Post Talk

Post Talk
North Branch Post #85

January 2023

  • Membership Meeting: Jan. 10th@ 7:00PM
  • Auxiliary Meeting:  No meeting this month
  • SAL Meeting: Jan. 17th @ 7:00PM
  • Legion Riders Meeting:  Jan. 5th @ 7:00PM
  • Coffee Talk with the CVSO: Jan. 17th @ 9:00AM

Rick Hals, Commander

Greetings and wishing all a prosperous and happy New Year! As 2022 comes to and end, I was thinking of all the terrific things took place at Post 85.

One thing that we all tackled was Covid, then we overcame a few problems at midsummer and ended with very good celebration.

The post has new Gaming Manager, Mike Johnson early this fall. I would like to personally thank Glenn Pierce for many years as our  gaming manager.

The Post did some upgrades this year:

  1. The Hall was painted,
  2. We installed a new pull tab booth,
  3. A new mini bar was built for the hall,
  4. A new bar top was built and coming in early March, and
  5. possibly several more projects if we remain busy and see the need.

The Legion’s Awards Dinner is Jan 10th.

Social Hour: (1700hrs) 5PM
Dinner served: (1800hrs) 6PM
Meetings/Awards: (1900hrs) 7PM

It will be catered by the Dave Reider Family, who have done such a fine job for us in past years. The awards and meeting will follow the meal.

The Legion has made a $25,000.00 donation towards the Veterans Memorial to be constructed in Central Park in North Branch.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone on Jan. 10th.

Ed Chromey, Chaplain, Post/Legion Riders

As we reflect upon all that has happened in the past twelve months, let us never forget that GOD has been present in our lives every moment of our days.

“Jesus Listens” – Sara Young

I hope this prayer for today will help you to have a great New Year.

Michelle Still, Auxiliary President

Santa Day was a huge success. We entertained over 100 kids and over 25 American Legion Family members helped! They kids were treated to crafts, our special flag punch board for goodie bags filled with treats and a prize, cookies and hot chocolate for everyone, and, of course, a visit with Santa Claus. Thank you to all the volunteers, who had a great time, as well as the kids.

Just a reminder: No Auxiliary meeting will be held in January. Be back in February 14th.

Charlie Hult, SAL Commander

I first want to say that I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with their friends and families and I am looking forward to a wonderful New Year’s 2023.

We have two events coming up in February. First, is the 10th District Sweetheart Rally on February 11th @11:00am. Second is the SAL Omelet Breakfast which will be Sunday February 12th @ 0800-noon. We will have more information coming out on both events later on in January.

I was not able to attend the January meeting because I had had a knee replacement surgery, but I just want to welcome Troy Zambrano who has been a member for a couple of months and looking forward to him being an active member of the SAL. I also want to thank Vice Commander Darren Lemmermann for filling in for me in the January meeting. We usually give out 2 – $500 scholarships and it’s exciting to say this year we are going to be giving out 2- $1000 scholarships to two North Branch High School seniors.

I think going into 2023 will be an exciting year for the SAL as we move forward with trying to increase membership and do more projects within the community.

In closing, I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Years.

Camille Wentz, Riders Director

  • Legion Riders Christmas Party:

The Riders hosted a very successful Christmas party on Friday, December 9th in the Legion Hall. We had at least 40 in attendance and tons of food which was mostly purchased and prepared by all of our Riders. The family we sponsored for Christmas was extremely grateful for all of the gifts we purchased. Because Veterans on the Lake matched our donation, we were able to also present the family with a week-long stay there, once the husband/father returns from deployment.

  • Legion Riders participation in Santa Day:

The legion Riders participated in their first Santa Day program. It was a very fun time to see all the smiles on all the children, and adults as well. It was very well organized and we so enjoyed seeing the Legion Family working together. We had lots of fun and look forward to returning next year.

  • Legion Riders visit to Ecumen:

We visited Ecumen on Sunday, December 11th where we were blessed to visit with 19 veterans and their spouses who live there. The 16 Riders in attendance brought sandwiches, cookies, blankets, and personalized stockings stuffed to the max to each Veteran and spouse. Some of us visited with Veterans in the party room while others delivered goodies to the rooms of Veterans not able to make it to the party room. We sang Christmas Carols (only one Veteran asked for ear plugs) and later continued to distribute little gifts to non-veterans in the common areas. It was a truly moving experience for some of us who hadn’t had the opportunity to do something like this before. We hope to continue this effort in the future.

