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Next update June 1, 2018

BACK ISSUES: April 27 | May 4 | May 11 | May 18 | May 25 | June 1 | June 8
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Wright County Journal-Press & The Drummer

(Press Feature)


Monday, May 28 is Memorial Day - where will you remember?

By Miriam Orr and Doug Voerding

For many people across the country, Memorial Day is a time to kick back, relax, and not worry about going into work - maybe a day to spend out on the lake, or go on a weekend trip, or even just bar-be-que in the backyard.

However, for others, Memorial Day is a reverent time to remember those who dedicated themselves in service to our country, and who so willingly laid down their lives in the cause to preserve our rights and keep America free. This is a time to recognize and remember sacrifice, and millions across the nation will gather together to pay their respects to those fallen men and women. The day to celebrate this year is Monday, May 28.

For Buffalo, there will be a 8:45 a.m. ceremony at Buffalo American Legion Post 270, located at 304 10th Ave. S.

A list of the area ceremonies is as follows:



St. Michael American Legion Post 567 has prepared the following Memorial Day ceremonies sche-dule: 8:00 a.m., service at St. Michael Catholic Church on Frankfort Parkway; 9:00 a.m. services at St. Albert's Cemetery in Albertville; 9:35 a.m. services at St. Michael South Cemetery; 10:15 a.m. services at St. Paul's Cemetery in Hanover; 10:45 a.m. services at Salem Lutheran Church Cemetery in Greenfield.

The above times are tentative and could vary by five or ten minutes either way.  Everyone is invited to come and take part in the Memorial Day observance.  A brunch will be served at St. Paul's Church following the services at the cemetery in Hanover.



Everyone is invited to attend the 8:45 a.m. ceremony at Buffalo American Legion Post 270, 304 10th Ave. S.

The guest speaker is Ole Olson, retired first sargeant of the National Guard.

The Buffalo High School is providing music.

All in attendance are invited to join the Legionnaires for refreshments in the Legion Club immediately following the ceremony.



Cokato American Legion Post 209 will begin its Memorial Day ceremonies with a rifle volley and flag raising at the Stockholm Cemetery at 7:00 a.m., followed by raising of the colors at Veterans Memorial Park at 8:00 a.m.

A parade will also take place in downtown Cokato at 10:15 a.m.

The Legion welcomes all individuals in the area who are currently active duty military, members of the National Guard and members of military reserve units to join them in the parade march.  The line will form at 9:45 a.m. on the south side of Cokato Elementary School.

Following the parade, a Memorial Day program will take place at the Cokato Elementary School auditorium. The program will start 10:45 a.m.



Parade participants will be lining up at 10:00 a.m. outside the Delano American Legion Post 377 Club on Highway 12 and Bridge Avenue N. The parade will start at about 10:30 a.m.  The parade will stop on the Crow River Bridge to honor deceased U.S. Navy veterans before continuing to the city park on River Street North.

At the ceremony at the city park, the guest speaker will be Erienne Kriesch, a former U.S. Navy officer, one the group of the first 19 women naval officers selected to serve aboard a Navy submarine.

Following the ceremony in the park, everyone is invited to a complimentary lunch at the Legion Club.



Members of American Legion Post 145 and the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Band will assemble at the St. James Lutheran Church parking lot, 10th Street and 6th Avenue, at 9:15 a.m. and then march to the city cemetery, where the program will begin at 9:30 a.m.

The ceremony will include a flag-raising, a special speaker, and the placing of flags on the graves of deceased service members.

Following the ceremony, the Legion Ladies Auxiliary will serve coffee and donuts.



A line-up for a parade begins at before 10 a.m. outside the Legion Club.  The parade ends at the community park, where a ceremony is taking place. Jill David will be the guest speaker.

A potluck lunch is planned in the Legion Club at 11:30 a.m.

In the event of rain, the ceremony will take place in the Legion Club.



The Memorial Day observances in Monticello are planned jointly by Monti-cello American Legion Post 260 and Monticello VFW Post 8731.

