Legion collects for troops, celebrates 95th birthday

Arlington American Legion Post 76 members Ray Klosterhoff, left, and Chris Raboin show off part of their haul for
Arlington American Legion Post 76 members Ray Klosterhoff, left, and Chris Raboin show off part of their haul for 'Operation Desert Comfort' in the Arlington Legion Lounge on March 8.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Arlington American Legion Post 76 is continuing to help support American troops serving overseas, even as its members gear up for the American Legion's 95th birthday.

The Arlington Legion's donation drive for "Operation Desert Comfort" began in the latter half of February, and culminated in a day-long collection of non-perishable foods and personal hygiene items in Legion Park on Saturday, March 8, which was sufficient to fill their waist-high barrel.

Barb Lloyd, who handles public relations for Arlington American Legion Post 76, thanked all those who turned out in spite of the day's wet, dreary weather to drop off everything from snacks to toothbrushes.

"Our barrel is now overflowing," Lloyd said. "We hope to do this a few more times during the year, outside of the Legion, but in the meantime, there's still a barrel in the Legion, if anyone would like to donate non-perishable foods or personal hygiene items."

Among the requested items are disposable razors, travel-size shampoo, mouthwash, toothbrushes, floss, chips, cookies, cup-of-noodles soup, Pop Tarts, sardines, crackers, instant oatmeal, gum, Tabasco sauce and baby wipes. Do not include chocolate, as it will melt. A full list of requested items is currently posted on the front door of Arlington American Legion Post 76, located at 115 N. Olympic Ave.

"Cash donations are also welcome, and will be used either to buy goods for the troops, or to go toward the shipping costs to send those care packages to Afghanistan," Lloyd said. "Please help us send a little something from home to our brave men and women serving overseas. As one gentleman told me that Saturday, he served during peacetime, and it felt so good for him to get something from home, so he could scarcely imagine how those serving in Afghanistan during this time of war would feel to receive such packages."

Lloyd expressed her appreciation to the Arlington community for chipping in to provide those troops with some small measure of comfort from America, and invited local veterans to the Arlington American Legion Post 76 commemoration of the American Legion's 95th birthday on Saturday, March 15, from 4-6 p.m., again at 115 N. Olympic Ave.

"March 15 the designated birthday of the American Legion, as the day in 1919 when the first American Legion caucus, conducted by members of the American Expeditionary Force, convened in Paris, France," Lloyd said. "It is the date that the American Legion came to life, and each year, Legion posts across the country conduct events to commemorate this anniversary."

The Arlington Legion's ceremony will kick off at 4 p.m., with dinner to follow from 5-6 p.m. The meal will consist of ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans and rolls, all familiar favorites for Arlington Legionnaires, plus birthday cake, and will cost $7.

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