Welcome to the internet home of the Gilbert C. Grafton American Legion Post 2 of Fargo, North Dakota. Here, you will find all the latest information on the happenings of Post 2. The post is alive and well and contributing to the community!
ROTC and JROTC Awards
Congratulations to three recipients of JROTC and ROTC awards which were presented in the month of May.
Post 2 Commander (Elect) Dave Johnston presented the American Legion Post 2 Outstanding Cadet Saber to Cadet Grant Schafer on the Bison Battalion Commissioning Ceremony at North Dakota State University on May 14th.
Post 2 First Vice Commander (Elect) Michele Olson presented awards at the Fargo Public School District Air Force JROTC awards banquet at Fargo South High School on May 7th. Cadet Luke Johnson was the recipient of the American Legion Military Excellence Medal while Cadet Michelle Bent received the American Legion Scholastic Excellence Medal.
The Gilbert C. Grafton American Legion Post 2 of Fargo Continues to Work Toward Projects that will Benefit Our Community!
In August and September, we spearheaded a food drive and worked in conjunction with other military service organizations in the area. Through these efforts, we were able to donate a total of $4,000 and close to 700 pounds of food to the Great Plains Food Bank.
In November we began working on our next project. We decided we wanted to focus on Veterans. We reached out to Diana Hall, Community Resource and Referral Center/Homeless Programs Manager for the Fargo VA. She was excited about the prospect of Post 2 donating to this program. When asked what their primary need was, Diana stated that cleaning supplies for the Veterans transitioning into housing was a critical need for them.
Diana graciously attended our November meeting and told us about all the great things being done to ensure our Veterans have an opportunity to escape homelessness. During her presentation, she also explained that a requirement for living in VA sponsored housing is that it has to be kept clean. Even though the Veterans do receive some assistance, their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits do not allow them to purchase cleaning supplies.
Through the month of November and part of December, we began collecting donations from our Post members. We were able to deliver approximately $500 worth of cleaning supplies and a check for $500 to Diana for their program.
The American Legion Gilbert C. Grafton Post 2 would like to thank all those who donated to our cleaning supply drive for our homeless Veterans.
Local American Veterans Organizations Come Together to Help in the Fight to End Hunger
The James M. Roche Spirit of Volunteerism Awards
Congratulations to Post 2 Vice Commander David Johnson on the occasion of receiving the James M. Roche Spirit of Volunteerism Award. The award, given by the Employer Support of the Guard and
Reserve (ESGR), was presented by Delton Steele, the North Dakota State Chair of ESGR, on May 14th. Recipients of this award are ESGR volunteers nominated by their respective ESGR State Committee
Chairs for their exceptional contributions to ESGR’s mission over a sustained period of time.
The Roche award is named for James M. Roche, who served several years as the ESGR National Chair after retiring as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board at General Motors Corporation, and other senior leadership roles at PepsiCo, Jack Eckerd Corporation, and the New York Stock Exchange. A past quote attributed Roche reads: "Anybody who achieves a top position in an organization owes a debt of some kind. If you have a talent and you have your health, you should help others."
American Legion Post 2 Honors 50, 70, and 75 Year Members
American Legion Post 2 honored members of their Post who have been continuous members of the organization for 50, 70, and 75 consecutive years in membership year 2021. The awards were presented during their May Post Meeting.
Post 2 members who as of the 2021 membership year reached their 50, 70, or 75 year landmark were honored with a certificate. Award recipients included the following Post 2 members: 50 Year Members- Peter Bilstad, Lee Graf, Robert Gross, Ken Jensen, David Lee, Larry Lein, Dale Lundeen, Gerald Maczkowicz, Dennis Resendahl, Raymond Svobodny, Mervyn Tvinnereim, Howard Zinck; 70 Year Members- Edwin Hafner, Donald Schur; 75 Year Members- George Bogan, Frederick Quam
St. Patrick's Day Parade
Thanks to the American Legion Post 2 Color Guard for their participation in the 2021 St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, March 20th!
The Fargo Vet Center
The Fargo Vet Center is a fantastic resource for veterans in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Above is a brief summary of services that the Fargo Vet Center provides and some answers to frequently asked questions. To learn more about what the Fargo Vet Center can do for you, contact them at:
Fargo Vet Center
5622 34th Avenue South
Fargo, North Dakota 58104
Post 2 Member in The American Legion Magazine...
In-Person Post Meetings Have Resumed
Congratulations to Jacob Schulz, the winner of the Department of North Dakota American Legion Oratorical Contest! Jacob competed in the Department competition in Dickinson on January 30th.
