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American Legion program features Boys State and Girls State reports

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 13th, 2013

AFC seniors Matt Gendusa and Brooke Smith share 2013 Boys State and Girls State experiences at Legion Dinner. (Photo submitted)


FRANKLIN GROVE — The Altenberg American Legion Post #497 of Franklin Grove held its annual Veterans Day Dinner on Monday in the Legion Hall. The dinner is held to commemorate the military service of area veterans and those currently on active duty.

  The program included brief reviews of the 2013 American Legion Girls State and Boys State representatives. Brooke Smith and Matt Gendusa attended the dinner and spoke of their involvement in the local governments created at each of the Girls State and Boys State leadership tracks conducted to introduce high school students following their junior year,  to the works of constitutional government.

Kalyn Murre and Ben LaFrentz also attended Boys and Girls State sponsored jointly by the American Legion Post #497 of Franklin Grove and Post #345 of Ashton.

Each year the Ashton and Franklin Grove American Legion Post come together to support AFC High School students who desire to attend the weeklong programs .

Following the opening welcome by Post Commander Dean Gendusa, Bob Logan spent a few moments remembering the military service, community service and American Legion involvement of post member Steve Saathoff who passed away a week ago and was honored in a celebration of his life earlier on Monday at the First Presbyterian Church of Dixon.

Three members of then Platoon Leader Lieutenant Stephen B. Saathoff’s Vietnam unit attended, with one Mike Murphy recounting eight months of service under Saathoff’s command. Murphy described Saathoff as a “soldiers commander” in saying that Saathoff would lead from the front and never send his men where he would not go himself, always choosing to pick up the slack himself when needed, rather than delegating it to others.

 Logan described Saathoff as a true friend to himself, to Post #497 and to the community as a whole, supporting the community building efforts whenever asked to.

“Post #497 lost a real friend in the passing of Steve Saathoff,” said Logan.

Village President David Atkinson had proclaimed Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, the 95th Anniversary of Armistice Day, as Stephen B. Saathoff Day in Franklin Grove. Armistice Day ended World War I, the Great War, and War to End All Wars on Nov. 11, 1918.

The day was rechristend later to honor veterans of all services and all wars as Veterans Day.


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