Arbutus American Legion prepares for Mitt Romney's visit

As of Tuesday afternoon, Chuck Catterton had only about 25 hours before he would experience "one of the high points" of his two years as commander of Dewey Lowman American Legion Post 109.

At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Arbutus resident's post on Old Sulphur Spring Road will open its doors for a town hall forum with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the front-running Republican presidential nominee.

"I expect our halls to be filled," Catterton said, noting the hall's capacity is 300. "I also expect there will be quite a few more people in the parking lot waiting to see him."

Rallies for former Gov. Robert Ehrlich and Republican presidential candidate John McCain in previous election years at Dewey Lowman brought "tremendous turnout," Catterton said.

Catterton said he was told that Ehrlich, the chairman of Maryland for Romney 2012, recommended the site to Romney's campaign, which then contacted the legion.

In preparation for the event, the Secret Service inspected the building and surrounding area, Catterton said.

The post plans to fly 42 American flags along its Avenue of Flags for tomorrow's event, Catterton said.

"People shouldn't take this as an endorsement of Mitt Romney or any other politician who may come up here and rent our facilities," Catterton said. "Any presidential candidate is an honor to host."

In addition to the honor, the event benefits the post in a number of ways, Catterton said.

"Our hall would have been idle, but now it's being used and we will get a payment for that," Catterton said. "Really, there's a lot of people who don't know we're back here, so word will get out."

"I think it's good for people to see this. It's a good way for people to get involved in the elections," said Catterton, a Vietnam veteran. "We are free. We have the right to vote. And I hope everybody uses that right to vote."

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