Post Talk

North Branch American Legion Post 85 - Post Talk

North Branch Post #85

  • Membership Meeting: April 12th @ 7:00PM
  • Auxiliary Meeting: April 12th @ 7:00PM
  • SAL Meeting: April 19th @ 6:00PM
  • Legion Riders Meeting: April 7th @ 7:00PM
  • Coffee Talk with the CVSO: April 19th @ 9:AM

Rick Hals, Post Commander

Will we ever see spring?

On a brighter note, we had a tremendous turn out for our Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner on March 12h. I want to thank everyone that helped with doing prep, serving and the clean-up.

The weather does not show it but Carene has started some of the Midsummer celebration preparations, which will be here very quickly. Also the Chisago County fair board has asked if our post and all the posts in the county would like to ride in the Chisago County Fair parade in Rush City as this year’s Grand Marshals. We will discuss this at the April 12th meeting. Hope to see a full meeting room on the 12th of April!

Michelle Still, Auxiliary President

March is Children and Youth month. However, we do things for our local children all year long. We offer scholarships and we had a successful school supply drive last fall. The supplies were donated to our local school and they were glad to receive them. Helping our children is another way your dues and support go to help the community. Thank you!

Kelly Fedun, Auxiliary Membership Director

Do you have a family member or friend who keeps talking about becoming an American Legion Auxiliary member? Well, now is the time! If they value patriotism, responsible citizenship, volunteerism and advocacy for veterans, the military, and their families, they will feel right at home in the ALA. They can educate school children about our nation’s flag, assemble care packages to send to our troops, or volunteer at a local VA Medical Center. As a member of a local Auxiliary unit, they’ll have a ready-made support system and many hands-on opportunities to serve the ALA mission. In addition to the annual membership dues, there are many ways to participate in making a difference in the lives of those we serve.

Eligibility requirements for ALA Membership:

  • Women who of their own right are eligible for membership in the American Legion.
  • Grandmothers, mothers, sisters, spouses and direct and adopted female descendants of:
    • Members of The American Legion
    • All men and women who served in the following:
      • WWI (4/6/1917-11/11/1918)
      • Any time after 12/7/1941
        • Global War on Terror
        • Gulf War
        • Panama
        • Lebanon/Grenada
        • Vietnam
        • Korea
        • WWII
        • Other Conflicts

Ask us today if you’d like more information or visit the ALA website at

Our Mission

In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who served by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace, and security.

Jim Hunt, SAL Commander

In March, 3 SAL members joined the Color/Honor Guard for Post #85. Charlie Hult, Chris Fedun, and Robert Koep have been measured and we are now waiting on the patches to be applied, pants to be hemmed, and boots and they will be in the ranks. Although, since we have not been in the military, a little training with the Jr ROTC will be helpful. This is ground breaking for our members to be able to step up to this standard of respect for our veterans. I’m sure as these three become engaged it will spark interest in more members participating. I have been told that the Osseo Post Color Guard is operated by the
SAL, so it is not totally unheard of. Good Luck and do us proud!

Officers positions are not meant to be lifetime positions. New ideas spark from new people. The SAL will be conducting elections soon and would like to see active participation among our members. Nominations will be held in April and May, elections will be conducted in June and new officers will take over in July. Hope to see you at the meeting to ‘throw your hat in the ring’!

We would also like to acknowledge our new members coming out of the Legion Riders. We look forward to meeting and greeting you at an SAL meeting.

Camille Wentz, Legion Riders Director

The Riders held its second meeting on Thursday, March 3rd with introductions of new members. The group discussed proposed patch format changes and agreed to move forward, updating patches to one round patch and one rocker.

Ron explained the upcoming officer nomination and voting process and stated the need for a nomination for Secretary. The group talked about forming a sub-group to review the by-laws and constitution for the Legion Riders.

I attended the Forest Lake American Legion Riders monthly breakfast and was invited to attend their meeting held that afternoon. At the meeting we discussed the continuation of the Christmas in July Ride along with joining efforts to support each other. It was proposed that North Branch and Forest Lake combine for dinner rides and alternate the planning between the two groups.

