A Post with a Passion for Supporting Veterans
The American Legion Post 24 has spent over 100 years serving veterans and the Aberdeen community.

A Post with a Passion for Supporting Veterans

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For more than 100 years, the American Legion Post 24 has been devoted to its mission of service to veterans, service members, and the Aberdeen community. Today, the American Legion is still an active patriotic organization not only in Aberdeen but across the country, and its members are more intent than ever on fulfilling that mission.

 

A Century of Service

Founded in the wake of World War I in 1919, Aberdeen’s Post 24 focused its initial efforts on a veterans employment group. Servicemen returning from the war came home looking for work, and Post 24 stepped in to help compile and share local job openings. Using their own form of networking and a much-circulated post newsletter, the group was instrumental in supporting veterans returning to civilian life. Other early efforts for Post 24 included a theatrical troupe, band, and an award-winning drum and bugle corps.

“I’m proud that the organization has been around for over 100 years and continues to serve the same purpose it was created for,” said Dale Strom, Commander of American Legion Post 24.  “I have stayed in the organization because I do believe in several of our programs, particularly what we do for Americanism and children, to help develop future leaders.”

One of the Legion’s most lasting projects, American Legion Baseball, was founded in South Dakota in 1925 when a youth baseball program was proposed by Frank Sieh of Aberdeen at the state convention. Nearly a century later, American Legion Baseball continues as a national juggernaut for high school baseball players, with more than 3,500 teams participating each year.

 

A Commitment to Community

Boys State/Girls State

The American Legion has been the long-time sponsor of Boys State, a program for high school juniors and seniors to learn the ins and outs of government. Hosted each summer at Northern State University, Boys State draws hundreds of participants, selected by their local American Legion posts, to take part in mock legislative sessions, elections, and court proceedings. The program is designed to mirror the structure and operation of state governments, while developing leadership skills. Participants can run for office, draft and debate legislation, and explore all phases of creating and running a working democratic government.

Girls State is a similar program, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. High school juniors are invited to participate in the annual program at the University of South Dakota, where more than 400 girls engage in active citizenship, leadership and government training.

Oratorical Contest

The American Legion Oratorical Contest is an annual speaking competition for high school students. Participants are challenged to learn about the United States constitution, while learning leadership and public speaking skills. American Legion posts select finalists to move to the state level; state winners advance to the national competition. More than $200,000 in scholarships are awarded as part of the national contest each year.

 

A Promise to Support Veterans

While Post 24 has a large number of projects it supports, there’s one that stands out for Strom.

“I think the single most important program the post has is our Honor Guard. The post provides a flag and rifle unit for veterans’ funerals in Aberdeen, to render military honors for the deceased,” Strom said. “The Honor Guard also conducts flag raising and presentation ceremonies for area events who request the service.”

The Post has an emergency financial assistance program that can help veterans with small, one-time emergency needs, and can also help veteran families with minor children apply for larger emergency grants from other agencies.

As a connection point for veterans and their families, the American Legion seeks out resources to help meet local needs. Most recently, the Post is one of the primary sponsors of Aberdeen Area Veterans, the group working to raise funds and build a veterans’ memorial center in Aberdeen.

The organization also plays an important role in advocating for all veterans in both the state legislature and in Washington D.C., to help fight for benefits and veterans’ rights.

And locally, the American Legion believes strongly in honoring and remembering veterans, providing military funeral rites upon request.

“I’m very proud that the Aberdeen Post places over 1,500 American flags on the graves of our fallen comrades for Memorial Day each year, and that we conduct military funeral rites – over 50 times last year alone,” Stom said. “What more honorable duty is there than providing that last bit of dignity to our fellow veterans and their families?”

 

Membership

American Legion membership is open to anyone who has served at least one day of active military duty since Pearl Harbor, and is either still serving honorably or has been honorably discharged.

While the organization is always accepting new members, the American Legion also benefits greatly from community financial support. For more information on how to donate or become a member, visit www.aberdeenlegion.org//

 

Other Groups:

American Legion Auxiliary

The American Legion’s sister organization, the American Legion Auxiliary, was also formed nearly a century ago, with a mission of easing the burden for military families. Volunteers focus on patriotic youth programs and support for military families. The American Legion Auxiliary Post 24 is active in Aberdeen in their support of Girls State, youth programs and support for veterans.

 

Legion Riders

American Legion Riders chapters are well known for their charitable work, which has raised funds for local children’s hospitals, schools, severely wounded service members and scholarships. The Warner Legion Rider Post 137 includes American Legion members from Aberdeen and other local communities. For the last seven years, the group has organized an annual teddy bear ride, providing funding and stuffed animals for children at Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center.