We wish Jacob, who is representing Post 2, the best of luck as he moves on to the National Finals in Indianapolis, Indiana. The competition is scheduled to take place April 9-11, 2021.
Supporting Service Members at Christmastime
Oratorical Competition Winner!
Congratulations to Jacob Schulz, the winner of the American Legion First District Oratorical Competition! Jacob is a home schooled student and represented Post 2 at the event on December 19th. He moves on next to the East Region Competition in Park River on January 16th. We wish Jacob the best as he moves forward!
Wreaths Across America at Fargo National Cemetery
Thank you to everyone who participated in the National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday, December 19th at the Fargo National Cemetery. A total of 280 wreaths were laid at the cemetery that morning.
Congratulations to Post 2 Second Vice Commander, Dave Johnston, on the occasion of him receiving the SSgt. Andrew P. Nelson Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service at the Scouts of America Northern Lights Council's second annual Heroes and Leaders Gala on December 10th. The award recognizes "every day heroes who quietly make a difference in our community in the way that we work, volunteer, and make life better for others." Dave was one of five recipients of the award this year.
American Legion 100 Miles for Hope
Commander Larry Lein, First Vice Commander Cathy Keogh, and Second Vice Commander Dave Johnston proudly participated in the American Legion 100 Miles for Hope virtual 100-mile walk event! CLICK HERE to learn more about this wonderful event that supports the American Legion Veterans & Children Foundation!
Congratulations to Post 2 First Vice Commander Cathy Holm Keogh on the occasion of being awarded the 2020 Sanford Veteran Employee of the Year! Pictured with Cathy is fellow Sanford employee and current member of the North Dakota Army National Guard Master Sgt. Bradley Reed.
David Johnston Receives an Award
Congratulations to Post 2 Second Vice Commander and Retired Navy Capt. Dave Johnston on the occasion of receiving the Seven Seals Award on June 23rd by the North Dakota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for his 16 years of service to the ND ESGR committee, working with service members, veterans and employers. CLICK HERE to read more in an article in The Minot Daily News.
Twenty members of Gilbert C. Grafton American Legion Post 2 have been recognized for their consecutive years of membership with the American Legion, the largest veterans service organization in the nation. Members who reached milestone years of consecutive years of membership were awarded certificates for their faithful service to the organization. Milestone years for receiving this award were 50, 60, 70, and 75 years of membership through the year 2020.
Normally these awards would be presented in-person during an American Legion Post Meeting. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity to do so unfortunately became impossible this year.
Those receiving awards include the following: David Carlson (50), James Dixon (70), J. Dura (50), Albert Fillner (70), James Frank (50), Charles Gast (60), John Jensen (75), Leonard Kirkhoff (75), John Larsen (60), Chester Larson (75), Warren Opperman (60), Glenn Paulson (70), Raymond Peterson (50), Monte Routledge (50), Harold Schmunk (50), Benton Strand (50), and E. Surerus (50), all from Fargo. Also receiving awards were: Russell Kvanvig of Twin Falls, ID (50), Dean Saewert of Casselton (50), and Duane Vandame of Bismarck (50).
It is the dedication of members such as these Legionnaires that the American Legion has built their reputation for supporting the four pillars of the organization: Americanism, Children and Youth, National Security, and Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation. It is with that strong support that the American Legion has continued to progress for over 100 years.
On behalf of Commander Larry Lein and all of the officers of American Legion Post 2, we congratulate these twenty members for their continuous service to the organization. We also congratulate and thank all of our other longtime members of the Post for their continuous support throughout the years.
We had a great time at our March Post Meeting! In addition to reconnecting with several members who hadn't attended a meeting in anywhere between 5-25 years, we also signed up 2 new members!
Also, we presented a donation to Scout Troop 244 for a new tent for their future camping excursions and we heard from new Cass County VSO Christopher Deery.
Thanks to Commander Larry Lein, First Vice Commander Cathy Keogh, Second Vice Commander David Johnston, Adjutant Christopher Hanson, Finance Officer Tom Tolman, and Executive Board Member Michele Olson for providing food and drink for the meeting!
It was a great night for Post 2! Thanks to everyone who attended!
Portraits of Veterans in America Project
Thank you to our very own Post 2 member, Jeff Hett, who provided us with a very interesting program at our February Post Meeting! Jeff spoke to us about his experiences being a part of the "WE THE PEOPLE: Portraits of Veterans in America" project. He brought in a copy of print that was painted of him for the project and also shared a copy of the actual book with us.
