2021 IN REVIEW

NEWS FROM THE HUT by John Hamilton

We are starting a brand-new year and we are all hoping that 2022 will be better than 2021 with the COVID-19 pandemic that actually started in 2020 and all that accompanied that misadventure. I think that everyone is hoping and praying that 2022 will be far better than the past two years. Several Legion family members have moved on to our Post Everlasting that include Bob Hough, Gary Lanham, Bill Walls, and Linda Hale.

We started a new tradition called the “Shootout” that originally began at Bucks Eats and Treats in the beginning of March of 2021 but had to move to Daylight Donuts when Bucks Eats and Treats closed their doors the end of March 2021.

In April, we attended the Mid-Winter Conference that actually should have taken place in January but was postponed until April due to the pandemic. During the conference, everyone was able to attend several different training classes and a Friday night banquet. On Saturday a guest speaker, the Oklahoma State Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs, Brigadier General (ret) Ben T. Robertson gave amazing and inspired speech about his efforts and plans to drastically improve services for all veterans seeking assistance from the VA and to improve transition efforts for incarcerated veterans back into mainstream society.

During our April meeting, Post 142 elected the officers for 2021-2022 year. All the Officers agreed to continue in their current position except for four positions: 2nd Vice Commander, Historian, Service Officer and Sgt-at-Arms. New officers were appointed and voted on to confirm their appointments. Our newest post member, Russel Hanoch, was presented with his Legion Cap by Commander Steve Swinford and the Senior USAF NCO in our Post, Retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Don Rainwater. This was the first time the members at Post 142 were able to enjoy a wonderful chicken noodle meal prepared by our resident Army expert Jimmy Himes with cornbread baked by our senior USAF NCO, Don Rainwater, and a fantastic chocolate cake provided by Babo Carter, our notorious Flag Man of Hominy

On May 1, 2021, the American Legion District 1A-1B held their Spring Conference at Post 182 in Pryor, Oklahoma. The turnout was the biggest in District 1 history since WWII at over 78 members in attendance from multiple posts throughout District 1.

Memorial Day was celebrated on Monday, May 31, 2021. In preparation for this momentous celebration of remembering veterans and their ultimate sacrifice and honoring the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, a couple of the American Legion members of Post 142 in Hominy, OK, Babo Carter and Jimmy Himes, spent the week getting A. J. Powell Memorial Cemetery flags replaced, repaired and installed.

A new federal holiday called “Juneteenth” was signed into law by President Biden celebrating the end of slavery in the USA on June 19th. The American Legion, Post 142 will be putting out flags on Main Street every June 19th in celebration of this very historical.

June also marked the date the Soldier’s Cross was installed at the A.J. Powell Memorial Cemetery. The Soldier’s Cross was carved out of a tree stump and installed in the Hominy Cemetery. The Soldier’s Cross was completed, installed and dedicated at the A.J. Powell Memorial Cemetery on Saturday, June 26, 2021. The carved Soldier’s Cross was place near Bill Starks grave site, a WWII Bataan Death March in the Philippines survivor at the A.J. Powell Memorial Cemetery in Hominy. Babo Carter has led the charge for the Soldier’s Cross.

Post 142 members have decided to get some Post 142 Legion polo shirts made for the members. They will be the color purple [for Hominy Bucks] with white lettering. Price is to be determined at a later time. Charlie O’Leary is handling this effort through a local merchant.

In July 2021 in Shawnee, Oklahoma at the 2020-2021 Summer Convention at the Grand Casino and Hotel, the very first Department of Oklahoma Commander from Hominy was elected. This was accomplished without opposition and by acclimation. Not only is this a first for the Department Commander but this is the first time that there is two Legionnaires from Hominy Post 142 to hold an office in the Department of Oklahoma. The new Department Commander is Hominy’s own Charlie O’Leary,

During the past year of 2021, we celebrated the memories with flashbacks of former members who have advanced to out Post Everlasting. These members that were celebrated were Morris Field, Lloyd White, Bill White, Witt Franklin (WF) Tucker, Vern Cain, Wayne Moore, Cecil Owens, Roy Arian, Louis M Hale, Sr, Bill Gene Starks, Sr., Carl Quillin, Dick Pope, Rex Mantooth, Jess Ballard, Gene Ware, Bobby Davis, John Fields, Gary Anderson, James Frazier, Ralph Dooling.

