News: Unity - Legion Post Celebrates 100th Anniversary (2022)

Transcriber: Stan

Surnames: Kath, Strathmann, Kops

----Source: Tribune-Phonograph (Abbotsford, Clark Co., Wis.) 15 Jun 2022

The Unity Legion Post 358 celebrated their 100th anniversary at the American Legion hall on Saturday with a special ceremony for Otis Kath and his longevity in the post of 71 years. Fifteen veterans from World War I organized the Unity American Legion Post on May 25, 1922, and designated it to Otto H. Kops, a World War I veteran born in Unity, that died and was buried in Romagne, France.

The Legion serves and provides services to veterans that have served at least one day of their life with an honorable discharge. In 2019 Donald Trump signed an act to ensure any veteran would be able to join the Legion, before you had to have served in a war. The post has done things such as the Honor Flight, where veterans, whether in a Legion, or not get flown out to Washington D.C. and visit the war memorials.

The group celebrated by having a meal and afterwards, two speakers. Richard Strathmann opened by welcoming Bob Flink to the stand. Flink spoke about the history of the post.

“On May 25, 1922, Post 358 in Unity was organized with 21 members. The post was named for Otto Herman Kops because he was killed in France in World War I in the 47 day Muese-Argonne offensive. He died on October 3, 1918, while he was in the process of starting his truck,. He was backed into by another truck,” said Flink. “The post had a rocky start. In 1922 dues were two dollars and then in 1923 they were $2.50. The post almost died due to a lack of interest.”

Flink pointed out the periods around wars, the membership to the legion would be higher. “The post membership from 1930 to 1940 was up and down from as low as 10 members to as high as 20 members. During World War II it got as high as 34 members. After the war, membership got as high as 58 members.”

The next speaker was Richard Strathmann, a 14-year member. He spoke about Kath and appreciate everything he has done.

“In conjunction with the posts 100th birthday, I would like to introduce a true hero. Otis Kath has been a faithful member of the American Legion for the past 71 years. He is currently a paid up in full lifetime member and currently serves as the post chaplain. Otis has served the post and the surrounding area in an outstanding manner,” said Strathmann.

“Otis served his country during World War II. He was a member of the 11th Airborne division, and served in the Pacific theater of operations. Along with the various awards that he received, he was awarded two battle stars on his Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal for Luzan and the Philippines.” said Strathmann.

“In 1945 he arrived with the unit in Okinawa, awaiting the invasion of Japan, as the war ended,” said Strathmann.

“Otis, we would all like to thank you for your service and present you with a token of our appreciation. You are truly our hero,” said Strathmann.

To finish off the celebration Cheryl Coyer of Merrill presented a quilt to Kath and thanked him for his service.



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