CLICK HERE to learn more about this project. The website belongs to the artist who painted all of the picutres, Mary Whyte.
Thank you to Jeff for this awesome presentation!
Thank you to Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Gietzen who gave us a wonderful presentation on his Annual Training experience with the North Dakota Army National Guard overseas in Romania this past summer. Command Sgt. Maj. Gietzen is the Senior Enlisted Leader of the 231st Brigade Support Battalion in Valley City. The 231st BSB took part in the training exercise with their upper command, the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. Thanks to Command Sgt. Maj. Gietzen for an in-depth and incredibly interesting presentation at our January Post Meeting!
Thank you so much to the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 2 and their leader, President Shauna Dubuque for a wonderful Christmas Party on Monday, December 9th! Also, thank you to the The Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band, Inc. and their conductor, Bernard McKigney for their great concert! It was a wonderful night for all in attendance!
Post 2 Represented at Naval Reserve Event
Thanks to Cathy Keogh and David Johnston for their presence at the Naval Reserve Family Support Weekend on Sunday, November 17th! Cathy was representing the American Legion Post 2 and David was representing the North Dakota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Veterans Day - Thank You!
Thank you to everyone who came out to the American Legion Post 2 Veterans Day Stew Feed and Concert at the El Zagal Shrine! We had a great concert by The Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band, Inc. and stew made and served by Post 2 and Unit 2 was enjoyed by nearly 175 people! And thanks to the American Heritage Girls of Fargo for their help as well! And of course, thanks to all the Legion and Auxiliary members who helped prepare and serve the stew!
It was a great day to celebrate our veterans!
Boys and Girls State Attendees Give Testimonials!
Thank you to all of the young men and women who attended American Legion North Dakota Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary North Dakota Girls State representing Post and Unit 2 this past summer! We were excited to host one of each during our October Post Meeting as they gave testimonials about their experiences!
Thanks to Christopher Wagner and Sara Smith for being present to speak about their experiences!
American Legion Post 2 Centennial Celebration May 21, 2019
Veterans Day Thanks!
Thank you to everyone who helped us with the Veterans Day Stew Feed! We served around 150 people who enjoyed conversation, a meal, and a patriotic concert!
Thanks to all of the Legion and Auxiliary members who helped prep and cook the stew! And thanks to everyone who helped with serving the stew, helped with setup and teardown of the rooms, and helped with cleanup of the kitchen.
Thanks to the Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band for a wonderful concert!
Thanks to Ameriacn Heritage Girls for aiding with bussing tables, working on the serving line, and taking care of coffee and water refills.
And thanks to everyone who came out and enjoyed the afternoon with us!
Congratulations to Brad Aune, member of Post 2, on the occasion of his appointment to the American Legion Veterans Employment and Education Council! Brad has accepted this invitation which was issued on behalf of National Commander Brett Reistad by the National Executive Committee of the American Legion!
Brad currently serves on the Executive Board of Post 2 and is a two-time Past Commander of Post 2.
"Flag and Officer Down" Campaign
Thank you to Officer Michael Clower, Fargo Police Department, for being our guest at our September Post Meeting. Officer Clower dropped off nearly 50 American flags which will be retired on a later date. The flags were dropped off with Fargo Police Department officers during a month-long campaign earlier this summer called "Flag an Officer Down".
The program offered a way for Fargo citizens to retire their worn or frayed American flags in a proper way. The Fargo Police Department accepted flags from May 16th to June 14th. People simply “flagged down an officer” and gave them the flags, or they brought them in to the Fargo Police Department.
Thank you to the Fargo Police Department for putting on this wonderful campaign! And thank you to Officer Clower for coming by our meeting and speaking with us!
American Legion Post 2 was proud to host the 100th Annual Department Convention from June 20-24, 2018 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Fargo! Thanks to everyone from Post 2 who volunteered to help out at the Convention!
Post Everlasting Ceremony - June 5th
On June 5th, Post 2 conducted their annual Post Everlasting Ceremony, a short memorial service to recognize and remember all of our Post 2 member that we have lost over the past year. Commander Sylvan Melroe conducted the ceremony with the aid of Adjutant Christopher Hanson and Second Vice Commander David Johnston.
The following Comrades have been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Post Everlasting of The American Legion:
Vernon L. Arnstad, John E. Beaton, Lloyd R. Boldt, Wayne J. Colberg, Merle W. Gullekson, Algert C. Krieger, Robert M. Lingquist, Thomas J. McNesse, Arlyn Mogck, Juel E. Mueller, Gary Nelson, Raymond Schaffer, Edward A. Skroch, Lloyd O. Thompson, and Donald Wold.
