By Jennifer Von Ohlen
DASSEL, MN With an air of pride and a sense of accomplishment, Bob Holly of Cokato grinned as he shared his news of being elected commandant of the Marine Corps League, Litchfield/Willmar Chevron Detachment 985.
“I’m just proud to be the commandant, head of central Minnesta Marine Corps,” Holly stated.
Although he has only been a member of the detachment for three years, Holly has a lot of service behind him. He served in Vietnam as a Marine from November 1968 until June 1970, and moved to the Dassel-Cokato area six years later.
During his time here, Holly was elected as commander of the Cokato American Legion for two consecutive years. When he joined the Litchfield/Willmar Marines Corps, he was appointed assistant commandant right away. Holly attributes this to his heavy involvement with fundraising, which is an important part of the organization.
“We do a lot of fundraisers; we help a lot of people, and that makes being a member of the Marine Corps League worthwhile,” he commented.
He added that the Litchfield Watercade is the league’s (and city’s) biggest event, second to the Meeker County Fair. By selling around 1,200 tickets each year, the event has helped pour thousands of dollars back into the local community.
And yet, Holly is always on the lookout for a new fundraiser.
“I want to have a huge [free-will donation] breakfast the day of the Watercade,” he shared, which is something he has already helped organize on a smaller scale for the Litchfield marching band.
“The Marine Corps League’s been recognized for it,” he stated. “We’ve raised a lot of money.”
Holly has done work for his fellow veterans, as well, such as making sure they get recognition for their work, visiting when they or their loved one is fading away, and speaking on their behalf to the state commandant when necessary.
He and his wife also ensured that World War II veterans in the Cokato area received medals for their military services by paying out of their own pocket when the Legion was too late to register for the official ceremony happening in Saint Paul.
One of the veterans passed away with the medal around his neck.
“We take care of our own,” said Holly. “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”
Marines interested in joining the Marine Corps League, Litchfield/Willmar Chevron Detachment 985 can visit the group’s Facebook page for details.