The Gilbert C. Grafton American Legion Post 2 agreed to terms to sell their building in downtown Fargo. The closing of the sale took place on Thursday, June 30th.
The building, located at 505 3rd Street North in downtown Fargo, has been the home of American Legion Post 2 for over sixty years. Post 2, the largest American Legion Post in the state of North Dakota, has hosted organizational meetings, public events, and numerous ceremonies and patriotic events throughout their long and storied history in Fargo.
The purchasers of the building, the Kilbourne Group, have an outstanding reputation as a leading company in revitalizing the downtown area, most notably over the last decade. As Post 2 was looking at the option of moving to a more suitable sized home for the organization, Kilbourne Group entered the picture as a buyer that would respect the past of this well-known building and inspire its future in downtown Fargo. It was this dialogue that began a long relationship that resulted in the sale of the American Legion building.
The Kilbourne Group has graciously extended a lease back to Post 2 at no charge in order for the American Legion to conveniently move to its new location which will be located in the old Hector Airport Terminal located at 1801 23rd Avenue North in Fargo. The Pickled Parrot, the bar located in the basement of the American Legion building, will remain there. They will be closed for renovations throughout July, but will return to normal operations on August 5th.
All of the American Legion Family will relocate to the new location over the two months to include not just the American Legion Post 2, but also the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion. The 40 et 8 organization will also move to the new location as well.
Post 2 will hold their first Post Meeting in their new location at the old Hector Airport Terminal (located at 1801 23rd Avenue North) on Tuesday, August 2nd at 7:00pm. All members, past and present, are invited to this meeting to acquaint themselves with the new home of Post 2.
Despite the sentimental feelings of their departure from their downtown home, the officers of American Legion Post 2 are excited to begin writing a new chapter in their long and storied history in Fargo. This is most certainly not the end of Post 2 - with this move to a new location comes the opportunity to grow, change, and reinvigorate the organization. With the struggles that many Veteran Service Organizations are facing with an aging membership, this change of scenery will also mark an opportunity to begin building the American Legion into an organization that attracts our younger veterans- the future of the organization going forward.
Christopher A. Hanson
American Legion Post 2
Naval Ship Named After MoH Recipient, Legionnaire
Marine veteran Herschel “Woody” Williams is the last living Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima. CLICK HERE to read more!
‘Weight of Sacrifice’ Chosen for National World War I Memorial
The 4.8 million Americans who served in the Great War will at last be honored with a memorial in the nation’s capital. CLICK HERE to read more!
Navy Seal to be Awarded the Medal of Honor
Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Edward Byers to be presented with the nation's highest award for valor on February 29th. CLICK HERE to read more about his heroic actions.
The 2015 Jass Festival - Success!
Thanks to all of the folks who came out for the Saturday and Sunday productions of the 2015 Jass Festival! We were blessed with great weather both days and wonderful crowds! Between the two days, we saw approximately 700 people in and out of our various performances.
Thanks to the American Legion and Auxiliary members who stepped up to help with children's activities, concessions, and setup and tear down of the festival! Your help was very much appreciated. And we were able to raise about $450 to be donated to both American Legion programs and the Fargo VA Medical Center!
Congratulations to Post 2 Executive Committee member and Past Commander Dave Johnston along with Post 297 member Dave Rice on their awards presented during Navy Week. Veterans being rewarded for their service to our service members and our veterans, we couldn't be more proud!
Post 2 Baseball Class 2A Legion State Baseball Title
Congratulations to Post 2 Baseball! CLICK HERE to read more!
Hometown Hero Award
Congratulations to current member of the Executive Team and Past Commander Brad Aune! Aune was the recipient of the 2015 Hometown Heros award at the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo. The award was given to selfless veterans who have done inspirational acts for their families, businesses, churches, schools, communities or their country to make them better and improve the lives of those around them. Well deserved!
VAVS Report - August
The Surgical suite is slatee to open soon with a ribbon cutting ceremony August 19th. These additions contain a basement along with first and second floors with the new surgical suite located on the second floor. It will include additional operating rooms and state-of-the-art technology.
