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The Kingston American Legion was established in 1961

March 3, 2008

Johnson Kelly Post 483 to host annual fish fry Saturday, March 21

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

The Johnson Kelly Post 483 of the American Legion in Kingston was founded in 1961, with George Saukkola as commander.

Saukkola, along with Dick Orn and Ted Root, are three original members still active in the Kingston Legion today.

At one time, there were more than 70 members, now there are 38.

A year later, in 1962, the Legion Auxiliary was founded to assist the men of the Legion, according to Ann Hamilton, auxiliary public relations director.

There are three original members in the Auxiliary as well – Mary Jane Arnes, Pearl Haapajoki, and Alice Root.

Both groups meet the last Tuesday of every month at the Kingston Community Center, near the ballfield in Kingston.

Prior to this meeting place, the Legion had its own building, which was dedicated in 1963. A fire damaged the building in 2001, forcing the Legion to find an alternative meeting place.

With donated land from the city, insurance money, and monetary donations from the city and township, a community center was built as a gathering place for all of Kingston’s organizations and other activities.

Now, the Legion and Auxiliary meet in a brand new facility, ideal for its two major fundraisers – a turkey dinner in October, and the upcoming fish fry in March.

Besides the fundraisers, there are two major events each year including a Memorial Day service at Kingston’s Apostolic Lutheran Church, and the Fourth of July celebration, which takes place outside the Kingston Community Center.

Following the Memorial Day service, the Auxiliary sponsors coffee and cake.

Each year, the Legion sponsors a boys’ state, and the Auxiliary sponsors a girls’ state. Applicants are chosen from the four surrounding school districts, Dassel-Cokato, Kimball, Annandale, and Litchfield.

The current Kingston Legion officers are Gary Mansicka as commander, Darrell Hedlund as treasurer, Paul Keranen as adjunct general and secretary, and Luke Lekander as chaplain.

The Kingston Legion is always accepting new members. Those interested in learning about the Legion can contact any of its members.

The Legion and Auxiliary would also like to welcome the public to the upcoming annual fish fry, Friday, March 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Kingston Community Center (30840 722 Ave. Kingston).

Tickets prices are: adults $8, ages 6-10 $4, and preschoolers free.

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