In September, our Post 142 started growing for the first time in quite a while. The first new member was Russel Hanoch who is a veteran of the United States Air Force and served in Panama. The next member to join was Michael Callahan, another United States Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam. Then, amazingly, we had two young veterans join our post at the same time on the same night. John Carter is another United States Air Force veteran who served our country in the Persian Gulf. The young man who joined at the same time was Jonathan Engle and he is a veteran of the United States Army who also served in the Persian Gulf. The post now has 26 USA Veterans, 14 USAF Veterans, seven USN Veterans, three USMC Veterans, and one USCG Veteran. The only problem is only about 10 to 15 actually attend out meetings.

Then we had a dinner meeting that took place on Thursday, October 21st and was an installation of officers meeting. The dinner was wonderful with barbequed pork, beef, and chicken. The members provided multiple, delicious sides and desserts. After dinner, the installation meeting followed with the swearing in of the previous elected officers. A great time was had by all.

The Veteran’s Day Dinner and Awards Ceremony this year and the Dinner was held, as usual, at the Hominy High School on November 11th. The Veteran of the Year Blanket Ceremony was held in the HS gym. This year’s recipient of the “Veteran of the Year Blanket” and the honors that accompany this award is a veteran that has served The United States of America with pride. This veteran has served our country around the world from Lackland, Texas for basic training to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. This veteran has served overseas for ten years in various countries. He has been awarded seven medals and several of them multiple times. This year’s Veteran of the Year is a Senior Master Sergeant, ret. from the United States Air Force, Don Rainwater.

Autumn had definitely fallen upon our little town in northeastern Oklahoma, in mid-December, but was already feeling like winter was being very impatient for its arrival. The sun had just set down behind the metal figures of ancestral Osage on horseback watching over our town from a western hilltop. The wind was not blowing very strong, but it was cold, moving from the low 40’s to the high 30’s. The Hominy Christmas Parade had been scheduled for Saturday, December 11, 2021. This was the first time that our town held a parade down Main Street, the primary business street, since that horrific COVID-19 pandemic struck our entire country. All the members met at Hut to get organized and remount the flags from the short poles used at the HHS Veterans Honor assembly to the longer poles required on the trailer. Afterwards we all met at the west end of Main Street by the Train Depot, to get in line for the start of the parade. When we arrived to line up, even though it seemed early, everyone else was already there. Many Hominy police cars, Osage Sheriff’s cars, fire engines, EMS, ambulance. There were also several floats, and an array of classic vehicles that I would love to call any one of them my own, especially that 1955 Chevy.

The last event of the year was a night that was a very special night for Post, and Unit 142 in Hominy because it would be the first time that the Post would hold their annual Auxiliary/Legion Christmas Dinner since the COVID Pandemic struck it’s vengeance among the citizens of this country. Some of the members started to march through the front door. As the time grew closer to 6:00 PM more and more of the Legion and Auxiliary members, along with their family members, filed in carrying all kinds of side dishes and dessert trays. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bonnie Liles, Judy White, and Nancy O’Leary from Unit 142, of the American Legion Auxiliary for getting the word out to all the Auxiliary members about this year’s Christmas dinner.

Our regular Legion meetings have changed and will be the first and third Thursday of each month. Our next meeting will be on Thursday, January 6th at 7:00 PM. The next Sons of the American Legion (SAL) will be on Thursday, January 6th at 5:00 PM. The Monday morning Koffee Klatch will continue at 8:00 AM. If you are a veteran, active, inactive, or retired, come by the Hominy Post 142 Hut at 118 S Wood Avenue for our monthly meeting, and/or the Monday morning Koffee Klatch meeting. Several of the Post 142 members meet every Wednesday at Daylight Donuts on OK-99 around 8:00 AM in Hominy for coffee and maybe a breakfast treat. If you have a good story, it may end up in print. Also, keep up with us at the Post 142 website “americanlegion142.org” and Hominy Post 142 or Hominy Post Legion on Facebook.

About American Legion Post #142

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
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