Wreath-laying services and gun salutes are taking place at 9:30 a.m. in Hill-side Cemetery, at 10 a.m.  at St. Henry's Catholic Cemetery and also at Ellison Park.

Ceremonies at Riverside Cemetery begin at 10:30 a.m. plus wreath-laying services and gun salutes, and music provided by the Monticello High School Band.

Guest speaker will be Bonnie Hansen.

At 11:30 a.m., the Honor Guards with Colors, as well as members of the VFW and American Legion, and wreaths will be placed by Commanders, the VFW and Legion Honor Guards fire a salute, and "Taps" wil be played during the event.

A lunch for VFW and Legion members who participated in events will be provided at the VFW Post 3781 at 4713  Cedar St., in Monticello.



The Memorial Day Services and Ceremony in Montrose will be at the VFW Post 1901, 300 Zephyr Avenue, on the east side of Montrose. The ceremony will begin after the Buffalo High School Band arrives about 10:30 a.m.

The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by the Montrose Elementary School winners of the VFW Americanism contest.

The keynote speaker is Wade Gurneau, an Iraq veteran and Montrose resident.

The ceremony will be led by Wright County VFW Post 1901 Quartermaster Bob Putnam.The VFW will provide refreshments following the ceremony.



The Rockford Memorial Day parade will start at 10 a.m. from the Rockford Middle School on Ash Street with Navy Memorial Services at the Crow River on Bridge Street at about 10:15 a.m.

Memorial Services will follow at Elmwood Cemetery on Maple Street with Pastor Jon Rhodes and the Buffalo Legion Military Guard at about 10:30 a.m.

The Rockford Area Historical Society will present ìMeet the Peopleî after the services at the cemetery.

The Rockford Lions will have a pork chop dinner at Riverside Park, 8220 Elm Street, starting at 11 a.m. until gone.

The Memorial Day Pie and Ice Cream Social will be from 12 noon until 2:00 p.m. at the Stork House, 8131 Bridge Street.

For more information, contact†Rick Martinson at 612-618-5588.



Charles Claessens Legion Post 305 and Auxiliary Unit will observe Memorial Day with services at 11:00 a.m. in Railroad Park in Waverly.

All veterans are welcome to march in the parade, which will assemble in front of the Waverly Fire Barn at 10:00 a.m. The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by the ceremony in Railroad Park.

The speaker will be American Legion Post Chaplain Richard Lammers.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the ceremony will especially honor the World War I veterans from the Waverly area.

Following the program, refreshments and lunch will be available at the fire barn. A special display of a World War I trench and World War I memorabilia can be viewed in the Waverly City Hall.

Watch for more coverage in the Wright County Journal-Press and The Drummer.


We are all pedestrians, BPD partners to host crosswalk event for safety

Buffalo Police Department has partnered with Go Buffalo Bike and Walk Coalition, MnDOT, and Wright County Public Health to host two crosswalk events to help promote pedestrian safety.

The events will be held on Wednesday, May 30th and Tuesday, June 5th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. along State Highway 25 in downtown Buffalo.

As a reminder for everyone regarding the crosswalk law:

• Motorists should stop for crossing pedestrians at marked crosswalks and at all intersections without crosswalks or stoplights.

• Pedestrians should obey traffic signs and signals at all intersections that have them.

• Vehicles stopped for pedestrians can proceed once the pedestrian has completely crossed the lane in front of the stopped vehicle.

• Pedestrians shouldn't enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is approaching and it is impossible for the driver to stop. There is no defined distance that a pedestrian should abide by before entering the crosswalk; common sense should be used.

• When a vehicle is stopped at an intersection to allow pedestrians to cross, drivers of other vehicles approaching from the rear should not pass the stopped vehicle.

For more information, please contact Tony Daniels at 763-684-5442.


