BANGS — Cleaning out her home in Ventura, Calif. recently, 75-year-old Pam Erwin figured a gavel in her possession would mean more to the American Legion Post 308 in Bangs than it does to her.

The gavel, as far as Erwin knows, was the first one ever used in the American Legion Lynn Snow Post 308 in Bangs, which was founded in 1953.

Erwin is the granddaughter of the post’s namesake, Lynn Snow, who graduated from Bangs High School in 1914. Snow entered the Army in 1918 and died of tuberculosis in 1924. He is buried at Mukewater Cemetery.

Thanks to Erwin, the gavel is back in the possession of the American Legion post in Bangs. Erwin contacted the post recently and offered to mail the gavel. It arrived recently in the mail and is being placed in a frame, post chaplain Bob Contreras said. The framed gavel will be displayed on a wall in post hall.

“It’s been in my family for years and years,” Erwin said by phone.

In a letter to the post dated April 16, Erwin explained, “at the age of 75, I am downsizing and moving from California to Missouri. Downsizing means you have to get rid of a lot of stuff out of your house.

“The one thing I did not want to throw away was a gavel given to my grandmother (Lily Thompson Snow) all those long years ago.”

Erwin said the gavel was among items passed on to her when her parents died.

The Bangs post’s secretary, Verda Gravell, said she was the person who took Erwin’s call. “She asked me if we’d be interested in (the gavel) and of course I said ‘yes,’” Gravell said. “She followed up and mailed it.”

Contreras looked up information about the post’s namesake and discovered an excerpt from “A Perspective of Bangs History — the Snows,” written by Cleon Snow Green, the sister of Lynn Snow, in 1984.

According to the excerpt:

After graduating from Bangs High School in 1914, Snow entered Texas A&M College, paying his way by clearing the family orchard and selling fruit.

Snow graduated in 1918 with a degree in civil engineering. Almost immediately, he was commissioned into the Army. During his service, Snow contracted tuberculosis and died after years of fighting the disease.

He was buried at Mukewater Cemetery on Christmas Day. 

“It was really neat,” Contreras said of receiving the gavel. “You don’t really know how these things started, and then you see how it all came to be. It was exciting. Here it is 65 years after the fact when the post was created, and this thing would just come out of nowhere, and we’d get the original gavel that was presented to Lynn Snow’s wife.

“How do things like this happen? We’re very excited to get it. You come to this building and you never think about who it’s named for, how he related to the community.”

Contreras said the 75-member post “exists to serve. We serve quietly.”

He said the American Legion is a place “for the community to come and kind of gather and fellowship. But it also generates money to help a lot of causes.”

In addition to supporting veterans, the post supports other organizations and causes including volunteer fire departments, a food pantry, Wreaths Across America, cemetery associations, the Veterans Assistance Fund, West Texas Rehab, Project Graduation, youth sports, the youth fair associations and other nonprofit organizations, Contreras said. 

The post also provides scholarships to veterans’ descendants, donates money to high school graduates who are entering the military, furnishes cemetery flags and provides someone to play Taps at veterans’ funerals, he said.