Randy Koivisto, Sgt at Arms

  • Christmas Gifts

On Friday, December 16th, a crew from Post 85 and our NB VFW post 6424 delivered Christmas gifts to veteran’s residing in our local nursing homes. The gifts were patriotic blankets, whose costs were shared by both posts. Those recipients appreciated the visits just as much, if not more, than the gift.

  • Veterans Memorial

The engineering plans are back from the supplier in Ohio and are being presented to the city for approval. This will be the final step prior to the fundraising campaign.

Our post recently made a donation of $25,000 to the project. The Auxiliary and the SAL will also be presenting a check to help kick start the process.

  • January Awards / Dinner meeting

Our annual awards meeting will start with a spaghetti dinner at 6pm, to be followed by the awards portion of the program. Chef Dave Reiter will be doing the cooking for us once again. There will be help also from the Air Force Jr. ROTC cadets, and our local Boy Scout troop. We have invited the VFW to join our gathering. All members of the Legion Family are invited, and can bring a guest at no charge. After the awards presentation, we will hold our normal post monthly meeting. Guests will be invited to leave (Flee!) just prior to the start of the monthly meeting.

Commanders’ reminder: Wear Legion attire including caps for photo’s before dinner. Catherine Eaton Johnson will be our photographer.

  • Blood Drive

Have you been told lately that you are “full of it”? Well, soon we will have a remedy for you! Our next quarterly blood drive is scheduled for Friday, February 3rd, from 9a.m. to 3 p.m. in our hall. Reservations are required. To reserve a spot you can call 1-800-733-2767, or visit RedCrossBlood.ORG. We could use folks to volunteer for a two hour shift (or more). Contact me at if you would like to sign up.

  • Honor Guard

Past commander Ray Pittman passed away from cancer recently. We also lost long time members Skip Solle, and Russ Ramberg. We provided honors at Skip’s funeral, and will be doing the same for Ray and Russ in the near future. We can always use more members for the honor guard. It’s one of the most important services that we offer. Contact me at to sign up or get more info.

  • Scholarships

Our post has committed to offering 5, $1,500 scholarships, to be presented in May at the High School.

Mike Johnson, Gaming Manager

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As we move into 2023, I would like to point out a couple of changes that have been made to the gaming operation and point out some of the changes that are coming soon.

  • There are now two $2 pull-tab boxes and one $3 pull-tab box behind the bar. The bar pull-tab boxes are open during the day Monday-Saturday, prior to the pull-tab booth opening at 4 PM.
  • The pull-tab booth now offers two $1 boxes, two $2 boxes, one $3 box, and one $5 box.
  • The pull-tab booth is now open seven days a week.
  • The pull-tab booth hours are as follows:
    • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM+
    • Monday – Thursday: 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM+
    • Friday – Saturday: 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM+
  • We now have 12 electronic pull-tab devices. These are available any time during normal business hours.
  • Meat Raffle is conducted on Monday’s and Thursday’s and starts at approximately 4:45 PM. Mondays are $1 tickets with a $20 gift card prize and Thursdays are $2 tickets with a $40 gift card prize. We offer gift cards for prizes from several local businesses including: The Hungry Farmer, The Fuse, Tailgaters, Pizza Pub, North Branch Liquors, Merchant’s Cafe, Kaffe Stuga, Peterson’s Mill, and Kwik Trip. A free drink is given to the person who is one number off (Mondays – higher, Thursdays – Lower) for each spin of the paddlewheel.
  • Four new TV’s have been purchased and will be installed in the near future. Three of them will be installed in the hall so during Thursday night bingo in the hall, you will be able to view the bingo software display no matter where you are sitting. The fourth TV will be installed on the South wall of the bar for better viewing of the bingo software display during Saturday night bar bingo.
  • Along with the new TV’s, we are in the process of getting bids to have the Audio/Video throughout the entire building updated.
  • Currently, Thursday night bingo in the hall is at 6:30 PM and Saturday night bar bingo is at 6:00 PM. In the near future, we plan on making some changes to both of the bingo programs. We are looking at changing some games, adding some exciting features, and possible moving to packets as opposed to selling single sheets that are sold in between each game.