The Crow River Org. of Water selling rain barrels, limited supply available 

The Crow River Organization of Water (CROW) is currently holding its annual rain barrel sale. Limited supplies are left, and each barrel is only $55!  Barrels are made from recycled materials, one barrel holds 54 gallons and features a removable debris screen, hoses, and a flat back, allowing it to be placed near a building.

Placing rain barrels alongside your home and structures is an easy way to help the environment and reduce your water bills. Free water!  Rain barrels can capture and store runoff flowing from rooftops during rain events that can be used later to irrigate flowers and landscaped areas. As well, reducing the amount of water that immediately flows in the storm drains cuts down the amount of contact water has with contaminants, such as oil, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, and trash.

Average rainfall of one inch within a 24 hour period can produce around 700 gallons of water that runs off your house.  It's amazing how quickly one barrel can fill up.  Not only can you use this water for plants, but you can also use it in a bird bath.  Little by little, watch your water bill go down.

The CROW Joint Powers Board works to provide leadership in improving and conserving the integrity of the Crow River and its tributaries through community engagement and the protection and restoration of water resources.

Only a few barrels are left!  Contact Diane Sander, Watershed Coordinator by phone at 763-682-1933 Ext. 2916 or for more details and orders.


BPD represented at Minnesota Peace Officers' Memorial

Pictured above, left to right, in front of the Minnesota Peace Officers' Memorial are members from the Buffalo Police Department: Reserve Officer Jeff Kyllonen, Officer Trevor Eder, Officer Jacqui Kelch, Detective Barrett Chrissis, and Community Service Officer Tony Daniels. See another photo inside this edition.  (Submitted photo)

Members of the Buffalo Police Department (BPD), stood guard at the Minnesota Peace Officers' Memorial (St. Paul) last Tuesday, May 15, on National Peace Officers' Memorial Day.

The Memorial is located on the south lawn of the State Capitol and BPD had three distinct honors: the first performed with the MN Law Enforcement Memorial Association's (LEMA), Honor Guard during two wreath-laying ceremonies that involved survivors of officers killed in the line-of-duty; secondly, unexpectedly stood guard for two twenty minute duties back-to-back and; finally, they were the last memorial unit to guard immediately prior to the ceremony, which involved record attendance.

"It was a night for surprises," said Detective Barrett Chrissis, who received an award from LEMA President Jeff Beahen, also the Chief of Police for the City of Rogers, for 20 years of standing guard at the Memorial.

Detective Chrissis said, "We really appreciate the positive leadership of support and encouragement from our Chief of Police (Pat Budke), and I'm so prouof our officers and reserve officers who were able to stand guard on behalf of BPD this year – they performed flawlessly."

In Minnesota alone, 280 officers have been killed in the line-of-duty. According to Detective Chrissis, "In the United States, more peace officers have been killed in the line-of-duty than twice the combined total deaths of our brave men and servicewomen in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars."

It was none other than President John F. Kennedy who signed the Peace Officers Memorial Holiday into law.


Albertville Friendly City Days June 5-10 

By Miriam Orr

Grab your friends and get ready, because the 31st Annual Friendly City Days is coming! Running from June 5-10, it is sure to be an event packed with memorable moments, interesting events, and just enough fun to get your summer started on the right track!

Starting on Tuesday, June 5, you can head down to the St. Michael Cinema for the Meet the Candidates Show at 6:30 p.m., and on Wednesday, June 6, city-wide garage sales begin bright and early at 8:00 a.m.

Thursday, June 7, city-wide garage sales are still going on, and the carnival kicks off at noon. At 6:00 p.m., make sure to find your way to the Central Park Stage, where Willows and Dick Heuvels live music will begin. Also on Thursday, at 8:00 p.m., Midwest Mayhem live music will perform at the same stage, so make sure get there early and save yourself a seat to settle in.

Friday, June, 8 will host the Shalo Lee Band at the Central Park Main Stage at 7:00 p.m., and at the Lions Shelter in Central Park, Johnny Rawls will also perform at 7:00 p.m. To conclude the night at the Main Stage will be Mitch Gordon and the Unleaded Band at 10:00 p.m. Also starting at 10:00 p.m. will be a fireworks display at Central Park. In case of rain, the event will be postponed to Saturday, June 9.

