St. Stephen American Legion Post 221 History
In early 1958 eighteen local veterans of the St. Stephen area meet at the St. Stephen Catholic Church Hall to apply for a Charter to form a Legion. These men were made up of World War I---World War II---and Korean War veterans. The St. Stephen area at this time was a rural agricultural community. The decision to organize an American Legion Post resulted from the conclusion of these Veterans that the American Legion was the representative Veterans' organization in this country. That conclusion has been proven true as today the American Legion is the largest wartime Veterans' organization with nearly 15,000 local Posts throughout America and over 3 million members who care about America, Veterans, their families and our nation's youth.
At the first meeting in early 1958 the decision was made by the attending Veterans to file an application for an American Legion Post. On October 27th 1958 a Temporary Charter was granted. The permanent Charter was issued on March 2nd 1959. The Post was formed and the Post was named "American Legion Post 221". All of St. Stephen American Legion Post 221's servicemen who died in the service of their country, as a mark of respect, were honored when the Post was chartered.
Permanent organization was affected at there first meeting at which time permanent officers were elected. The first officers of the American Legion Post 221 were: Commander: Alex Hlebaen---First Vice Commander: John Vouk---Second Vice Commander: August A Supan---Adjutant: Joseph A Kozel---Finance Officer: John R Ferche---Sergeant at Arms: Alex R Smoley---Chaplin: Joseph M Omann---Historian: Firmin Pogatshnik---Service Officer: James Slamnik.
Minnesota Corporation ----On December 7th, 1959---St. Stephen Post No. 221 of the American Legion, Department of Minnesota under and in accordance with the provisions of the Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation Act, Minnesota Statues, Charter 317-----Joseph L Donovan, Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota, by virtue of the powers and duties vested by the law, certified that the said St. Stephen Post No. 221 of the American Legion, Department of Minnesota is a legally organized Corporation under the laws of the state of Minnesota.
Monthly meetings were held at the St. Stephen Catholic Church Hall--- on the first Tuesday of the month--- until March of 2011 when it was decided to move the meetings to the Rusty Nail Bar in St. Stephen. Monthly meetings are still held on the first Tuesday of the month.
A Women's Auxiliary of American Legion Post 221 was formed on January 2nd, 1959. The Legion has every reason to be proud of it's Auxiliary. Auxiliary members are always anxious and willing to co-operate in every Legion activity.
MEMORIAL DAY has always been the most important event for our Legion veterans. The Legions goal is to keep Memorial Day sacred to the memory of our war dead of all of the wars of the country; and all graves are decorated on this National Holiday. A Memorial Service is held at three local cemeteries----St. Stephen---St. Wendel---and Brockway. The names of the deceased veterans are read off at each of the three cemeteries to honor and remember there service and sacrifice to this great country. The names of deceased Legion members who are buried elsewhere---are also read off. The Legion makes sure that every veteran buried at one of the three cemeteries has a Bronze Star marker----which indicates veteran status----and a US flag is placed in this marker on Memorial Day.
The Legion erected a Veterans Memorial across the road from the St. Stephen Catholic Church Cemetery on May 7th 1998. There are 4 stones---two on each side ---with the names of Legion member veterans etched into the stones to remember and honor our deceased Legion members who served this great country.
PEARL HARBOR DAY ---Usually on the first Saturday in December the Legion members get together to remembers the veterans----2335 service men----and 68 civilians--- who made the ultimate sacrifice at Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941.
VETERANS' DAY, originally marked the end of fighting in World War I. It is an important holiday on the calendar of Legionnaires everywhere and in the hearts of all Veterans.
Scholarships and Community Projects
Scolarships----American Legion Post 221 sponsors various scholarships for the further education of our children. For many years $3,000.00 in scolarships have been given to Holdingford High School and Sartell --St. Stephen High School. We also sponsor and financially assist many worthy community projects and programs.
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