Please follow the North Branch American Legion Post 85’s Facebook page. If bad weather is going to force the pull-tab booth to be closed or bingo/meat raffle to be canceled, it will be posted as soon as possible on our Facebook page.

Michael Johnson, Gambling Manager

Ron Rollins, Adjutant


I hope everyone had a delightful Christmas and New Year.

2023. What will the new year bring us this year?

I know motorcycle season is a short 4-5 months away! Keep thinking Spring! Snowmobilers – ENJOY!

I am starting out this year with recruitment on the mind. It is my goal to find at least 10 new members this year. I would like everyone to think with that goal in mind- or even a larger goal.

We will be conducting a membership drive this year that I would hope everyone is willing to participate in. The Legion Family member to recruit the most new members will receive a substantial prize (yet to be determined) by the end of the year. This recruitment can be for either the Legion, Auxiliary, or the Sons of American Legion or any combination therein. Make sure your name is on the bottom of the application when it’s turned in. A running tally will be recorded and at the end of the calendar year we will name a winner. Ready- GO!

The Department Commander, Jennifer Havlick is inviting anyone wishing to be a part of the 8th-10th District Monthly Zoom on the second Wednesday of the month starting at 7PM. The entire Legion Family is invited.

Join Zoom Meeting – 
Meeting ID: 893 9371 3109
Passcode: 810810

If you have any further questions: Contact Adjutant Ron Rollins 651-775-6985 before the date of the call and I will make contact with the Department Adjutant for any clarification.

This month I bring to you another program sponsored by the American Legion: American Legion Boys State which will be held June 11-17, 2023, at St John’s University Campus in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Minnesota American Legion Boys State is a week-long experience of learning about Minnesota government at the local, county and state levels by “doing”. It is a week of intensive study and involvement. The participants will actually organize and participate in the various levels and branches of government in addition to participating in athletics, music, writing for the newspaper or holding leadership positions across all levels of the program. Every boy will participate in the process of city, county and state government. Minnesota Boys State is a program for young men who have just completed their junior year of high school. Highlights of the week include political speakers, mock trials, campaigning, elections, and announcement of the Boys State Governor and State Constitutional Officers.

Unlike a summer or recreational camp, Minnesota Boys State is a week of studying and learning by involvement. However, we do have fun times, too. To illustrate this point, included in this mailing is a schedule of a typical day’s activities so you may see the type of program that is promoted and the pace expected to the citizens. The citizens also have the opportunity for group living. For many, it will be their first exposure to dormitory living and sharing a room. Meals are served cafeteria style. This is quite different from their home environment. This week will be a good preview of college dorm life. The citizens have both an opportunity and a responsibility. The opportunity is one of participating in a program of government with hundreds of other young men from throughout Minnesota. The responsibility is not only spending the week learning as much as he can, but also taking this knowledge and experience back into his school and his community, using it and sharing it with others. If you have any questions concerning Minnesota American Legion Boys State, please contact State Headquarters or your local American Legion Post.

Our staff is an all-volunteer organization comprised of Legionaries, former Boys Stators, teachers, and civic minded citizens from various professions. Combined the staff has decades of experience in instructing the delegates at Boys State and works hard to fulfill the objectives and goals put forth by the American Legion.

Go to our website and find out more about Minnesota Boys State or contact The American Legion Department of Minnesota at

American Legion Department of Minnesota
20 West 12th Street, Room 300-A
St. Paul, MN 55155

Phone: 651-291-1800

Toll-free: 866-259-9163.

The Legion Auxiliary also does a Girls State:

What is Girls State?

ALA Minnesota Girls State is a diverse group of young women who share a common desire to learn. From small towns to urban areas, the citizens’ diverse backgrounds add spirit to the program. The purposes of the ALA Minnesota Girls State program are to provide Americanism and good citizenship training and to inform our participants about the duties, privileges, rights, and responsibilities of government as practiced in a democratic society.

Each June, the ALA Minnesota Girls State “citizens” study the Minnesota city, county, and state governmental processes. Citizens are divided into two fictional political parties gaining knowledge of the operations of a two-party system. They formulate their cities electing the officials and then proceed on to county and state governmental positions. Activities include campaigning, caucusing, debating, and voting. Parliamentary procedures and also used in the process.