On Saturday, June 9, Friendly Days includes the fire department open house at 9:00 a.m., as well as the 5K Run and Race at the STMA Middle School East, starting at 8:30 a.m. Don't miss concertina player George Jundt at St. Albert Parish Center at 4:30 p.m., or the Standing in Line live music at Central Park's Main Stage (7:00 p.m.). Also at 7:00 p.m. will be the Max Graham and Fam with Barbaro live music event at the Central Park Lions Shelter, followed by the Pop Rocks live music at the Central Park Main Stage at 10:00 p.m.

To conclude events on Sunday, June 10, the Grande Day Parade will begin on Main Avenue, at 12:30 p.m., followed by Shane Martin's live music performance at the Central Park Lions Shelter at 3:00 p.m. Concluding events at 6:00 p.m. will be the closing of the carnival.

Look inside The Drummer this week for an insert, or go online to visit:


City Council approves sewer repair, annexations, fire truck

By Doug Voerding

With a lengthy agenda, the Buffalo City Council on Monday, May 21, approved a sewer repair project, three zoning issues, three annexations, the hiring of a new police officer, and the purchase of a fire truck, among other items.

Scheduled sanitary sewer repairs are needed near 2nd Avenue South and 7th Street South, east of Montrose Boulevard.

Michels Corporation of Brownsville, Wisconsin, was the low bidder on the project at $309,323.

Funding for the repairs will be from a 2017 bond. The budgeted amount was $360,000.



Puzzles, LLC, which holds a conditional use permit (CUP) for its business in the Szarke Building on Central Avenue, is moving to Lakeview Mall in downtown Buffalo.

The move required a new CUP for the new site, which the council approved.

WD Partners will now be building a canopy over separate parking stalls for online grocery pickup at Walmart. The council approved an amendment to the existing CUP as the canopy will be a permanent accessory structure.

The grocery pickup will be located near the south door of the Walmart store.

Pfeifer Management received a final approval for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) on 6th Avenue NE. The council had previously discussed the concept plan for the site.

The development will be two eight-unit apartment buildings with a separate garage building between the two apartment buildings.


New Development

The council discussed a concept plan for Greenbrier Hills, a new development on 98 acres west of Dague Avenue, north of Buffalo High School.

The site will be developed by TSM Greenbrier, LLC, and will have 200 housing units, a number that fits with the Comprehensive Plan for low density housing of up to three units in that area of the city.

The developers used an unusual method to plan. The trails were designed first, then streets that maintain flow, then home settings, then terrain, then service lines, and then finally lot lines.

Councilmember Scott Enter said, "I commend you for being unique and not using a cookie cutter. This is exactly what we are looking for."

The next step is the preparation and approval of the preliminary plat.



The City of Buffalo just grew larger as the council adopted three annexation ordinances for properties that are already 60 percent surround by the city.

The first annexation ordinance was for three parcels in Buffalo Township that abut the airport land owned by the city. The three total 32 acres.

Another three sites totaling 34 acres on Highway 25 South will also be annexed. These properties include Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and properties owned by Andrew J. and Sherilyn Burgdorf and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Finally, three properties 20th St NE, owned by Jodi A. and Linda M. Clark, by Lonnie A. and Vicki L. Riss, and by Francis H. and Sharon C. Schmidt were annexed. The three properties total about five-and-a-half acres.

Property owners all received notice of the action in January, and none objected to the annexation.


Police Department

On the recommendation of Police Chief Pat Budke, the council agreed to the conditional hiring of Dominic Belmares. There were 74 applicants for the position.

Belmares is currently a full-time Carver County deputy sheriff. He has worked for Carver County for the last 18 months. He also has worked as a full-time community service officer and has volunteer experience as a reserve officer.

The conditional offer is made pending successful completion of a background investigation, psychological fitness exam, and medical exam.

