Vets establish relationship with community through LegionDevin Feuerhelm is the recently named Pierce County Commander for the American Legion.
By: Bill Kirk, Pierce County Herald
It wasn’t until almost a year after he left the military that Devin Feuerhelm joined the American Legion.
Once Feuerhelm became a member, his involvement escalated rather quickly. As the recently named Pierce County Commander for the Legion, he believes other area veterans could have similar positive experiences if they joined the organization, too.
“I want to be prepared for the returning soldiers who might need a place to fit in and the American Legion just might be the place,” he said.
The 1991 Ellsworth High School graduate was encouraged to participate after he came home from the service in 2006 by some then-new neighbors, especially Gene Olson, he said Friday. One of the reasons he was hesitant was the age gap between himself and most Legionnaires, the 37-year-old explained, indicating the next youngest member of his post is around 20 years older. Younger vets tend to shy away from the Legion because most of the others are elderly, he said.
“A young guy’s perspective is different,” he said.
Feuerhelm said he got active right away, soon serving as sergeant-in-arms for the Bay City Legion Post. Members aren’t expected to attend all of the regular meetings (largely social events); as for additional activities, some just want to be part of military funerals, for example. The Harding-Hall-Darrington Post, to which he belongs, sponsors area Cub Scouts, holds Memorial Day ceremonies at eight cemeteries and assists needy families, among other activities. There are 115 on its membership list and there’s a women’s auxiliary as well.
The Bay City Post is one of eight in the county, he said, also including the William E. Geer Post in Maiden Rock, the Kinne-Engelhart Post in Ellsworth, the Frank Gilles Post in Plum City, the Crain Ottman Post in Elmwood, the Castelloe-Madsen Post in Prescott, the Rickerd-Danielson Post in Spring Valley and the Fletcher-Pechacek Post in River Falls. All meet monthly except River Falls, convening on a twice monthly basis due to its larger size.
Each post sends at least one representative to the county Legion meetings, held monthly at rotating sites and typically attended by 15-to-20 Legionnaires, he said. He went to one of these sessions and ended up volunteering for the county commander job.
“It was Bay City’s turn for it,” he said of the commander opening.
The position carries a two-year term and requires its occupant to appoint an adjutant and finance officer, he said. At the lone county meeting where he’s presided to date, a schedule was distributed for posts to staff the Legion booth in the Round Barn at the upcoming Pierce County Fair. That’s also a place for those interested to join the organization.
“We’re going to be giving away eight flag kits,” he said, noting the kits come with paperwork having a spot for registration. Otherwise, interested people who don’t win a kit or don’t visit the fair can contact their local post, phone him at (651) 301-1032 or check out the statewide Legion computer internet web site at www.wilegion.org.
Read more in the print version of the Herald July 29.