This year ALA Minnesota Girls State is a week long session from Sunday June 11th to Saturday June 17th, 2023 at BETHEL UNIVERSITY in St. Paul, MN. For further information go to

Start thinking of summer conventions and conferences. I will be listing them beginning next month. I will be attending the District and Department Convention this year. Dates and times will be posted soon. Come and join me in learning more about the American Legion.

If you wish to be a delegate, attend your meetings and request to be nominated as a delegate-that makes you a voting member for our Post.

The District Mid-Winter Conference will be in Anoka. This is a one-day conference for the Legion Family having their own meetings. This is a great place to start getting active in the American Legion.

Staff Introduction this month is our new Post Gaming Manager, Mike Johnson.

I was born and raised in Stark, MN and attended North Branch Schools.  My junior and senior years of high school I attended Cambridge Community College through the PSEO program and graduated in the year 2000.  Throughout my childhood I enjoyed playing sports, hunting, fishing, swimming, and snowboarding.

Shortly after graduating high school, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.  I attended boot camp at MCRD San Diego and stepped on the yellow footprints on April 9th, 2001, one of a handful of days in my life that I will never forget.  After graduating boot camp, I attended my MOS school at Camp Johnson, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.  After graduating MOS school in September 2001, I was transferred to my permanent duty station, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.  In January of 2003, my unit was deployed to Northern Kuwait in support of what would later become Operation Iraqi Freedom.  After returning from Iraq, I finished my time on active duty in the Marine Corps back at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, being Honorably Discharged on April 8th, 2005.

I have been a Legion & VFW member for 17 years, and a SAL member for 41 years.

I’m currently self-employed as an Independent Catastrophic Insurance Adjuster for my full-time career.  Storm season for me typically runs from around April until October.

My wife Justina and I have been married for almost 21 years.  We have one son, Declan, who just turned three years old.  We also have two dogs, Serene and Harley, both of which are rescues.  We love to travel, spend time with friends and family, and spend time on the lake, whether it’s fishing or jet skiing.

Thank you Mike and welcome aboard- again. If you will see Mike hustling around the Legion doing all things gambling. Please welcome him.

  • Membership Goals:

As of 14 Dec, North Branch Post #85 was at 74% of goal. We need 57 more renewals to reach goal. Let’s get those in.

  • Troop collections:

I will be collecting items thru January to mail to the 257th MP Company (National Guard based in Monticello) who are currently deployed to the southern border. The following are items I am looking for. If you want to donate something similar, feel free. Anything you can help me provide would be appreciated. This will be sent to those Troops in the name of the NORTH BRANCH AMERICAN LEGION FAMILY. I will be collecting these items for the next 30 days. Thank you in advance for your help.

Items to donate:

Reusable water bottles
Blender bottles
Plastic silverware
Ziploc bags (various sizes)
Reusable Tupperware (various sizes)
Dish soap
Paper plates/bowls
Paper towels
Tin foil
Room air fresheners
Hand sanitizer
Laundry detergent
Stress balls
Sani wipes
Click pens
Small extension cords
Power strips
Basic tools (screwdrivers, utility tools, etc)
Peanut butter
Jelly – various flavors
Foods on the go (granola bars, breakfast bars, trail mix, etc.)
Books (with law enforcement topic or storyline)
Decks of cards
Bingo game
Board or other card games
Outdoor games

Also, handwritten thank you notes are also very welcomed.

Upcoming events

  • Jan1st-NEW YEARS DAY- 2023
  • Jan 14th- 10th District Mid-Winter Conference- Anoka Post 102
  • Feb 4th- Dept. Sweetheart Rally- 10:30am, Osseo, MN
  • Feb 11th- District 10 Sweetheart Rally- North Branch, MN
  • March 17-18- SAL Detachment Spring Conference- Rochester, MN
  • March 18-April 22- Legion Family Bowling Tourney- Sundance Lanes, Dayton, MN
  • April 15th- Dept Appreciation Family Gathering, New Prague, MN
  • June 15-18, 2023 MIDSUMMER DAYS
  • July 12-15th- Department Convention, Willmar Conference Center
  • Oct. 12-15th-Minnesota Legion College- Camp Ripley
  • Oct 26-28th- Dept Fall Conference- River’s Edge Conv. Center, St Cloud, MN

Remember, YOU Are the Legion