The Donnie Smith Bike show was a great success! I created a video that was played on two tv’s at the American Legion Riders booth. I helped Department Riders Director Matt Berens set up the booth prior to the show and Ron manned the booth for a full day. Watch the American Legion Riders video played at the show!

We would like to welcome the six (6) new Legion Riders who have joined the North Branch Chapter #85: Rick Betsigner (Legion), Jeri Betsinger (Auxiliary), Kevin Kiernan (SAL), Randy Sprecher (SAL), Jake Williams (SAL), and Tim Wentz (SAL).

Randy Koivisto, Past Commander

Veteran’s Memorial update

Final design choices are still be considered, and we hopefully will have it agreed on before out next update. There has been positive action in that direction.

The Red Cross Blood Drive for May has been cancelled due to lack of staffing by the Red Cross.

The Scholarship Committee will be meeting this month to choose the 5 recipients of our $1000 each scholarships, to be awarded by Commander Hals in May.

After almost 10 years of driving the county veteran’s van, I’ve decided to retire. Applications are being taken at the government center in Center City. Please contact our county veteran’s service officer Bryan Brown, at 651-213-5680 if interested. Feel free to contact me for my take on the job. 612-718-5609, Randy.

Ron Rollins, Adjutant

Easter is almost here. The day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion. I hope everyone has a meaningful Easter with family and friends.

Roger Nelson earns 65 Year Pin!

On March 22nd lifelong resident Roger Nelson was awarded his 65 year membership Pin at the Legion Post. Mr. Nelson missed the awards night due to an illness and was awarded to him by Past Commander Randy Koivisto. At 90 years old he is still volunteering to serve other veterans.

Congratulation Mr. Nelson!!!


On Friday March 25, I had the honor of being the guest speaker for the 2022 Annual Air Force JROTC Military Ball.

When I was first approached I was asked to speak to “the kids”. With my experience as a School Resource Officer I thought “I’ve done this before.” Well, to my surprise the Commons Area at the high school was packed with uniforms. I then saw different unit patches from what turned out to be 3 other schools that were also attending. I then began to notice Air Force Colonels, Lt. Colonels, and Master Sergeants. A little nervousness then set in.

We had formal dinner, which included a complete MIA/POW Missing Man Table Ceremony (which I had never seen the complete ceremony). After dinner I spoke to the students about “Integrity”. I was amazed at the attention I had and the reverence in the room. I’d like to think this was due to the dynamic speaker but, we all know better.

After I was finished, I was gifted with a Jr ROTC t-shirt, and Unit patches from the North Branch High School Unit, which will be a forever treasure.

After all the formalities, all the students and staff went to the gym and had a dance just for them. It was fun to hear that the students planned the whole ball and were encouraged to interact with students from the other schools. I saw in this environment, they were not just students – They were ROTC!

Congratulations goes out to Col. Paul Johnson & MSgt. John Barrett for a job well done. Your doing FANTASTIC work with these students!!

***It should be noted that Col. Johnson is a member of American Legion Post#85.

We have several open Officer positions:

  • Chaplain
  • Judge Advocate
  • Sgt. At Arms
  • Service Officer
  • Historian

This month I will highlight the last two positions since nominations are here.

Judge Advocate

The judge advocate supplies professional advice in the conduct of post business or to procure proper counsel. This officer is the guardian of the constitutional form of post government. The judge advocate can also supply valuable assistance to other post committees and officers, and should maintain contact with local
government officials. The judge advocate commonly has the duty, with others, of auditing post financial accounts. This is done annually, usually before the election of officers, or more frequently at their discretion.

Remember, this is the technical job description from National. Duties in our post are slightly different. This is one of the most important, yet rarely called upon positions in our post. A person will need to be a “go to” for legal advice for the post. You do not have to be a lawyer to be this officer. This position will most likely work very closely with the Department and National Judge Advocate on some (or all) issues.

