Legion, Auxiliary history

By Marcie Klomp

Seeing the history of other Legion Posts in the special Veterans Day section in the Lime Springs Herald, it seemed to make sense to review the history of our own American Legion, Post 545.

Not all veterans of a branch of the service are invited to become American Legion members, but all who served in a war are able to join.

The Lime Springs Post is not as old as some. According to the Then and Now book, our returning veterans of WWI joined the newly-formed post in Cresco in 1919, assuming the organization would be a county one. Turns out many small towns formed their own posts, which pushed Lime Springs into doing just that.

Lloyd L. Horton, whom the Legion Post is named after.

Lloyd L. Horton, whom the Legion Post is named after.

On Jan. 22, 1921, the Lloyd L. Horton Post No. 545 received its charter. It was named after Horton, a former local druggist who had succumbed to the flu at Camp Grant, Ill. There was a little battle among the men of the time as another individual was thought to be more worthy—Frank Jones, who was the first war casualty on the battlefields in Europe from this area. A committee was formed to solve the matter. It is unclear how much arguing took place, but the decision was made.

The organizational meetings had been held in Dr. H.W. Plummer’s offices, over what is now the Lime Springs Clinic. Later, a permanent home was found and rented under the post office. Legion members made it their own by doing some excavating and fixing the ceiling and floor to make it suitable for a meeting place.

Just a few years later, the Snow Photography building where the telephone building now stands, burned, and along with it, the Herald office. The newspaper moved under the post office, and the Legion moved its chambers to rooms over French’s Hardware, about where Johnson Comfort Systems is located today.

The Legionnaires enjoyed their new, larger quarters and purchased a piano to be used for dances, parties and meetings. All the important papers, including the charter, were hung on the walls. All was lost in another fire, Easter Sunday 1927.

Members made do with meeting in Dr. Plummer’s offices again until they attained the rooms above what is now the Herald office.

Tired of moving, the Legion purchased its own building, where it is currently located, on Main Street. Meetings were held upstairs in the back room with rental money coming from the dentist office, also upstairs, and the main floor.

After WWII an influx of new members was a boost for the Legion and Lime Springs. In 1946, Commander Dr. Abner Buresh pushed for a membership drive, which succeeded. No. 545 was named State Champion Post by reaching 608 percent of its quota. The town with a population of 567 had 221 members!

Earl J. Sekora, whom the hall is named after.

Earl J. Sekora, whom the hall is named after.

With those new members, the upstairs meeting room was too small, so members started remodeling the basement, under the Commandership of Earl J. Sekora. When Sekora died unexpectedly of a brain tumor in 1957, the hall was named after him.

Over the years the Legion has been active in community activities. They have sent many a young man to Boys State to learn government functions; helped build the athletic field, where softball continues to be played today; been instrumental in participating in the Memorial Day and Veterans Day programs at school and in the community; performed military rites at funeral; sponsored the Boy Scouts; and cared for the flags at Pleasant Hill Cemetery.

Legion Auxiliary

Behind every man is a great woman, so the saying goes. That is definitely true of the American Legion Auxiliary. The ladies are there to support their soldiers.

The local Auxiliary was formed a year after the Legion itself was formed, March 23, 1922. The original Auxiliary disbanded in 1936, but reformed in 1946.

Over the years the organization has been a force to be reckoned with. They initiated the petition to build the present gymnasium, kitchen and classrooms at the school. In 1950, the women started the public library. Every year they pass out poppies for a donation and help with the Memorial and Veterans Day programs. They are also responsible for putting up the crosses on graves at Pleasant Hill, Chester Hill and Saetersdal cemeteries on Memorial Day.

Until the Cub Scouts disbanded a few years ago, the Auxiliary sponsored the group. The service group also purchased hospital equipment from magazine sales to allow locals use it free of charge when needed. As does the Legion, the Auxiliary sends a deserving youth to Girls State when able.

Today

Members of both organizations are getting older and memberships have fallen. Both are on the verge of disbanding. The Auxiliary is having a meeting Nov. 12 at 9 a.m. at Family Fun and Fitness to vote on continuing or not. The Legion may not be far behind.

It is sad to see organizations that had been such a vital part of Lime Springs history becoming history themselves, but without new and younger members, it is difficult to continue.

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