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Grafton Remembers
"Auxiliary promotes patriotism since 1945"

extracted from the New Graphic
July 11, 1996

By Lauren Theian

The Fred Rose Post of the American Legion in Grafton spoke of having an auxiliary in November of 1944. Further discussions by the Post members led to a meeting on July 17, 1945 with definite organization in mind. The Post donated $10 at that time to help with organizational expenses. Forty-two women became charter members of the auxiliary. There are two original charter members living and active in the Rose-Harms unit today. The membership of the auxiuliary increased to an all-time high of 186 members in 1962.

The purpose of the organization is to assist the American Legion in their programs of service to state, communicty and nation. The unit further assists veterans and their families in time of need and supports programs of Americanism, national security, legislation, children and youth, veterans affairs and rehabilitation as direcxted by the state and national organizations.

Locally, members have given countless hours of volunteer work for these projects throughout the years, have donated flags to various civic organizations and the schools in the village of Grafton, the latest donation of flags given to St. Paul Lutheran School and Our Savior Lutheran School during the 1995-96 school year.

Many local members have become county, district, and state officers and chairpersons of various committees giving countless hours of service to the community. The unit has been honored through the years with citations from the department (state) and national organization for best work in legislation, junior membership, history and Americanism programs.

Three mothers of veterans killed in wartime service became Gold Star members of the unit: Jennie HARMS, mother of Roy Coulson HARMS for whom the Post is named; Mabelle LIEBENSTEIN, mother of Clair LIEBENSTEIN; and Margaret LORENZ, mother of Jerome LORENZ. The unit honored all Gold Star Mothers in the Village and Town of Grafton on Memorial Day by presenting each with a corsage and having them ride in the Memorial Day parade as honored guests.

In addition to the members ot the unit, the following were also Gold Star Mothers: Clara HADLER, mother of Frederick HADLER, who was a member of the Auxiliary of the Thiensville-Mequon Unit; Leona VOCKE, mother of Harvey VOCKE and Mrs. Leonard SENGER, mother of Eugene SENGER. All of the above were World War II veterans and all mothers are now deceased. The Korean, Vietnam and other conflict war dead are unknown to the unit.

As time progressed from World War II to the present, many members were lost to the unit through death, change of residence and lack of interest in patriotic service organizations, but the present membership continues to carry on the work of the American Legion and Auxiliary through its Poppy program and community service programs like the hospital equipment loan program available to any resident of the Village and Town of Grafton at no charge.

The Poppy program provides necessities and treats for hospitalized veterans at Zablocki VA Center at Wood, Wis., the Tomah VA Hospital, Madison, VA Hospital and the Wisconsin Army Home in King. Every cent collected from offering the Poppy to the public during May each year is spent for the veteran and/or his family and cannot be used for any other purpose.

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