Belmares will be filling the position vacated by Officer Dustyn Bruch.

The department is now back to full force with 17 officers.


Fire Department

The Buffalo Fire Department will be getting a new rescue pumper complete with all emergency equipment.

The council awarded the contract to the low bidder Custom Fire of Osceola, Wisconsin.

The contract includes $642,492 for the truck and chassis and an additional $3298 for emergency equipment. In separate contracts, the city is adding hoses, fittings, tools, and Hurst (Jaws of Life) equipment to the new truck for another $39,756.

The total cost of $685,546 is less than what was budgeted in the previously approved 2018 Capital Improvement Plan.

Financing for the truck will be through a five-year lease purchase agreement.



The council accepted donations to the Flora of Buffalo program from Louise Markve, $50; Deborah Kadlec, $20; Mark and Patty Pokorney $100; Eileen Erickson and Judy Emerick, $25; and Friends of the Library, $250.

Donations to the Community Center Toy Shop were received from Merrill and Maurean Fellger, $25; Wayne Nelson, $20, and Marysville United Way Fund, $300.


Other Action

In other action, the council

• discussed at length need for the airport to provide Jet A fuel for a plane owner from Delano. No action was taken on a plan to enter into a lease with West Metro Aviation to provide the fuel using a portable tank, and the city may continue a previous agreement that will allow the plane owner to install a Jet A fuel tank on an existing slab.

• certified, after a required public hearing, four past due utility accounts to the tax rolls for the specific properties.

• approved a resolution that supports the application of Roers Development for tax credits through the Minnesota Housing Finance Program.

• directed staff to finalize an agreement with Wright Hennepin that will allow the city to provide electricity to the Casey's General Store to be built on the southeast corner of Calder Avenue and 20th Street Northeast. The upfront payment to Wright-Hennepin will be $67,392.

• designated Gary Mattson Park as a future dog park and allowed the Parks Advisory Board to begin fundraising for fencing.

• approved a license for the outside sale of fireworks by TNT Fireworks at Walmart, 1315 Highway 25 North. The annual license is valid to December 31, 2018.

• approved a license for the inside and outside sale of fireworks at SuperAmerica at 301 – 10th Avenue South.

• learned that bikes will soon be available for rent at Griffing and Sturges Parks.

• learned that Buffalo Fishing Forever will host a fundraising dinner at the American Legion on June 9. For tickets and more information, call the Buffalo Community Center at 763-682-6036.

• learned that only a few openings are still available this summer for the Buffalo Fishing Forever pontoon rentals.


Bounce Back Project comes full circle with community talk

Karla Heeter exposes her "imperfections" on a sign before citizens gathered to discuss the Bounce Back Project community book read. (Photo by Miriam Orr)

By Miriam Orr

On Wednesday, May 16, approximately 100 people met together at the Buffalo High School Performing Arts Center for discussion on the Bounce Back Project's reading of "The Gifts of Imperfection," by Dr. Brené Brown.

By their claim online at, the endeavor "…is a unique collaborative of physicians, nurses, hospital leaders, and staff who have come together for a single purpose – to impact the lives of individuals, communities, and organizations by promoting health through happiness." Such was the mood on May 16, where community members reached out to one another to discuss challenges, share testimonies, and relate to others.

The night began with brief opening remarks from Karla Heeter of Allina Health, who dismissed participants into small groups, where they met for an hour to discuss topics in Brown's book, lead by volunteern discussion group leaders.  One individual stated, "I think this idea of imperfection as a gift really gets people out of the box, and puts people first. Conflicts are conflicts, it isn't always necessarily people. If you can change your words, you can change your mindset, and it can sometimes be an imperfect process."

Following group discussions, participants received a word from the author of "The Gifts of Imperfection," Dr. Brené Brown, who congratulated the Buffalo community for really digging into the investment of the Bounce Back Project, and rallying together as a community to support people being people.