May their souls rest in peace.
50 and 60 Year Member Awards Ceremony
Veterans Club Opens in the Sanford Medical Center in Fargo
Sanford Health unveiled a beautiful Veterans Club at their medical center in Fargo earlier this week. The club gives military veterans and their families a dedicated place to grab a cup of coffee and meet others who have served their country.
The club is part of the organization’s efforts to streamline and add resources for veterans, military personnel and their families.
In addition to providing a space to relax or talk with fellow veterans between appointments, the club has coffee and water, guest computer access and a lounge area with a game table and TV.
CLICK HERE for the full story and to check out more photos of the Veterans Club at Sanford Health!
Congratulations to Job Service North Dakota on the occasion of them receiving the ESGR Seven Seals Award! Thank you for everything you do for our veterans!
Boys State Participants Visit Post 2
During the American Legion Post 2 December Post Meeting, Post members were pleased to welcome three Boys State participants and their families. The three young men, all sponsored by American Legion Post 2, attended Boys State in Wahpeton this past summer in June of 2017.
After being introduced by Wayne Wermager, Post 2 Chaplain and Boys State Representative, all three boys visited about their experience at Boys State.
Thank you to Jack Berg (son of Rick Berg), Cameron Knoll (son of Ron Knoll), and Ryan Ferguson (son of Mark Ferguson) for sharing your experiences with us! And thank you for representing American Legion Post 2 at Boys State 2017!
Thanks to everyone who helped make our Veterans Day Stew Feed at the Fargo Civic Center a success!
Thanks to the Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band for a wonderful concert!
Thanks to the American Heritage Girls for the baked goods, the blankets, and all of their hard work helping with the event!
And thanks to everyone who celebrated Veterans Day with us! We appreciate it very much!
The 164th Infantry Regiment World War II Memorial Rededicated on Flag Day
American Legion Post 2 performed a rededication ceremony for the 164th Infantry Regiment World War II Memorial on Flag Day at Lindenwood Park. Post 2 Commander, Christopher Hanson of Fargo officiated over the ceremony. The event featured remarks by Dave Piepkorn (Fargo City Commissioner), Sylvan Melroe (Memorial Relocation Lead), Joel Vettel (Fargo Parks Director), and Vern Fetch (President of the 164th Infantry Association). Speeches were followed by a rededication of the monument and honors to all 164th Infantry Soldiers who have passed over the years.
The 164th Infantry Monument was originally erected on the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and 5th Street in Fargo on a plot provided by Gilbert C. Grafton American Legion Post 2, in front of their building in downtown Fargo. The granite monument recognized 216 men who were called to active duty in 1941. The men were assigned to Bravo Company and Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 164th Infantry Regiment, North Dakota National Guard. During over four and a half years of activation, these Soldiers proved that on the fields of international conflict, a citizen Soldier could excel and could meet the best the enemy had to offer and could prevail. They served North Dakota and the United States with distinction and honor. And they provided North Dakota and its military with an unequaled record of accomplishment.
The 164th Infantry Regiment was an outstanding military organization that accumulated over 600 days of jungle combat in numerous locations and battles, most notably Guadalcanal in October of 1942. Among their many decorations were five Distinguished Service Crosses and a Navy Cross. They suffered an astounding 50% casualty rate including 325 who did not return.
The monument was originally dedicated by Major General Alexander P. McDonald, the North Dakota Adjutant General at that time, on October 24th of 1987. The monument served as a reminder to the community of the young men who assembled in North Dakota on a cold February of 1941 and set off to serve in World War II.
After nearly 30 years calling the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 5th Street its home, a decision to move the monument was made. Post 2 had sold their downtown building and was in the process of moving to their new home. The choice was made to seek out a new appropriate home where all could continue to view and admire this beautiful monument. Under the supervision of Adjutant Sylvan Melroe and with the cooperation of Fargo Parks, arrangements were made and agreed upon to move the monument to Lindenwood Park. And through generous donations by L. Gnoinsky Concrete/Construction, Inc. Aggregate Industries of Fargo-Moorhead, and Dakota Moument Company with cooperation and coordination with the Fargo Park District, the monument was removed from downtown, given a good cleaning, and placed at Lindenwood Park in early November of 2016.
From the National Commander
CLICK HERE to read the latest communication from our National Commander, Paul E. Dillard.
