North Branch Post #85
By Ron Rollins, Adjutant
Membership Meeting: Dec 14th @ 7PM
Auxiliary Meeting: Dec 14th @ 7:30PM
SAL Meeting: Dec 21st @ 6:00PM
Coffee Talk with the CVSO: Dec 21st @ 9:AM
Rick Hals, Post Commander – Greetings to all and I hope everyone is well and everybody had a great Thanksgiving Holiday. Things are going great at the post, Carene has started up the bean bag games on Fridays and it is picking up the sales and getting people together again.
We have the new pull tab booth coming in the next several weeks, with the bar to follow. The Legion family is sponsoring a Santa Claus Day on Saturday Dec. 4th from 1 to 4 P.M.
The next membership meeting is on Dec. 14th at 7:00 P.M. Remember the CVSO, Bryan Brown will be the Legion on Dec. 21st with Coffee Talk starting at 9:00 A.M. Wishing all a merry and safe Holidays!
Michelle Still, Auxiliary President – The school supplies project was a success! Our American Legion Family donated approximately $120 worth of school supplies to Phoenix Academy. The school was very happy to receive the variety of items. I want to thank everyone who helped with donations of items or money for the supplies. We do so much together for our community. I wish you a very, Merry Christmas
Jim Hunt, SAL Commander – Greetings and Happy holidays! The SAL is having a member appreciation dinner on December 21st starting at 6PM. We will hand out continuous membership awards as well. This event will be paid from our tips from Omelet breakfasts and Midsummer days. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you there!
Randy Koivisto, Past Commander –
Cemetery grave stone project update: The veteran’s headstones at the Sunrise Cemetery are looking presentable as of this summer. The project was started in 2017, and next year will be the first where it doesn’t appear any chemical will have to be applied. This was the second year for treating the headstones at the cemetery in Taylors Falls. They are coming along nicely, and with the help of member Myles Gunia, armed with a plastic bristled brush, they will be up to par sooner. The chemical used is the same as the product used at Arlington National Cemetery, and the White House.
Take time to visit both sites. You will find Civil War vets buried among more current members. You’ll find no better place in the county for quiet reflection than at the Sunrise Cemetery. The setting among the huge white pines is remarkable.
Our November 5th Red Cross blood drive was very successful. The appointments were all booked, and 38 units were collected. That had a potential of saving 114 lives. Please note that the next drive will be held on Friday, February 4th, 9am – 3pm. You can reserve a spot by going online to the Red Cross website.
On Veteran’s Day our color guard consisting of Post 85 members, and those of local VFW Post 6424 attended three events at North Branch Schools. The day started by greeting the middle school kids as they entered the school and was followed by VFW Post 6424 commander Larry Lattimore leading students and staff by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom. That was followed by a ceremony in the high school gym, composed of a great marching display provided by the cadets from the Jr. Air Force ROTC program, followed by an inspiring speech by program instructor, Col. Paul Johnson. Next stop was to the high school auditorium where we were treated to a variety of patriotic songs provided by the 5th graders from the Sunrise School. Our color guard joined with the AF JR.ROTC color guard to present the colors. If you need evidence that patriotism is alive and well in our community, just attend one of these events to see first-hand the outstanding job our school system is doing to help produce decent, upstanding, and respectful young citizens.
Veteran’s Memorial update: I wish I had better news to pass along, but our city council, with one exception, has decided to make a production out of our simple request for a yes, or no, for our planned project in Central Park. The proposal was to move and upgrade the current memorial on the site.
The city has announced that they will be posting a survey online, and on Facebook, running from December 10th through January 7th. There will also be a public meeting to be held at the Lakes Region EMS building on Tuesday, January 18th, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm to discuss the project. The mayor and several council members say they unsure of exactly what was proposed for the site, but the presentation by the committee was clear. The objections raised to date include, but are not limited to, the following.
The memorial will reduce available space for the annual events in the park.The Chamber of Commerce has stated that it will not impact their planned events. As most people know, we are the entity that puts on the annual Midsummer Festival, and the carnival company that we hire has stated that it would be no problem for them.
The memorial will impact kids on the playground and basketball courts. ( offered up was a plan to interview school age kids to see what they thought of the idea)The planned site for the memorial is between the present gazebo and highway 95. The proposal is for a site with a 60 ft. diameter circle, or something very close to that, which will not in any way adversely affect those activities in the back of the park.
Concern by the council was about possible future expansion.The plan is to honor all veterans, regardless of when they served. No expansion is anticipated. While we can’t predict the future, It’s not in our current plans.
Concern from the council about traffic noise.Our position is that the purpose of this memorial is to remind those passing by to not forget the sacrifices made by those that served, and those that paid the ultimate price. The main street site is in a high traffic area, and would fit the purpose perfectly. If you want a quiet place to pay your respects, the aforementioned cemeteries are where you should journey to.
Our post has served North Branch veterans, and our community since 1919! We allow free space for other civic organizations to meet in our facility. While many communities have canceled their annual celebrations due to lack of volunteers, we have produced our Midsummer Festival for 95 years. We sponsor awards for our local law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency responders. We support our local students with numerous scholarships, and the Air Force Jr. ROTC program, along with the Boys and Girls State programs.
We deserve better treatment than what we are receiving from the city.
Randy Koivisto – Past Commander
Ron Rollins, Adjutant – Well, I’m hoping everyone is enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers and finished up with their Christmas shopping (Bahaha!). As we wind down 2021, let us reflect on where we’ve come and how well our Post has bounced back from the Covid Pandemic of 2021. From all events being shut down to being nearly fully opened. As with any other business or organization, workers are short. It is no different for our volunteer organization. We have many programs that are lacking leadership. I see the same people every year working the same programs, most working multiple programs within the Legion. Although, great for consistency, I’m also seeing burn-out.
While you are reflecting on the last year, consider your time availability to assist with some program in the American Legion. What can we be involved in in 2022? Well, here are some things we have and need help with:
American Legion Riders Liaison (membership required)
SAL liaison (SAL membership required)
Scholarship selection committees
Boys State activities
Girls State activities (Auxiliary program)
Public Relations Committee
Officer positions (i.e. Chaplain, 2nd Vice Cmdr, Sgt at Arms, Judge Advocate, Historian are all currently open positions)
Midsummer Planning, Staffing
This is just to name just a few. If you are able to take some time out of your week to volunteer to our fellow veterans, children, or community. We would like to have many doing a little work rather than a few doing much of the work of the Legion. If you are interested in a program or want to hear more contact Comdr Rick Hals, or myself.
On Friday, November 19th Post #85, teamed up with the Chisago County Veteran Service Office and distributed donated hamburger to veterans around Chisago County. It was great to see the smiles on these veteran’s faces to see VSO Bryan Brown show up on their doorstep. We are truly blessed to have dedicated people as he and Wendy Kowalke serving us as well as they do.
Pictured above: Randy Koivisto Post #85/Van Driver, Ron Rollins Post#85 Adjutant, Chisago County Veteran, CVSO Bryan Brown
Reminder: Midwinter Conference will be held on January 8, 2022 at Anoka Post #102. For more information visit the District 10 website http://www.mntenthdistrict.org/, or MNtenthdistrict on Facebook.
Let’s not forget our membership renewals. North Branch Post #85 is at 70% of goal. We need 67 more renewals to reach goal. If you have not renewed yet, send them in, or you may drop them off with the bartender or even better, in the mailbox just outside the meeting room at the Legion Hall.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
Please watch the website and/or Facebook page for upcoming events.
Remember, “You Are the Legion”