"It is wonderful to see a community coming together and loving on each other," she stated in her video, which was specifically produced and recorded for Buffalo community members, "Congratulations to you for loving each other in a big way!"

After Brown's word, BHS Principal Mark Mischke closed the meeting by thanking the community for gathering together to uplift one another. "I never guessed we'd be here talking about this now," he began. "This all started with one book, 'Daring Greatly,' and look how far we've come. My desire is to formulate community contribution, and I'm seeing it fulfilled here. Thank you for all sitting in a seat, and contributing, and making a decision to come together. The little things make a difference. This is the 'Wright' kind of thing to do. "


Early copy requested for Memorial Day

Here at the Wright County Journal-Press and The Drummer, we believe in the importance of recognizing the lives of those serving our country. To commemorate the fallen men and women of the armed forces, the Wright County Journal-Press and The Drummer offices will be closed on Monday, May 28, in observance of Memorial Day. Early copy is requested for the May 31 edition of the Journal-Press and The Drummer.

Please contact us at 763-682-1221 for questions, and for submissions, please go online and email


Buffalo Days scheduled for June 10-17

By Miriam Orr

Perhaps it was author Henry James who said it best about the summer months, "Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."

With what is promised to be another beautiful, Minnesota summer coming upon us quickly, it is no surprise that with the arrival of the warmer months comes also the arrival of the city's traditional "Buffalo Days," which began early in the 1950s, and has lasted generations to this very day. This year's celebration is slated for June 10-17, a bit different than last year, though it promises the same great fun as before.

As usual, you can go online to check out events on Buffalo Chamber of Commerce's website and Facebook, listen to KRWC and BOB106 for radio updates, scout for flyers around town, watch for billboards, and stay up-to-date with coverage from the Wright County Journal-Press and The Drummer. This year's "Buffalo Days" celebration is sure to bring plenty of bang for your $3.00 button, so be sure to pick one up in preparation for festivities.

This year's "Buffalo Days" will run from June 10 to June 17, starting on Sunday, and ending the following Sunday, which is different from last year's June 11-16. What else is new is that carnival tickets can be purchased at Cub Foods. Tickets are good for 10 rides for $20 any day, for any age ride, and to top it off there is the opportunity for a buy-one-get-one food deal as well.

Sunday will host the annual Fly-In Breakfast, starting at 7:30 a.m., ending at noon. The traditional air show will run from noon to 1:00 p.m. EAA Chapter 878 of Maple Lake and West Metro Aviation host this event each year. While you're there, you can also take part in the Wright County Car Club Show, which will run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  right at the Municipal Airport. Later, at 7:00 p.m., the Buffalo Community Orchestra will host a free concert at Sturges Park. In case of rain, the event will relocate to BHS.

From Wednesday the 13 to Sunday the 17, the traditional carnival in Sturges Park will be running, and on Thursday, the Kiddie Parade will be begin at 6:30 p.m. in costume, starting at the library and ending in Sturges Park. Also on Thursday, at 8:45 p.m., be sure to bring a blanket to watch this year's Movie in the Park, which is Illumination Studio's "Sing." 

Friday, Sturges Park will host the Beer Garden, at 6:00 p.m., where Chopper – World's Nuttiest DJ will be performing at 7:00 p.m. to midnight. Fireworks will begin at dusk.

On Saturday, May 16, the Fishing Klinic for Kids will be open at 9:30 a.m. and will conclude at 1:30 p.m., at Sturges Park, and later in the afternoon, the Grande Parade will begin at 6:00 p.m., in Downtown Buffalo on First Avenue.

Concluding the week on Sunday will be the coronation of royalty, which begins at 6:00 p.m., at the High School. Also on Sunday is the Pigs and Rigs car show and BBQ cook-off, as well as a community worship service, among others.

Watch for a special "Buffalo Days" advertising promotion in the June 3rd edition of The Drummer. Make sure to watch out for updates on the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce website and Facebook page for more activity listings.


