Brewster Legion Post to mark 100th anniversary with special project
Now, in its 101st year, members of the Post are preparing for a belated celebration – a celebration that not only marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the post, but also the 100th anniversary of the construction of the Brewster Legion Hall.
The celebration will take place during Brewster Fun Days, the third weekend in July. Ahead of this event, members of The Post hope to raise enough money to purchase paving stones for every World War I veteran in Brewster – the original founders of the Legion Post.
Post Member Thomas Behrends said 53 World War I veterans are recognized each year on a Memorial Day roll call. He has since investigated history books for Nobles and Jackson counties and discovered 35 other World War I veterans with connections to Brewster.
Not all but five of the veterans have their names printed on a paving stone in the community’s veterans memorial. Legion members want to change that.
To help pay for the pavers – they cost $ 200 each – members of Legion and Sons of the American Legion, Jim’s Amoco, Rolling Hills Bank in Brewster, and Pawn-It in Worthington have started selling raffle tickets. For a $ 10 ticket, buyers have the opportunity to win one of five guns; $ 200 gift cards to Hy-Vee, Runnings and Pawn-It; $ 150 gift cards to Buffalo Billfold Company, The Daily Apple, Johnson Jewelry, The Stag and W-2 Meats; or a $ 100 gift card to Jim’s Amoco. The draw and the announcement of the winners will take place on July 18, at the end of the fun days, at Brewster Legion Hall.
Behrends said the goal is to complete the addition of the finisher again this year. When the community veterans memorial was built, it included ample space for additional paving stones. Behrends said the veteran World War I cobblestones will be kept together on one of the empty areas of the pentagon-shaped memorial.
During the fundraiser, Station 464 Commander Curt Luitjens said individuals might want to purchase a paving stone in remembrance of the Brewster ancestors who served in World War I.
âMost of the families have left the area,â Behrends speculated. “But maybe there are people who have thought about doing it for a grandfather, and that is (an option) too.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring a finisher is encouraged to contact Behrends at [email protected] or 360-3057.
When Brewster’s veterans came together in 1920 to create an American Legion post, one of their first projects may have been the construction of a hall. The members went to work on a plot of land in Brewster, providing the manual labor to complete the hall in 1921.
Korean War veteran Ferdie Haberman vividly remembers the transformation the room has taken over the years, one addition after another. A kitchenette was first added in 1946.
The Legion still features the original hardwood flooring installed a century ago, Haberman said, noting that the stage was built in 1963 or 1964 when he was in command. The toilets were a significant improvement over the “three holes behind the Legion room,” he explained.
âWe used to have a lot of dances here – probably two a week,â Haberman said. âThey would fill this room and this floor would just move in waves. That’s why the square dancers loved it – it had a little something to it.
The rocking floor was lifted at a Legion meeting, and Haberman said more poles had recently been placed underneath to make it more stable.
While Legion members sell raffle tickets to raise money for the pavers, they also organize ongoing and annual fundraising events.
In January, they were once again able to revive Thursday Night Bingo at the Hall. Open to adults 18 and over, the games offer good payouts while raising funds to cover Legion expenses. Doors open at 6.30 p.m., with Bingo from 7.15 p.m.
A few weeks ago, they had their biggest gathering of Bingo players in years, with 61 players.
âIt’s nice to see people come out and have fun again,â Behrends said. “We maintain everything very well here and the social distance.”
During Brewster Fun Days, the Brewster Legion Auxiliary will host a French Toast Feed, after which they will usually donate money to Legion projects. Also during the community celebration, the Legion will host a pork chop meal on July 17, with proceeds going to the Legion Hall and the Veterans Memorial.
Following the Brewster Fun Days Parade, Behrends will lead a program at the Veterans Memorial, highlighting his design and some of the recognized veterans there – especially those who served in World War I.
Luitjens said the Legion continues to talk about other activities to celebrate the Legion’s 100th anniversary during Brewster Fun Days.
Today, the Legion has 84 members and 35 Sons of the American Legion members.