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Post 21’s Oldest Member and Her Neighbor, 102 Year Old ALA Member Honored

This article is by guest author, Kenosha County Communications Manager, Joe Potente.

Being 101 years old didn’t stop Lillian Jilk from joining the American Legion two years ago.

And being 103 didn’t stop her from being present and smiling, when Legion Post 21 honored her for her two years as a continuous member and presented her with a lifetime membership and a Certificate of Honor in recognition of her World War II service.

Jilk was one of two centenarian women that the post honored Monday morning at the Casa del Mare Assisted Living and Memory Care facility on Kenosha’s north side.

Florence Klappa, 102, received a certificate and pin in honor of her 50 years of continuous membership of the American Legion Auxiliary. 

“We just wanted to thank you for your service and everything you’ve done,” said Post 21 Commander Matt Christensen, during a brief ceremony complete with cake and well wishes from American Legion members and some of the ladies’ Casa del Mare neighbors.

At 103, Jilk is Post 21’s oldest current member. A native of Minnesota and now a longtime resident of Kenosha, she joined the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps in 1942.

Stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes and later at a boot camp in Idaho and the Naval Hospital in Long Beach, Calif., she recalls treating sailors’ shrapnel wounds and other maladies.

“It was a good experience,” she said.

During Monday’s event, Kenosha County Veterans Services Director,and Post 21 member, Ali Nelson saluted Jilk for her service.

“That was a pivotal time in our history,” Nelson said. “Because without World War II veterans, we likely wouldn’t even have a country today.”

Sitting beside Jilk, Klappa wore a pin on her sweater — a spent 50-caliber machine gun shell that her late husband, Roger, created during his World War II service as a B-29 mechanic. Earlier this year, Klappa had the opportunity to see the plane her husband serviced when it was part of a traveling tour of World War II aircraft that made a stop at the Kenosha Regional Airport.

Despite becoming a widow in 1980, Klappa remained a consistent member of the American Legion Auxiliary Berens-Scribner Unit 6 post in Stevens Point, where she and her husband lived before moving to Kenosha in 1958.

“I’m more of a backseat person,” Klappa said, of her honors Monday morning.

On being 102, she said, “I feel good — it’s just my bones that don’t cooperate.”

First District Annual Silent March

Calling all Local Legionaries. Let’s make this year’s silent march one to remember!

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The Smith’s visit Post 21!

This past Monday, April 25th, the Post was fortunate to host two of our active duty members. Coincidentally, they are sisters! ALA member Wendy Smith daughters Army Specialist Samantha Nicole Smith and Marine DI Sargent Gabrielle Renea Ortega were both home at the same time. That has to be rare (but hopefully not in Wendy’s case)! Thanks for stopping by.

Wendy provided some other photos as well…

Veteran Owned / Friendly Businesses

Post 21’s Finance Officer Recognized

Congratulations to The American Legion, Kenosha Post 21 Finance Officer and Judge Advocate, Steve Tindall for his selection as Kenosha’s 1st Quarter 2022 Hometown Hero. The event last night during the City Council Meeting was attended by his family, friends and fellow Legionaries. Well deserved, Steve!

Commander Visintainer is Kenosha’s Hometown Hero of the Year!

After being awarded the 2021 4th quarter Hometown Hero this past December, last night Commander Thomas J. Visintainer Sr. was presented with an award for Hometown Hero of 2021. Congratulations Commander, well deserved!

US Flag Retirement Drop Off Sites.

The following local business will accept US Flags ready for retirement.
§ Friends Hobby Shop / 8501 75th Street / 262 671-0131
§ Franks Diner / 508 58th Street / 262.657.1017 | 262.359.0053

Post 21 has a flag retirement ceremony on Flag Day.

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Chaplain’s Corner

Our post Chaplain, David DeBerge, has a youtube channel!  He interviewed our Post Finance Officer, Tom Visintainer on July 25th. It’s very informative!  Check it out here!
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Check out David’s recent  “Voice of the People” entry here:  Kenosha News VotP.
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Dave’s Youtube channel is here:Make a Choice to Rejoice

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