The Coon Rapids American Legion and Auxiliary celebrated the 94th birthday of the American Legion with a dinner Friday.
The American Legion was founded in 1919 and a dinner to mark the national organization’s birthday is an annual event at the Coon Rapids post.
The Coon Rapids American Legion will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year.
Special guests at the American Legion birthday dinner were Maddie Shogren, Coon Rapids American Legion Girls’ State representative last year, and Raleen Tolzmann, who is president of the Minnesota American Legion Auxiliary.
Shogren, a Blaine High School senior, was interested in learning about government by attending Girls’ State and was advised by her counselor at the school to apply to the Coon Rapids American Legion because Blaine does not have a Legion post, she said.
She’s glad she did.
Shogren described the week-long Girls’ State event at Bethel University in June 2012 as a “great experience.”
“I met a lot of people,” Shogren said.
Following graduation in June, Shogren plans to attend the University of St. Thomas in the fall to earn an education degree and become a secondary math teacher.
At Blaine High School, Shogren is a member of the track team, National Honor Society, Link Crew and Math Team as well as being a peer tutor, she said.
Tolzmann is from Cleveland, but is a member of the Minnesota Lake American Legion Auxiliary, which is between Mankato and St. Peter.
She took over as state auxiliary president July 1, 2012.
Her theme is, “Working together to make a difference for our veterans, their families and the community.”
According to Tolzmann, the American Legion Auxiliary does this through all its many programs for veterans and their families, including children and youth.
The auxiliary is also working with senators and representatives in Washington, D.C., on behalf of legislation benefiting veterans, said Tolzmann.
According to Tolzmann, she was in Washington recently with other members of the Minnesota American Legion and Auxiliary lobbying for veterans programs.
Peter Bodley is at firstname.lastname@example.org