Remarks from Karrinn Davidson on the Healing Garden:
I wanted to send a brief HealingGarden update. Although the main/large healing garden will go up for construction funding next fiscal year, we are looking at creating some smaller scale healing environments throughout the exterior of the facility. I know many of you have donated to the healing gardens fund to help purchase flowers, pots, benches etc. so I wanted to ensure you received an update on the main project and as well as our smaller healing garden projects which tie into the large garden.
We are looking beautify small areas patients frequent such as the front entrance and the outdoor seating area by the canteen. These projects will be small scale healing gardens and would not be possible without the generosity of your donations. Thank you for all you do to support the Fargo VA and our Veterans!!
I will continue to keep you informed on the progress of the large healing garden area.
The Healing Gardens to be located on the west side of the facility.
As always, there are many volunteer opportunities at the VA Hospital to include the following: Escort Services, Reception Assistance (Ambulatory Surgery), Ambulatory Surgery Unit Assistance, Health Information Manager Assistance, and Chapel Escort Assistance. Please contact Karinn R. Davidson, Chief, Voluntary Service at the Fargo VA, at (701) 239-3700, extension 9-3397 if you have questions or if you wish to volunteer.
Another Successful Jass Festival
Thank you to the officers and other volunteers of the American Legion and Auxiliary for their help in making the 20th presentation of the Jass Festival a successful day! The weather cooperated with us all day and we were able to feature seven different outstanding bands, ensembles, and solo acts throughout the afternoon. Thanks to all of the folks who came out, we look forward to another great presentation when we return in 2015!
Healing Gardens Update
Plans for the Healing Garden are still moving forward. The contract has been awarded to Image Group Architects and Land Elements Landscape Architects both located in the FM area. This fiscal year the architects and landscape architects are focusing on the design portion of the project. I have some preliminary drawings I can share with you if you would like.
The project will go up for build funding in next year (FY15). We are hoping it will be funded next fiscal year but we won’t know until next year. As my boss puts it, if the building needs a roof, funding will go toward a roof. We’re keeping our fingers crossed. We do know that it will be funded at some point.
Donations will be used for garden maintenance such as plants and flowers, benches, sculptures etc.
Karinn R. Davidson, MBA
Chief, Voluntary Service
Fargo VA Health Care System
50 and 60 Year Members Honored
Congratulations to our 50 and 60 year members of the American Legion! We can not properly show our appreciation or respect for your service not only to the American Legion, but to our country and our military. Thank you for your dedication to the cause of the American Legion!
50 Year Members- Dan Duncan, Algert Krieger, John Noah, William Phelan, Frank Tyley
60 Year Members- R.D. Akers, Ronald Arneson, T.C. Askland, Randall Bakken, Leroy Bowman, Robert Fischer, Melvin Herrmann, Norman Jones, Richard Leverson, Alex McDonald, James Nelson, Max Olson, Philip Rognlie, Nordeen Ronningen, Wayne Saar, David Sauvageau, Bruce Thomas
No Veteran Dies Alone
“No one should die alone…Each human should die with the sight of a loving face.”
The Fargo VA is now recruiting volunteers for the No Veteran Dies Alone program.
No Veteran Dies Alone (NVDA) is a volunteer program that provides the reassuring presence of a volunteer companion to patients with end stage diseases. With the support of nursing staff, No Veteran Dies Alone volunteers are able to help provide patients with the valuable human gifts of their presence.
No Veteran Dies Alone volunteers may provide their presence to seriously ill patients who have neither family nor close friends near or they may provide respite to the family members of seriously ill Veterans by sitting with the Veteran while their loved ones go to an appointment or simply take a break.
All employees, volunteers and the community are invited to be considered for the No Veteran Dies Alone program. As a NVDA volunteer, you choose the time, day, and number of hours you are available to volunteer.
Nursing skills are not necessary to participate in the program. Companions should be willing to hold the hand of a Veteran, play music, read to the Veteran, etc.
