”
On April 13, 2016, Adam Childress purchased and consumed alcohol at the VFW before getting in his vehicle and accidently running over Richard Perkins, who was walking his dog on a sidewalk along US25W. Childress continued driving until he wrecked for a second time a few minutes later.
His blood alcohol level at the time of the accident was 0.30. A person is considered legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of 0.08.
Earlier this year, Childress pleaded guilty to murder and leaving the scene of an accident and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Shortly after the accident, Perkins’ estate filed a lawsuit against Childress and VFW Post 3167 for Perkins wrongful death. The lawsuit is currently pending in Whitley Circuit Court. No trial date has been set.
The VFW closed for several months after the accident, but reopened this past spring and wasn’t allowing alcohol, the group’s attorney, Eugene Siler III, said in April.
Harrison described the Childress situation as a “terrible” incident.
“In my mind and my thinking, if they are in the city and they have to go through the license process, then they have to answer to our guidelines and they have to answer to the state guidelines,” Harrison said.
Harrison said that with an incident like the Childress case, an alcohol license request would be closely examined.
Harrison said he will check to see what type of alcohol license that the group could receive.