Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Benefits available to veterans


Lois E. Johnson

Part of the American Legion display at the civic and community center next to the entrance to the Moose Lake Public Library.

Veterans of foreign wars have benefited by belonging to veterans' organizations since returning home following their time of service. Organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) have provided comradery for the vets, as well as provided them with services, such as discounts on purchases.

Duane Brownie, veterans service officer for Carlton County, explained the role of veterans' organizations in a recent telephone interview.

"The Disabled American Veterans organization has many good benefits for its members," he said. "There is a slew of benefits available, such as discounts on car rentals and hotel benefits. And the DAV is known very well for a Ford partner program. Veterans qualify for X-Plan pricing. One man saved $10,000 on a new car. Veterans can also access the most competitive rates at the USAA Bank."

Discounts for Apple products and from moving companies are also available, he added.

Some organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion, have their own facilities and raise funds by operating a bar.

"When those organizations were formed years ago, there was an old-school mentality," said Brownie. "There was comradery amongst the veterans.

"Now, a lot of the younger generation do not want to go to a bar; they want activities that are more family-oriented."

The number of members for the American Legion had risen to 3.1 million in 1992, but dropped to 2.3 million in 2013, according to information on the website Wikipedia.

That drop in memberships has been seen locally.

"There used to be 100 members in our American Legion," said Lou Hall, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary for Maunula-Pedersen Post #379, the Moose Lake chapter. "We lost 20 in one year."

The membership is around 60 at the current time, reported Dean Paulson, the post commander.

The auxiliary has 33 members, said Hall. The auxiliary supports the American Legion organization.

A dinner for veterans is being planned by the auxiliary on Sunday, November 13, at Holy Angels Catholic Church in Moose Lake.

The American Legion supports Americanism and promotes patriotism, and it supports the youth and education. One of the activities of the American Legion is to support teachers during American Education Week, November 14-18.

"Bill (Hall) and I have been bringing apples to the teachers during American Education Week for 30 years," said Lou Hall. "The American Legion also has a baseball team."

The American Legion started Boys State and Girls State, a program for high school students during the summer, where they gather and practice governmental duties. "That started right after World War II," said Hall. "That's when some people were trying to form Communism groups in the United States."

Hall said Bill Hall went to Boys State in 1949 in South Dakota and their grandson, Bryceton Butkiewicz, went this year during the summer. He will be presenting a report about his experiences being a judge at the dinner on November 13, Hall said.

The organization has a long history.

The American Legion was formed in Paris by the American Expeditionary Forces on March 16, 1919, and it was chartered in congress in September that same year.

The Moose Lake post was formed the following January and the first meeting was held on January 6, 1920, said Hall. She has a copy of the minutes from the first meeting.

"The dues were $2 a year," she added. "Now they are $35 a year."

Brownie said the cost of the dues is one reason why not as many veterans are joining the veterans' organizations in recent years.

"A veteran can become a lifetime member of the DAV for $300 but it is a lot more expensive for a lifetime membership in the American Legion," he said. "And our organization pays part of the lifetime DAV membership fee and the state pays part of it."

There is also a chapter of the American Legion in Kettle River.

Another veterans' organization is the Veterans of Foreign Wars or VFW. There are chapters in Carlton and Cloquet.

The local veterans' organizations also have color guards, a group of several veterans that lead parades, and provide flag ceremonies and playing Taps at events, such as services on Memorial Day and at funerals of veterans, if requested.

For more information about the DAV, VFW or American Legion posts in Carlton County, contact Brownie at the Veterans Service Office in Cloquet at (218) 499-6838.


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