The late William Kregger was remembered, and living service veterans were honored, Monday night in David City at a banquet commemorating the 100th anniversary of Kregger Post 125 of the American Legion.
About 65 people were at Winfield’s to celebrate what was otherwise the 100th anniversary of the first Armistice Day observance, now better known as Veteran’s Day. The event was sponsored by the David City American Legion Auxiliary.
Most branches of the armed services were represented by those veterans present, including the National Guard and military reserves. The service eras in which the veterans, both men and women, had served included World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, the Gulf Wars and peace time.
Recognition was given to the longest serving active veteran members of the Post. Bill Sanley was longest at 65 years.
Also recognized were the longest active auxiliary members. Kate Martin was cited for 69 years.
Guests present included Larry Mach of Weston, Senior Vice Commander of the Department of the American Legion in Nebraska.
Legion Auxiliary President Jackie Mahlin read a history of Legion Post 125. It was named for the late William Kregger, an Army sergeant killed in action during World War I shortly before the Armistice went into effect on Nov. 11, 1918. Her late father, Edgar Martin, had served with Kregger.
The Kregger post here was chartered on Dec. 13, 1919, Mahlin said. This followed the desire of World War I veterans to establish an organization on a national, state and city level that would help wartime widows and orphans.
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The Legion has since expanded to include such activities as helping with youth education and sports, and fundraising in times of disasters.
Mahlin told how the Legion and Auxiliary had to return a treasured memento, Kregger’s military bugle, to the Kregger family because there is no place locally to display it or other military artifacts from local veterans. A military museum here was required to close a few years ago.
“If anyone can think of a place (to exhibit), we would really appreciate it,” Mahlin said.
Jim Daro, the current commander of Kregger Post, asked those present to try to “energize” more recent veterans into joining the Legion on a personal interactive level.
Mach also encouraged the audience to “talk to younger members, get them to join.” He noted younger veterans respect older veterans as leaders of the community, but that many younger veterans now mainly communicate via electronic media.
Other activities during the program included a series of patriotic songs sung by the Daro Sisters, comprised of Barb Ingwersen, Linda Robinson and Jackie Kastl.
Stories were told of the five local Daro brothers who all served in the military during World War II. Army reservist Gwen Hein showed certificates that her father, Lumir Brabec, had earned in 1957 after crossing the equator while serving in the Navy.
An additional event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Kregger Post will be Nov. 23 during the Nebraska-Maryland college football game. An indoors tailgate party and fundraiser will be held at the Municipal Auditorium in David City.