Stephanie, Logan and Autumn Merten enjoyed time together at the Walter Graham Post 332 American Legion Rifle Squad Corn Boil on Sunday, Aug. 4 at the American Center.

By Marianne Mueller
Established on Oct. 13, 1932 The Rockton American Legion mission is stated as “The nation’s largest wartime Veterans service organization. The Legion is committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in communities while advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security and continued devotion to fellow service members and veterans. Last year the Legion celebrated 100 years in existence with a special event.
Continuing to expand on great works the Rockton American Legion Rifle Squad hosted a corn boil on Sunday, Aug. 4 at the American Center. Sweet corn remains one of the main draws to this always popular event. Additionally BBQ Chicken or Pork Chops, and side dishes such as bread and baked beans completed meals as solid crowds came through the line.
Boy Scout Troop 619 and Members of different branches of the American Legion assisted with the event.
A representative spoke about the “Sheep Dog Impact Assistance Program.” A team now exists in Wisconsin and Northern IL. with 50,000 members worldwide. Founded in 2010 SDIA is a nationally recognized non-profit organization founded and is headquartered in Rogers, Ark.
SDIA’s mission is to engage, assist and to empower our nation’s “Sheep Dogs who are Veterans, Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue, and EMS Professionals to get off the couch, to get out of their comfort zone and to reengage in living life to the fullest and renewing their sense of purpose.
It was stated that recent figures reveal that more than 5,000 veterans ended their lives in 2018 and more first responders died by suicide than in the line of duty. Service opportunities in the SDIA include “Disaster Response” missions, outdoor adventures, and “Holiday Assistance” programs. The newest planned events are “Sheep Dog” skydiving and a zip lining adventure. More details on SDIA can be found at
Extra fun was had as one 50/50raffle was held, along with ongoing prize raffles where winners chose from awesome items donated by local businesses. Event Co-Chair Kerry Krebs kept action rolling by announcing activities and spinning a lucky prize wheel. Many took a chance on winning one of the top three prizes in a Grand Prize drawing.
The winner of the 50/50 raffle was Donna Olson of Rockton. Drawn as the First Prize winner of $2,500 was Geoff Beatty of Rockton. Second Prize honors went to Marilyn Hoiten of Beloit, Wis. Gary Dretski of Grafton, Wis., earned third place winnings. Second and third place winners won $500.
“This is the only fundraiser that the Rifle Squad does. The money that we make on this event pays for uniforms; each one cost around $450,” said corn boil Co-Chair Jim Griffin. He adds, “We have to keep the uniforms clean and up to date.” The Legion also pays for and gives Bibles to Veterans who are post members and helps to provide grave markers to honor Veterans who have passed away.
The Walter Graham American Legion Post 332 serves year round. Various branches of the post make up a true family tree. The sons of the Legion each have a Father, or Grandfather who has served our country. The Riders are the motorcycle hub who generates the most funds. They donate money to help Veterans and support the food pantry by purchasing Christmas gifts to give to children who would not otherwise receive them. Riders do rides, and benefits such as Operation USA. Legionnaires, Sons of the Legion, the Riders and the ladies Auxiliary give back million dollars per year to honor the legacy; helping kids go on to college who have lost a parent killed in action, or who are on active duty combat.
The Legion gives out yearly scholarships to deserving Hononegah High School seniors. Extra scholarships are awarded in the amount of $1,000 to those in their junior or senior year of a nursing program through the ladies Auxiliary. Students may also participate in the Legion essay program about our Government. Additional educational opportunities come in the form of sending young men to “Boys State” and young ladies to “Illini State” each year.
Anyone who has any immediate family that has served our country is welcome to join the American Legion. Yearly dues are paid after approval is given. Eligible members also may qualify to receive emergency funds covering up to $3,000 in expenses.
After passing in the House of Representatives a week before On July 30, 2019 President Trump signed the Legion in law by passing the American Legion Act. This act now allows thousands of honorable but previously ineligible Veterans the right to join the largest and most influential veteran’s organization in the country. Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress recognized the importance of these actions.

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