Hortonville Legion’s legacy
Recent fundraiser held at Heroes
By Lori Baumgart
With Veterans Day arriving Friday, Nov. 11, members of Hortonville’s American Legion Hammond-Schmit Post 55 and the ladies of its Auxiliary recently shared a brief history lesson surrounding it 97-year legacy.
Nationally, The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in local communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to fellow service members and veterans.
Hortonville’s Hammond-Schmit Post 55 was organized in 1919, and named after Harley Hammond and Reno Schmit. The Post was chartered on January 29, 1924. The Auxiliary was invited to join the post shortly after, and was established in May, 1925.
Harley Hammond, born in Antigo in 1891, entered service on June 30, 1917 as a private in the medical detachment, 127th Infantry, 32nd Division. He left New York on Feb. 15, 1918 and landed in Brest, France on March 4. He was wounded Oct. 15 and died 10 days later.
Reno Schmit was born in Ellington Township in 1890 and entered service Oct. 2, 1917 in Company D, 59th Infantry. He arrived in France in May 1918 and was killed July 19 the same year.
Today, The American Legion Hammond-Schmit Post 55 has approximately 131 members representing veterans from WWII through today’s active duty military members.
Post 55’s annual fundraisers support local programs including Boy Scouts, Legion Baseball, Hunter Safety, Badger Boys State and Boys Nation, scholarships, troop support.
The Auxiliary supports County Government Day and school programs in Hortonville and Greenville; Hortonville Youth Sports and Hortonville’s Halloween Party.
The Auxiliary, composed of approximately 94 members, was recently recognized as having one of the best Troop Support programs in the state by the Department of Wisconsin American Auxiliary in 2016.
Both the Legion and Auxiliary Color Guard and Legion Honor Guard lead parades and memorial services throughout the surrounding communities. The Post’s Honor Guard also performs Military Honors upon request.
Local author, researcher, educator, CEO and Auxiliary member Terri McCormick shared a story about her connection to Post 55 that came with her father, a World War II era veteran, who moved to Wisconsin from Minnesota to set up farm cooperatives.
McCormick said he had friends in many rural areas who were both farmers and vets, and spoke of the people in Hortonville with fondness.
“I remember going with my Dad to these meetings to help farmers get the best price for their produce and dairy. Connecting with the Hortonville Legion seemed to be a way I could continue to support veterans and families who were sacrificing for our country a sacrifice I know too well as I have had family make the ultimate sacrifice from the 82nd airborne in Somalia,” McCormick said.
She said the support she felt from the Legion has made her feel a sense of home. “That is probably the most important gift someone can have. A true sense of belonging.”
Post 55 held its latest fundraiser at Heroes Fire-Military-Police in Hortonville. Heroes’ owner Ann Kuhnke, a member of the Auxiliary, offered her fundraising expertise and location for the Post’s event after hearing it was having trouble raising money this year. Post 55 is grateful for all the time she put into making its annual event a success.
To learn more about Hortonville’s American Legion Post 55 and Auxiliary, like them on Facebook.
For more information, email email@example.com or call Post 55 Adjutant Dennis Capelle at 920-205-7773 or Auxiliary President Donna Nickel at 920-779-6229.