Montrose Royalty to host car wash

Mark your calendars to make sure your car gets squeaky clean! Come and join the Montrose Royal Ambassadors, as they are hosting a car wash on Saturday, June 2 at the Citizen's State Bank in Montrose, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

This event is a free-will donation. The Royal Ambassadors hope to see you there!


Mark Kaminski honored with annual Kurt Weiche Award

Mark Kaminski poses with Sue Olmscheid of the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce as he received his Kurt Weiche award for his service in the Buffalo community. (Submitted photo)

Kurt Weiche owned the Buffalo radio station, KRWC, for over 13 years and was very involved with high school sports and volunteering in the Wright County community. 

Kurt passed away in 1999 and had left his legacy in many ways, including a High School Scholarship and Friends of Education awards that were just given last week. 

Each year for Buffalo Days, the committee selects and honors a Buffalo citizen who contributes to our community much as Kurt did.  This year's recipient is Mark Kaminski, current branch manager for Buffalo's KleinBank.

Mark has volunteered for almost 20 years with the Scholarship Pork Chop Feed, has helped coach youth sports here and in Waverly, is a member of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, which helps local veterans in need. Kaminski has also been with the Knights of Columbus for 20 years, and is also a Rotarian.


'World War I: The Waverly Connection'

153 Waverly area residents are known to be veterans of World War I; now their war service, biographies, and photographs have been recorded in a special book

By Doug Voerding

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War, the War to End All Wars, ended. This year, November 11 will mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement that ended World War I.

To mark that anniversary, on Memorial Day, this Monday, May 28, the Waverly Charles Claessens Legion Post 305 and Auxiliary will add a special honor for the 153 Waverly area residents who served the United States in World War I.

That honor will be part of the traditional Memorial Day ceremony that the post holds every year in Railroad Park in Waverly. The program this year starts at 11:00 a.m.

And, through the efforts of many Waverly residents, a special book about those soldiers has been completed, a book that includes a short biography of each of those WWI veterans, their connection to Waverly, and their service during the war.


Research Timeline

Every year, at the Waverly Memorial Day service, a roll call of WWI veterans is read. There have been 71 names on that list for many years.

Post Commander Ken Borrell suggested last September that it would be an added honor to find out more details about those 71 men in time for the 100th anniversary of the end of that war.

Work did not really begin until this past January, but it quickly became intense research.

While investigating those 71 names, it was found that many of the men had been residents of the area, some had moved into the community, and some had lived in the area only a few years.

In a box of old ledgers and early Legion chapter application documents, researcher Karen Fadden uncovered nearly 30 additional names from the Legion's own records and history.

Then Gerry Smith found another list with even more names. It was created about November, 1918, by St Mary's Parish, to keep in mind those currently "serving the colors." Smith's grandparents had it tucked safely away, and it is probably the only known copy to survive. The list is definitely the names of young men of the immediate communities surrounding Waverly.

The St. Mary's Church list also included Red Cross nurse Mary Catherine Fitzpatrick.

With a deadline of Memorial Day, the research work and the preparation of the book became even more demanding.

"When we started," said Norma Ogle, "no one knew how much work it would be, but we have enjoyed every minute."

Not only does the book include photos and information about the Waverly area veterans, there is a 1915 plat map showing where many of the veterans lived. The vast majority lived on farms surrounding Waverly. There is also background information about World War I and information about Waverly.

To help with the cost of printing the book, the committee received a grant from the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association Operation Round Up Program.


World War I

When World War I started in Europe in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson said the United States would remain neutral. Many Americans supported Wilson's policy of nonintervention. Public opinion about neutrality started to change after the sinking of the British passenger ship Lusitania by a German U-boat in 1915 when nearly 2,000 people including 128 Americans died.

Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany after the Zimmerman telegram threatening an alliance between Germany and Mexico was intercepted. For that and for other economic reasons, the United States entered the war on April 6, 1917.

In 1917, the U.S. Army had just 133,000 members. That May, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, and some 2.8 million men were inducted into the military by the end of the war. Around 2 million more Americans voluntarily served in the armed forces during the conflict.