All volunteers must become a registered volunteer with the Fargo VA Health Care System and be available to attend a training session where they will learn the simple art of being compassionately present at the bedside of a seriously ill Veteran. The first training date is scheduled for Friday, April 4, from 8:30am to 12pm in the third floor auditorium.
To register, please contact Voluntary Service at ext. 3395. Tell them you would like to be a part of the No Veteran Dies Alone team.
Military Families Gather for Winter Fun
CLICK HERE to read about a great team effort between the American Legion Auxiliary, Operation Military Kids, and the North Dakota National Guard supporting our military children and their families!
VA Medical Center "Top Performers"
Thirty-two Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities from across the nation, which includes both the Fargo VA Healthcare System and the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System, were recently recognized as “top performers” by the independent panel that accredits and certifies health care organizations.
“We are proud of the medical facilities that have been recognized for demonstrating VA’s commitment to provide the high-quality care our Veterans have earned through their service,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This achievement highlights the hard work of our VA medical staff to serve Veterans.”
The recognition came from The Joint Commission, a not-for-profit organization that ensures the quality of U.S. health care by its intensive evaluation of more than 20,000 health care organizations.
While all 151 VA medical facilities are accredited by The Joint Commission, the list recognizes facilities that are the top performers based on The Joint Commission’s annual review of evidence-based care that is closely linked to positive patient outcomes. This program recognizes Joint Commission-accredited hospitals for a significant achievement in accountability and performance measures.
The Joint Commission recognized 19 VA medical facilities as top performers in 2011/2012 and 20 VA medical facilities in 2010. Nine VA facilities have been rated as top performers for two consecutive years – a noteworthy distinction.
“VA health care has been a leader in performance measurement, electronic health records, research and clinical quality for more than a decade,” said VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel. “I am proud of the staff that works hard every day to care for America’s Veterans.”
Reserve Component Tackles the Issue of Sexual Assault
CLICK HERE to read an outstanding article published in 'The Officer Magazine' (THE RESERVE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION) addressing how the Reserve Component is tackling Sexual Assault. Our very own Post 2 member, Maj. Penny Ripperger of the North Dakota Air National Guard, is highlighted in this article. Maj. Ripperger serves as the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the 119th Wing.
Veterans Day Stew Feed a Success
Christopher Hanson, Post Adjutant
Thank you to everyone who attended our annual Veterans Day Stew Feed this past Monday! We hope to have a final attendance count and the amount we received in free-will donations sometime this week, we will share that information as soon as we have it.
Thanks to all of the American Legion and Auxiliary members who came out both Sunday and Monday to help prepare the stew and set up the hall for the feed. Over 30 volunteers were present on Sunday to help with cutting up veggies and meat as well as preparing the stew. Nearly 20 volunteers were in attendance on Monday to continue preparing the stew. Those volunteers also helped with prepping the hall, cleaning up the entrance into the building, setting up the serving line, and serving the meal.
A huge thank you goes out to THE AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS for their help! The organization chose to spend their Veterans Day aiding with the stew feed. Jobs included putting out salt and pepper shakers, producing wonderful Veterans Day thank you cards, serving water and coffee, and helping out wherever they could throughout the afternoon. The girls were always willing to help out in any way they were able and we are very grateful for their dedication!
Thanks to THE RED RIVER VALLEY VETERANS CONCERT BAND for putting on a very nice concert in honor of Veterans Day. Their perfect combination of marches, vocal pieces, and patriotic numbers were the perfect showcase for the event and venue.
Thanks to Rob Johnson of MRK and THE PICKLED PARROT for allowing us to utilize the kitchen area for the preparation and serving of the stew. You support of the American Legion is appreciated very much and we thank you for your continued assistance in making events like this happen.
Thanks in particular to Dave Johnston and Tommy Tolman who spearheaded much of the stew feed project. Their above and beyond participation ensured that the stew feed was truly a success.
And of course, thank you to everyone who came out to the event. We look forward to next year's stew feed.
On behalf of the post, we hope that you had a delightful and safe Veterans Day. God bless our servicemembers and our veterans.
More photos of the event can be found on our PHOTO PAGE.
