Ottawa American Legion gears up for centennial celebration


By Jennifer Peryam - jperyam@limanews.com



Kerner-Slusser American Legion Post 63 in Ottawa will celebrate its centennial with a two-day event Sept. 21 and 22. From left are Brooke Langhals, videographer; Dave Kersh, Legion historian; Brent Deskins, legion first vice commander; and Ed Foreman, Legion commander.

Kerner-Slusser American Legion Post 63 in Ottawa will celebrate its centennial with a two-day event Sept. 21 and 22. From left are Brooke Langhals, videographer; Dave Kersh, Legion historian; Brent Deskins, legion first vice commander; and Ed Foreman, Legion commander.


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Watch the first episode of videos about the Ottawa American Legion post.

OTTAWA — Kerner-Slusser American Legion Post 63 in Ottawa has six YouTube videos showcasing the legion’s history that will be part of a centennial celebration planned for Sept. 21 and 22.

The legion will marks its 100th year on Sept. 22, as it was founded Sept. 22, 1919.

There will be a big-screen television that will show the videos during the celebration and can also be viewed now on YouTube.com at j.mp/2UCNPv5 or by searching for American Legion Post 63, according to Dave Kersh, American Legion historian.

In addition to Kersh, Steve Frick, former Ottawa-Glandorf High School history teacher and Sons Of American Legion member, and his wife Betty, Betty Wannemacher, American Legion Auxiliary member, and Dave Frick, Post 63 legion member, are centennial committee members.

The YouTube videos, approximately 12 minutes each paired with patriotic music, have episodes that include “Beginning” 1916 to 1919, “The Early Years” 1919 to 1940, “Beutler Field & Beginnings of Ottawa Legion Baseball circa 1930 to 1937,” “Post 63 WWII Necktie Quilt,” “WWII Years 1939 to 1948” and “Still Serving America 1948 to 1964.”

A timeline mural also will be on display that the Legion baseball team is donating after raising money during its summer season. The mural that is being put together and started by Kersh last April highlights important events that occurred at the legion in years past. It includes information of the legion and pictures of legion commanders, as well as photos of the original building. It will highlight the first Legion home on Walnut Street in 1946 after the war. The legion moved into its current building on Main Street in 1954 that previously housed Dr. J.A. Harold.

“We did a lot of the mural research for our 75th anniversary and put an anniversary book together then,” Kersh said.

The legion approached Ottawa-Glandorf High School, who recommended Brooke Langhals, 19, a May 2019 graduate who put the YouTube videos together. Her grandfather, Sam, is a veteran and Kerner-Slusser Legion member. The videos are narrated by Putnam County residents Ken Pollitz and Rosie Verhoff, who is a lifetime legion women’s auxiliary member.

The videos talk about Company M with the Ohio National Guard, which formed Ottawa’s Legion post.

Brent Deskins, legion first vice commander, said the videos help those who view them to learn more about the Legion.

“We only had 20 to 30 members starting out, and we have grown to 300 members,” Deskins said.

The videos also focus on the legion’s impact in the community, such as supporting the Red Cross and the formation of the Legion baseball team in 1930. The team played at Beutler Field in Ottawa.

A necktie quilt also will be on display Sunday made by legion auxiliary members.

“In World War II when inductees would leave for the war, they left their neckties at the Oak Cafe in Ottawa with the intent to pick them back up after they got home from the war,” Kersh said.

There were 250 neckties at the Oak Cafe, and some men did not return home, but American Legion Auxiliary members used the ties to make the quilt.

Al’s Mixed Up Band, a rock ‘n roll and country music band, will perform from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Sept 21, and a history gallery will be featured in the legion’s back hall from 1 to 6 p.m. Sept. 22. Putnam County Children’s Theatre will perform at 2 p.m. Sept. 22 with cast performances and songs and dances from their summer production of “Don’t Say No to the USO.” Food will be available on Sept. 22 courtesy of the Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary.

Kerner-Slusser American Legion Post 63 in Ottawa will celebrate its centennial with a two-day event Sept. 21 and 22. From left are Brooke Langhals, videographer; Dave Kersh, Legion historian; Brent Deskins, legion first vice commander; and Ed Foreman, Legion commander.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/09/web1_Legion.jpgKerner-Slusser American Legion Post 63 in Ottawa will celebrate its centennial with a two-day event Sept. 21 and 22. From left are Brooke Langhals, videographer; Dave Kersh, Legion historian; Brent Deskins, legion first vice commander; and Ed Foreman, Legion commander.

By Jennifer Peryam

jperyam@limanews.com

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

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Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

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