The first U.S. infantry troops arrived on the European continent in June, 1917; in October, the first American soldiers entered combat in France. When the war ended in November, 1918, with a victory for the Allies, more than 2 million U.S. troops had served on the Western Front in Europe. More than 116,000 Americans died and 204,000 Americans were wounded.


Waverly Legion Post 305

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, service members, and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States.

Waverly Charles Claessens Legion Post 305 applied for their charter in 1919. The first post commander was Fred F. O'Hair with 24 charter members. In 1948, the post applied for a permanent national chapter membership.

Those 24 charter members were Irving Jandro, Elmer LeDuc, Chester Fuller, Fred O'Hair, Hedene Anderson, P. A. Cosgrove, W. B. Raymond, A. G. Kielty, J. E. Nolan, Raymond Eagan, Joseph Akins, Lawrence Roban, Erwin Vaughn, Clinton Quinn, George O'Hair, Charles McDonnell, John O'Hair, B. F. Moll, M. D. Akins, Edward Jolicoeur, John Gagnon, Martin Libor, Paul Roban, and Edward Zimmer.


Four WWI Soldiers

One photo on the wall at the Waverly City Hall shows four World War I soldiers, perhaps before heading off to France. Three are identified: Hedene Anderson, Fred O'Hair, and Joe Akins. The fourth might be Maurice Akins, Joe's brother, as all four served with the 151st Field Artillery of the 42nd Division. All were charter members of the Waverly Legion Post.

Hedene Anderson lived in Marysville Township and was a well-known Waverly baseball player. He died on January 29, 1927, after a large truck hit the cutter (sled) he was riding in on Trail 10 west of Waverly. Hedene and a group of friends were on their way to a good sledding site when the accident happened. The others were taken to the Waverly Hospital for treatment.

Hedene was buried with full military honors and a military headstone in the Swedish Lutheran Cemetery west of the Swedesburg Church on County Road 9 north of Waverly.

After his service in World War I, Joe Akins returned to Marysville Township and farmed on the southeast corner of County Roads 9 and 107. He married Hedene Anderson's sister Evelyn in 1921.

Joe was a long-time member of the Wright County Fair Board, managing the horse barn. He was said to have been adept at handling horses. In the 1930s, he built the first bowling alley in Waverly.

Joe died in 1988 at the age of 100 and is buried in the Howard Lake Cemetery.

Fred O'Hair was the son of Patrick O'Hair, the Waverly doctor. After WWI, Fred worked as an electrician before moving to Salt Lake City to work in finance.

During WWII, Fred was a Red Cross director with the 5th Army serving during the Italian Campaign. After WWII, Fred worked as a registration officer at the Salt Lake City Veterans' Hospital. He died and is buried in Salt Lake City.

Maurice Akins was a corporal in the state National Guard before WWI. After fighting in France, he suffered from the effects of mustard gas and developed influenza during the occupation of Germany. He died in 1921 and is buried in the Howard Lake Cemetery.

These four are just a small part of the book that includes more detailed information and, when possible, photos of 153 WWI veterans.


Nurse Fitzpatrick

Mary Catherine Fitzpatrick was on the St. Mary's Parish list of those to remember as "serving the colors." She was the only woman found on any of the lists.

Born in 1895 in Woodland Township, Mary was the oldest of the Dennis and Josephine (Borrell) Fitzpatrick family. She was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War I and worked as a public health nurse after the war.

Mary died in 1986 and is buried in the Willamette National Cemetery in Oregon.


The Book

"World War I: The Waverly Connection" will be available for sale or to order at Waverly City Hall after the Memorial Day service.

Through the dedication and efforts of the Waverly Charles Claessens Legion Post 305 and Auxiliary, important history has been recorded for generations now and for future generations, not only for residents of Waverly, but for Wright County, for Minnesota, and beyond.


Special thanks to Karen Fadden for the information about the veterans.


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