Freeborn American Legion to hold soup and pie supper

Published 9:11 am Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Freeborn American Legion will be holding its annual soup and pie supper on Jan. 17. Anyone is welcome to come, and the money from the charge of $5 for adults, $3 for children between five and 10 (free for children under 5) goes to the keeping the Legion operating and serving veterans and the community.

A fundraiser like this is important, Vickie Becker said, because it allows the Legion to continue to work for veteran’s rights and support things in the community.

“I know it’s really cold out, but these are professional cooks,” Vickie said. “One of the ladies cooked at the school for many, many years and she makes a wicked pot of soup. Another had her own business catering to people and had a restaurant, so she’s also a professional cook. The third one making the chili has been making it for so many years we don’t even have to ask her.”

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Vickie, who has been a part of the American Legion Auxiliary for about 38 years, said veterans’ benefits are particularly important to her and her husband Duane Becker because he’s retired on full Veteran’s disability.

“We have a strong hold in the federal government at Washington,” Duane said. “They can lobby for us to get the rights we feel we have coming.”

Many veterans, Duane said, don’t even know what benefits are available to them, so it’s important for Legion members to fight for these rights and educate other veterans.

“I think it’s because the veterans need a place and to show support for the veterans. You don’t have a legion, there’s nothing for the veterans to show pride in,” Jim Beach said.

Other events the Freeborn Legion hold include a Memorial Day service and parade, a sweet corn and pork burger dinner in August, a member dinner, a hospice Christmas dinner and other events, Duane said.

The Legion can hold fewer events because they now run the gambling at a bar and grill in Freeborn and use that money, but Duane said it is still important to hold events.

“The more you have things going on, the more your unit will pull together,” Duane said. “The more stuff you have going, the more they’ll get together and help out. If you just sit there stagnate and don’t do much, things won’t come together. It’s like a church. You don’t do things, you don’t progress.”

Serving and being a part of the community is also a big part of the Legion, and Duane said most of the Legion members grew up in Freeborn and returned after their time in the service.

Some of the money from their fundraisers and gambling goes to serving the community, said Jim Beach, who runs the gambling and helps decide how that money is spent. He said the Legion gives mostly to children and the elderly.

Some of the things the Legion in Freeborn gives to include the Alden food shelf, post-prom parties at United South Central High School, and the Legion supports Boys State and Girls State, organizations that teach about the democratic process, Duane said.

The Legion also has a group of sewers that make heart pillows for recovering heart surgery patients and other such items that go to the Veterans Hospital in St. Paul and to local nursing homes.

The Legion hall also serves as a community center, aside from weekly card games and bone strengthening classes; hall use is donated for community events and can be rented for a small fee, Beach said.

While the Legion serves as a community center, Duane said events like the soup and pie supper resemble community get-togethers.

“It’s like a big family because everybody knows everybody,” Duane said. “It’s like a community get together, that’s basically what it turns out to be. The whole community gets together. That’s the way most of these smaller towns are.”