By Kathryn Rice

American Legion Post 288 Commander Kenny Pettlon, Adjutant Roger Florea and other members are working to get the Glen Ulmer American Legion back to having a presence in Hopkins.

The AL post was started in 1939 and named after a young soldier who died in France in 1918 during World War I. In a historical side-note, Florea said it was 1921 before Ulmer’s body was returned for burial at the Hopkins Cemetery. Over 2,000 people were estimated to have attended the interment.

“We welcome veterans who are not members of other legions to join us,” Florea said.

The post now has 12 members and has commitments for four more to join, Pettlon said. The original members are getting older, Pettlon has been a member for over 50 years and Florea for 56.

While recruiting local veterans in the Hopkins and Pickering area, the AL members are also looking for veterans with a link to the area. If veterans join, they can receive help through the national organization. The post’s leadership is looking at people with ties to Hopkins through family or having lived there in the past. To be a member, a veteran must be honorably discharged and have served at least one day on active duty, including the National Guard. Active-duty National Guardsmen may also join.

AL 288 lost its hall due to the buildings on either side falling into disrepair and collapsing. The city had demolished four buildings including the post’s hall on Barnard Street. The long-term goal is to rebuild the legion hall in Hopkins and maintain it with younger members. The post had salvaged the worthy memorabilia, Florea said.

“We’ll need to raise money for the post,” Florea said. “And support Hopkins through the community, school and churches. Our communities have changed as younger ones have moved out. They are a source of membership even though they live in Kansas City.”

Another task the post has taken on is the rebuilding of a brick memorial site on Barnard Street which fell due to storm damage. The stone with ‘Glen Ulmer Post 288’ will be part of the brick memorial.

“Our intention is to have a dinner with the post and auxiliary for Veterans Day,” Pettlon said. This is to be on Saturday, November 11.

The post also takes care of the Avenue of Flags on Memorial Day at the Hopkins Cemetery, along with the auxiliary putting individual flags on the graves.

“We want this post to survive,” Florea said. “It is an honor organization plus a service organization.”

As part of a recent fundraiser, legion members were out and about at the Hopkins Picnic selling raffle tickets.

If interested in more information about the Glen Ulmer American Legion or in joining, contact Pettlon at 816.351.7776 or Florea at 660.541.4107.