Report: GI Bill Pilot Program Protects Against Risky Schools
A six-state pilot program to evaluate risk among schools that accept GI Bill education beneficiaries has “demonstrated that the bipartisan action taken to protect students and taxpayers can and does work,” according to a new report from EducationCounsel, LLC, the National Association of State Approving Agencies and The American Legion.
CLICK HERE to read more.
Sympathies and Condolences
It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Post 2 member Keith Kerbaugh. Keith, who served as our Commander in 2007, passed away on Sunday, January 2nd. Arrangements were entrusted to Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home. An obituary is available by CLICKING HERE.
Thanks also to our guest speakers who shared their time with us at our November Post Meeting! Diana Hall (above), the Homeless Program Manager for the VA's Community Resource and Referral Center and Jennifer Lieder (below), the Cemetery Manager for the Fargo National Cemetery shared a lot of great information with us tonight!
How to Help Afghan Allies
The American Legion is in search of veterans looking to help resettled Afghans with Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) and refugees. Many of these Afghans assisted American forces in Afghanistan as interpreters during the Global War on Terrorism.
For more information, please CLICK HERE.
100 Miles for Hope
CLICK HERE to read a message from National Commander James W. "Bill" Oxford regarding the 100 Miles for Hope.
American Legion Posts 'Saving Lives' Through Vaccine Efforts
American Legion Herman Kent Post 777 in Jamestown, NY already had a strong relationship with the VA Western New York Healthcare System (VAWNYHS) prior to the coronavirus pandemic. But both entities recently expanded that relationship in an effort to get as many COVID-19 vaccines out to area veterans.
CLICK HERE to read more!
100 Miles for Hope
Be a part of the 2021 100 Miles for Hope to raise funds and awareness for the American Legion Veterans & Children Foundation (V&CF). CLICK HERE to learn more about how you can participate!
What to know about the virtual Washington Conference
This year’s American Legion Washington Conference will be virtual, due to safety concerns regarding the ongoing pandemic. However, the conference, which is from March 1 to 4, has a packed agenda and technology allows Legionnaires to participate from wherever they may be.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the conference.
From the National Commander
CLICK HERE to read the latest from our National Commander James W. "Bill" Oxford.
What Veterans Need to Know About Getting the Vaccine from the VA
As an influx of veterans are seeking the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, many want clarity on when and where they will be able to get their vaccines. CLICK HERE to read more.
‘We Must End This Uncivil War,’ President Biden Says
Just before noon on January 20th, Joe Biden took the oath of office of as the 46th President and Commander-in-Chief of the United States. CLICK HERE to read more.
American Legion Condemns Violence in U.S. Capitol
American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford unequivocally condemned the attacks on the U.S. Capitol. CLICK HERE to read more.
The VA is working hard to get COVID-19 vaccines to Veterans as quickly and safely as possible. CLICK HERE to sign up and help them understand your interest in getting a vaccine when one is available to you. They’ll send you updates on how they’re providing vaccines across the country - and when you can get your vaccine if you want one.
Suicide Prevention for Veterans and Military Service Members Information
HeartSprings Community Healing Center
Thank you to Jan Nelson for stopping in at our Post Meeting to talk about the programs and classes offered at HeartSprings Community Healing Center! CLICK HERE to learn more about them and the services that they offer.
Want to be notified of the latest veterans news and events in Cass County? Then sign up for eNotifications! CLICK HERE and enter your contact information to receive these handy notifications!
Thank You to Our Color Guard
Thank you to our outstanding Post 2 Color Guard for all that they do in and around the Fargo-Moorhead area. From posting colors are local patriotic and sports events to providing military rites and final honors at funerals, this group of dedicated individuals perform their duties diligently regardless of the day or weather conditions.
VALOR at NDSU
VALOR (Veteran Alliance Organization) was created to improve the campus climate for military and veteran students at North Dakota State University. The concept is to create a network of ADVOCATES made up of staff, faculty, and administrators at NDSU who are identified to our veteran students as people that they can go to for guidance and direction.
VALOR materials and training opportunities provide:
VALOR is sponsored by American Legion Post 400 and an Advisory Board that provides guidance and oversight.
Questions on the program can be directed to Adjutant Christopher Hanson or Past Commander Brad Aune, both who are Advisory Board members of VALOR.
Why Join the Legion?
Looking for good reasons to join or convince someone to join the American Legion? Wondering if it would be worth it to start up again after letting your membership lapse? CLICK HERE to read more about why you should join us in our mission and cause!