ROTC Will Remain at NDSU
CLICK HERE to read about the great news that the Bison Battalion will remain at North Dakota State University for the time being!
North Dakota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Hosts ‘Boss Lift’
The North Dakota Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, or ESGR, recently flew nine local employers and two ESGR volunteers on a “Boss Lift” to tour Camp Grafton Training Center, a North Dakota National Guard facility near Devils Lake, N.D.
The employers boarded a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, supported by the North Dakota National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment (Security and Support), which is based at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Bismarck, N.D., with a detachment at Hector Field in Fargo, N.D. The group departed from Hector for a one-hour ride to Camp Grafton.
It was a great day for flying that enabled everyone to see a great view of the state and the water issues that are impacting it, organizers said.
Camp Grafton trains Soldiers from all 50 states and four territories. The Camp consists of three major units: the 164th Regional Training Institute, the 136th Combat Service Support Battalion and the 3662nd General Support Maintenance Company.
Employers were able to tour the Regional Training Institute, where a number of out-of- state Guard members were training in construction, electrical and plumbing trades. Then, they toured other training areas and watched the activities that take place when their employee/citizen-Guardsman is away at training.
“The Boss Lift is our way of publicly recognizing individual civilian employers who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees,” said Dave Johnston, one of the ESGR volunteers who helped to coordinate the Boss Lift.
ESGR gains and maintains employer support for Guard and Reserve service members by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law, and resolving conflicts through mediation. Employers Outreach is a key function of ESGR’s Statement of Support singings, trade shows, educational events, job fairs and award presentations.
“These individual employers, like the citizen-Soldiers they employ, have answered their nation’s call to serve by going above and beyond what is required of an employer. These employers allow their employees to answer this nation’s call to duty with no apprehension or regret,” said Dale Lane, ESGR Fargo volunteer.
ESGR is a Department of Defense organization that seeks to promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees. ESGR’s mission is to gain and maintain employer support for members of the National Guard and Reserve by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law, and resolving conflict through mediation.
Job Service North Dakota Veterans’ Employment Team Receives Prestigious Mark Sanders Award for Exceptional Service to Disabled Veterans
Job Service North Dakota’s Veterans’ Employment Team recently received the 2013 National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) Mark Sanders Award for Exceptional Service to Disabled Veterans.
Marlys Morgenstern, State Veterans Program Administrator for Job Service said, “This is an incredible honor for the Veterans Employment Team. Our Team includes seven Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists who are all veterans themselves. They understand, firsthand, the challenges Veterans face when reentering the civilian workforce. They consider their work a tremendous responsibility, but they always step up selflessly, gladly, and with the utmost respect for their fellow Veterans.”
The Veterans Employment Team’s efforts helped North Dakota rank highest in the nation for the rate of Disabled Veterans entering the workforce. The Team’s exceptional service also resulted in a significant increase in the number of Disabled Veterans attaining employment in high-paying jobs.
All Veterans Employment Team members are actively involved in one or more Veteran Service Organizations, which keeps them at the pulse of Veteran’s issues. Additionally, the Team regularly provides employment services to Veterans in homeless shelters throughout the state, joining forces with community groups to serve this rapidly increasing population.
Maren Daley, Job Service North Dakota’s Executive Director said, “The Mark Sanders Award recognition is well-deserved and speaks volumes about the services our Veterans can expect to receive every time they enter or call one of our offices.”
The Mark Sanders Award recognizes workforce agency staff who demonstrate exceptional service and dedication to improving disabled veterans’ employment opportunities and whose contributions involving Disabled Veterans extend beyond normal expectations and into the community.
Job Service North Dakota’s Veterans’ Employment Team has been recognized for a number of other awards within the past year. Keli Berglund recently received the 2013 Outstanding Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialist Award at the Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Orlando. Berglund is a tireless and determined advocate for Veterans – always taking the extra step to provide the Priority of Service they deserve.
Jerome Billups, a Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialist in the Fargo Job Service office, received the 2013 National Economic Commission Service Award at the American Legion National Convention in Houston for his outstanding service and advocacy for Veterans.
