Local veterans groups recap 2015

A year ago, In January 2015, VFW Post 9599 and American Legion Post 11 merged as a united veterans group for the Jefferson area.

Their most significant project during 2015 was to reestablish, renovate, and resurrect the building on the east side of the courthouse square where members of both organizations meet. With that goal in mind, they held seven joint fundraiser meals, three raffles, and one silent auction during 2015. The VFW Auxiliary also contributed with their efforts to the fundraisers.

During 2015, the roof was resealed with funds designated by the county supervisors from the Dreyfus fund, and remodeled the meeting and storage areas with a Home Depot grant of $2,000.

On February 17, VFW and American Legion members hosted Senator Joni Ernst, a veteran herself, as she attended a briefing about how Greene County implemented the Home Base Iowa initiative. Jim Andrew, an American Legion member, was instrumental in developing the program and served as emcee and presenter of the program.

The veterans continued their ongoing relationship with the young people of the community.

  • American Legion Post 11 and VFW Post 9599 hosted the local Scouts and their families for an evening meal on Aug. 10. Afterwards Scoutmaster Leader Scott Johnson was presented with a check for $500 on behalf of Boy Scout Troop 534. The veteran groups have relied on Troop 534 over the years to assist them with their local civic duties.
  • The veterans also donated color guard patches to the Boy Scouts. The scouts faithfully assist the veterans with color guard ceremony at all home Greene County Ram football games.
  • American Legion Post 11 held the American Legion Essay Contest “What the Flag Means to Me” for fifth graders. In December, three students were awarded for their essays: Isabella Schroeder won first place and $50, Kali Nelson took second and $25, and Alexa Peters placed third and won $10.
  • VFW Post 9599 held the Patriots Pin Essay Contest, “What Freedom Means to Me”, for 6th through 8th graders. In December, three students were awarded for their essays: Andrea Grundon won first place and $100, Avery Bardole took second place and $50, and Cheyanne Ferguson won third place and $25.

The veterans served the community by supporting the Avenue of Flags at the Jefferson Municipal Cemetery and by providing color guards at community events.

  • American Legion Post 11 donated $1,390 in memory of longtime post commander Bill Ecklund to the city of Jefferson to help replace worn flags on display at the Jefferson Cemetery each Memorial Day. The money had been given to the local Legion post on behalf of Ecklund, who passed away in 2013.
  • The veterans volunteer their color guard and/or honor guard services for various community events throughout the year, such as the Bell Tower Festival 0pening ceremony and parade, Relay for Life, Memorial Day, and all at home football games.

The veterans honored military veterans.

  • The veterans furnished a memorial marker for Verle Bennett, last surviving Greene County WW II POW.
  • In March, Bill Kendall’s family hosted his 80th birthday party. In attendance were all of Bill’s 37 family members. Bill Kendall is a former VFW post commander.

Any military veteran who would like information about joining either the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars can contact Don Ihnken at 515-386-4933 or 515-370-3140.

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