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Lismore's SAL squadron donates $4,000

LISMORE -- On the day America celebrates the service and sacrifice of its veterans, Commander Frank Kemper of the newly formed Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Lismore Squadron 636, will present the Lismore American Legion Commander Darwin Veld, Director of Membership, SAL Advisor Veryl Stoffel and Adjutant Brent Feikema with a check for $4,000.

The proceeds will fund the ongoing programs of Lismore's American Legion Post 636.

While Lismore's Legion boasts a relatively strong and active membership with sixty-two members, the recently chartered Lismore SAL Squadron has its origins in addressing the two main issues facing American Legion posts all across our country -- an aging membership and the corresponding decline in their ranks.

The Sons of the American Legion is a national organization established in 1933 to stand alongside the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary to make up the "Legion Family." SAL provides the obvious solution, with its membership open to sons and grandsons of veterans to carry on the tradition of Lismore's American Legion.

American Legion Post 636 boasts a long, active history in Lismore and the surrounding communities in southwest Minnesota through such activities as:

* Support of American Legion Baseball and Boys State programs.

* Financial and volunteer support for numerous organizations such as the Minnesota VA Home and the Minnesota Juvenile Correction Facility in Red Wing.

* Celebrating community traditions and commemorative events.

* Respecting Lismore veterans and veterans of area communities by providing an Honor Guard at funerals.

* Development of a flag program and providing flags for local cemeteries, schools and churches.

* Providing and maintaining a Legion Hall that is utilized for a variety of area and community events.

* Honoring veterans with the annual Memorial Day service and program.

The pride and "can do" attitude of the Lismore Legion membership carries on the tradition of the post in proud memory of all those who served before them. No matter how deep the pride or how willing the members, only so much of the mission can be carried out on a limited budget - and with a decline of their ranks.

The goal of SAL was simple: Maximize the financial support to the American Legion by increasing its membership base. Most SAL squadrons are formed from local residents of the surrounding area where the squadron is based.

Lismore's SAL started in this typical fashion by building its membership base locally. Then, recognizing a mobile society, the SAL reached out to former residents of Lismore and the surrounding communities -- and their alumni, sons and grandsons of their military veterans. Working with former resident Marty Krogman, the Lismore Legion set out to contact the sons and grandsons of their current and past members.

While the majority of its members are from cities and towns located hundreds of miles from Lismore, opportunities exist for members to be active beyond financial support. The membership goal for its charter year was initially set at 50 members. Currently, the squadron's membership is 70 men from Lismore and the surrounding communities as well as former residents of Wilmont, St. Kilian, Adrian and Lismore.

The mission of the squadron can be best summarized in the comments below, which were taken from the initial letter sent to the State SAL Advisor requesting support for the new charter:

"...this Squadron will provide Post 636 with additional funding. It will provide its members the organization and structure to re-connect in a small but yet meaningful way with Lismore and southwest Minnesota, where we all grew up.

Most importantly, our membership in this Squadron will allow us to honor our parents and grandparents, friends and neighbors for their service to our country."

If you are the son or grandson of a military veteran and you wish to join the Sons of the American Legion, you would be welcomed in Lismore's Squadron 636. Please contact Veryl Stoffel or Darwin Veld in Lismore for more information.

Thank you, veterans, for your service. May God bless you on Veterans Day, today and always.