The Job Service Veterans’ Employment Team also received the following awards: State Disabled American Veterans National Commander’s Award, State American Legion Economic Commission Employment Service Award, the State VFW Commander’s Appreciation Award, the State American Legion Commander’s Award, and the Award of Merit from the ND Chapter of the International Association of Workforce Professionals.
In the above photo, Brad Aune, Commander of Post 2 is pictured second from the right and Jerome Billupsa member of Post #400 at North Dakota State University is on the far right.
To see a news clip from KFYR TV in Bismarck on this story, please CLICK HERE.
New District 1 Leadership for Membership Year 2018
Post 2 is proud to announce that two of their members were selected tonight to serve as the incoming leadership of District 1! Christopher Hanson was selected as District Vice Commander (Elect) and Michele Olson was selected as District Commander (Elect) for membership year 2018!
From the National Commander
CLICK HERE to read the latest from our National Commander Charles Schmidt.
Hawaii Fights to Save WWI Memorial
The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium has fallen into disrepair. Now the Legion and preservationists are trying to save it from being torn down. CLICK HERE to read more.
National Poppy Day Supports Veterans, Honors the Fallen
The American Legion Family leads the effort to keep all who served front and center heading into Memorial Day weekend. CLICK HERE to read more.
Purple Heart Lie Results in Six Guilty Verdicts
A former Holly Springs police officer was found guilty Tuesday of falsely claiming he was a Purple Heart recipient four years after an investigation showed he lied about his military affiliation. CLICK HERE to read more.
Vietnam Veterans Day: An Unforgettable Medal of Honor Message
The President signed legislation honoring Vietnam Veterans Day, and a speech about coming home- CLICK HERE for more.
An "Ideal Setting" to Honor a Veteran
Post 27 in New Hampshire hosted a ceremony for a World War II veteran who received medals earned decades earlier. CLICK HERE to read on.
"They Served Each Other"
At a World War I centennial event, our American Legion national commander praised the generation that fought the Great War and founded The American Legion. CLICK HERE to read more.
Seabees Celebrate 75 Years of Successes
The Seabees have played a role in every U.S. conflict since World War II, providing national security, alleviating humanitarian crises and responding to natural disasters. CLICK HERE to read more.
America's Military is Losing Its Technology Edge
The global war on terrorism and reduced defense spending have taken their toll, even as rival nations are modernizing their forces. CLICK HERE to read on.
National Commander Used Legion Legacy to Advance Legislative Agenda
National Commander Schmidt testifies before joint session of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs committees. CLICK HERE to learn more!
OMW Delivers Largest Grant to a VA Facility in Two Years
The New Mexico VA Health Care System in Albuquerque received $10,000 for the purchase of needed items for its veterans. CLICK HERE to read more!
The 9/11 Never Forget Exhibit
We're working to help in the efforts to bring this incredible exhibit to West Fargo at the Red River Valley Fair this summer. Stay tuned for more details. But, for now, go check out the information on the 9/11 Never Forget Exhibit. It's worth your time. CLICK HERE to learn more!
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 Commander Christopher Hanson or Past Commander Brad Aune, both who are Advisory Board members of VALOR.
New Mexico Man Admits Stolen Valor Charge
Anthony Gambino, 43, has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and violating the Stolen Valor Act. CLICK HERE to read more.
Department of Maryland Legionnaires Attend a Sendoff Ceremony
Department of Maryland members show support to 200 National Guard troops headed to the Middle East for nine months. CLICK HERE to read more!
Legion Assessing Damage in Storm-Ravaged Georgia
Tornadoes killed at least 15 in state, caused $100 million in damage. CLICK HERE to read more.
"We're Saving Lives"
After a brutal cold spell hit Portland and caused multiple deaths, Legion Post 134 set up a warming shelter that has housed more than 20 area residents each night. CLICK HERE to read more.
Appeals Modernization, Choice Program, Cannabis Research
New American Legion Legislative Director Matthew Shuman talks key issues facing veterans on Capitol Hill. CLICK HERE to read more.
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!