The American Legion is celebrating 100 years this year and Bloomfield’s Auxiliary Post 249 celebrated by hosting their annual potluck dinner on June 26.
“Every year we invite the veterans from the Norfolk Veterans’ Home,” organizer Lu Jessen said.
They join the local veterans and their families for the dinner. This year, as they gathered to celebrate the 100th year of the American Legion, they ended up planning a future for it.
About 18 veterans visited this year from Norfolk for the potluck dinner. Legion riders escorted them into Bloomfield’s community center for the meal. Kenna, Sydney and Hailey Kronberg and Avery Bargman and Charleigh Mach welcomed the vets. Alexandra Eisenhauer also joined the festivities and received many compliments when she sang the National Anthem.
Kenna, Sydney and Hailey are the daughters of Tony Kronberg and Avery Bargman and Charleigh Mach are the daughters of Gayle and Jody Mach. These girls make up the Junior Auxiliary.
“The girls went down to the veterans home with us in May,” Jessen said. “Those kids were fantastic with the veterans.”
Jessen invited the girls to attend the potluck event and they led everyone present in the Pledge of Allegiance and helped veterans through the buffet of food. They dished up plates and wheeled people in wheelchairs through.
“Everyone enjoyed visiting with the girls and loved their company,” Jessen said. “I should have planned more events because they didn’t want to go back to Norfolk.”
Jessen said there was a new veteran who visited this year. Originally from Howells, it is his first year in the Norfolk Veterans’ Home. The 93 year old man gave her something special he had made. It was a popsicle stick craft he had made into Jesus on the cross.
He shared his story with Jessen and the girls about how he was in Berlin when the Germans surrendered.
Jessen hopes she can set up interviews for the Junior Auxiliary to go to Norfolk or local rest homes and talk to the veterans about their experiences.
“What an opportunity for those girls to learn,” Jessen said.
She said she hopes the Junior Auxiliary will flourish and that the girls continue to participate and get more younger kids involved.
“The veterans absolutely love seeing the younger kids interested in their stories,” Jessen said.