Post Service Officer

A good service officer should be retained. The value of a post service officer increases with length of service. As the service officer’s reputation grows, so will the value of the organization in the veteran community. The job requires a competent, dedicated and organized person, preferably one is readily available to provide assistance. The post service officer is responsible for bringing awareness to all veterans and their dependents the rights and benefits granted them by law. The post service officer also must know how to access and utilize the expert services available through The American Legion state and federal government agencies, and local community agencies. The job requires timely submission of information to full time professionals so veterans and their dependents are adequately represented. The service officer’s report should be a standard part of every meeting. The American Legion maintains a full staff of appeals representatives in the Washington, D.C., and Indianapolis headquarters offices. A small mobile staff of field representatives provides a constant flow of information concerning conditions in VA hospitals, domiciles and regional offices. Other American Legion representatives assist veterans who petition DoD boards for review of less than fully honorable discharges or dismissal from the military. They also assist veterans in obtaining deserved decorations and medals. Department service officers are certified and can provide necessary claims forms. Additional information comes through department publications, National Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation bulletins, memorandums and VA pamphlets. Many departments conduct training for post service officers to gain knowledge and contacts, and all have trained and certified service officers in VA regional offices and hospitals. With most of today’s veteran population composed of those who served during the Vietnam War era and after, the work of the post service officer continues to be vital. These former service members are likely to not be fully versed in veterans benefits and programs. Meanwhile, older veterans need advice on how to integrate possible benefits into their retirement plans. Dependents should be contacted as soon as feasible after a veteran’s death. Every Congress considers legislative matters of importance to veterans and to The American Legion. Working in cooperation with the post legislative committee, the post service officer can aid the national organization’s legislative efforts. Remember, this is the technical job description from National. Duties in our post are slightly different.

Keep in my that nominations for all leadership positions will be April and May, election in June and new officers take over July 1st. American Legion Officers positions are not meant to be a lifetime appointments. If people step up with new ideas we balance the ship going forward. Is it easy? That depends on your perspective, most would say no. But, if people are not willing to participate, our post would never grow. We need change to stretch, just as our veterans do.

You may be the next big breakthrough for our Post. Look back and see all the changes we have endured in the past. That leadership has made
us who we are today.

Are you the future?

Come to the next meeting and be the future! It would be the joy of my heart to have a full complement of leadership for the upcoming election.

Upcoming events:

  • April 1st- April fool’s Day
  • April 2nd- National PB & J Day
  • April 17th- Easter Sunday
  • April 20th- National Husband Day!
  • April 30th- District 10 Training- North Branch Legion.
  • June 3-4- 10 District Convention at Milaca Post 178.
  • June 16-19th- Midsummer Weekend.
  • June 24-26th- SAL Detachment Convention at Legionville
  • July 14th-16th- 2022 Department Convention in Willmar, MN.

As noted above The North Branch American Legion will be hosting a district-wide training session on “”, “Reports & Deadlines”, and “How to run a meeting” and we are also trying to put Public Relations in there also. This will run from 10:00am-2:00pm. Lunch will be catered from Subway. The target audience will be Adjutants, Membership Directors, Commanders (to include Presidents and Directors), and being it is so close to elections any member that may be interested in one of these positions may also be included. We hope to get a good response and possibly do more trainings in the future.

The reason the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines bicker amongst themselves is that they don’t speak the same language. For instance, Take the simple phrase “secure the building”.

  • The Army will post guards around the place.
  • The Navy will turn out the lights and lock the doors.
  • The Marines will kill everybody inside and set up a headquarters.
  • The Air Force will take out a 5 year lease with an option to buy.

We had a great meeting with the CVSO in March. He answered the most common questions he receives from veterans. Hope to see you later this month.

One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”
– John F. Kennedy

All Color/Honor Guard Members:

The Color Guard is requesting that former members that have uniforms and equipment and no longer intent to participate, that you please return your equipment to the Legion Post so they may re-issue it to other in-coming members.

Volunteer Opportunity!

The Legion is looking for volunteers for Midsummer events. We could sure use some more help. Even a couple of hours on any day would be very helpful. Set-up, Clean up, helping the Auxiliary cooking in the park and/or at the dance, security or many other duties that need to be covered to pull off this celebration. If you have any time to share please contact Commander Rick Hals, or Club manager, Carene Johnson to see where you can fit in.

Today, I am going to start a 2-part series on the Preamble, what it means. This is stated at the opening of every American Legion meeting. I am breaking it down in two months to save some space here.

“The American Legion Preamble”, What does it mean?

For God and Country, we associate ourselves together for the following purposes:
To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America;
to maintain law and order;
to foster and perpetuate a 100-percent Americanism;
to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in all wars;
to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation;
to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses;
to make right the master of might; to promote peace and good will on earth;
to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy;
to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.

Each of these clauses of the Preamble, though brief, has a world of meaning.

• FOR GOD AND COUNTRY, WE ASSOCIATE OURSELVES TOGETHER…This is the introduction. It declares that The American Legion recognizes the influence of Almighty God in all worthwhile endeavors-and declares the allegiance of Legionnaires to both God and Nation. First things have been put first. All that follows is in conformity.

• TO UPHOLD AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA…The Constitution of the United States is the written bulwark of our free way of life and representative government. It is our guarantee of liberty, freedom, justice and democracy. Members of The American Legion bore arms went to wars-to defend and uphold this document of freedom.

• TO MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER…Without law and order, liberty would become license. Law and order protect our pursuit of happiness, one of our God-given rights. Members of The American Legion served in wars to uphold law and order among nations. It is just as important to maintain the due processes of law in our domestic affairs. It binds Legionnaires to obey the laws of the land and to support the constituted authorities in enforcing those laws. It means the citizen must never take the law into his own hands!

• TO FOSTER AND PERPETUATE A 100 PERCENT AMERICANISM…Americanism is the gist of the American ideals of freedom, justice, individual rights and unfenced-in opportunities. It embraces all the freedoms we cherish and all the rights that are guaranteed to us. It is the very opposite of hatred, bigotry and intolerance. Americanism is the creed that has blazed the world-wide trail for justice, fair play, decency, belief in God, private enterprise, universal education, and progress in all human endeavors. It puts a premium on the virtues of loyalty, patriotism, hard work and thrift.

• TO PRESERVE THE MEMORIES AND INCIDENTS OF OUR ASSOCIATIONS IN ALL WARS…Service in defense of America is the greatest experience in the lifetimes of all veterans. Recalling the highlights of that service means more than flashbacks to tense moments of excitement and danger in battle, the grime of
muddy trenches, the perils of sub-infested oceans, the combats in the wild blue yonder. It means also the un-erasable recollection of the comradeship, the bravery of pals, the teamwork, the sacrifices, the miseries and hardships of military campaigns shared in common. It means the bond that binds all ex-servicemen and women together in mutual affection, respect and gratitude. It also means keeping green forever the memories of the supreme sacrifices of gallant American patriots, sacrifices necessary to the winnings of wars. It means faithful annual observance of Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Next month I will complete the Preamble and its meaning.

I will be introducing an employee, post officer, or member each month to help recognize each other and let you see the people that make the Legion function. This month I will introduce you to Sharon Swenson. A former employee that escaped into retirement before this issue was released. Sharon has been the bookkeeper at the North Branch Legion for 13 years and always behind the scenes. She, like her husband, member Kevan Swenson, never wants to be in the limelight. They are both content being in the background being the worker bee.

Well, work she has. Aside from, being the bookkeeper she is also Carene Johnson’s “right hand lady” during Midsummer doing whatever needs to be done.
The Color Guard knows Sharon’s name very well, as she makes an egg bake for breakfast every Memorial Day before a hard day of services at many local cemeteries.

Sharon will still be involved in activities at the Legion. Only now she doesn’t have to do it- she gets to do what she wants.

Thank you Sharon for being such a great asset to the North Branch American Legion and we know- you will continue to be!

We just want to thank Sharon for her years of service to each and every one of us. If you see her, thank her for all she has done for you!

As always,

Remember, YOU are the Legion