60th annual Corn Boil welcomes non-stop crowd
A non-stop flow of friends, families and community entered the Rockton Center (American Legion) on Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023 to support great works of the Walter Graham American Legion Post #332 at the 2023 Corn Boil. This year marks the 60th of this popular tradition brought to the public by the Legion's Rifle Squad.
Lively conversations were heard as everyone enjoyed all you can eat sweet corn, pork chop sandwiches or brats, baked beans, and tomatoes. These were offered until any item ran out.
Corn Boil co-chairs were Jim Griffin and Kary Krebs.
Behind the scenes, members of the American Legion Post #332 worked to assure that this year's corn boil was another great success.
Co-chair Kary Krebs kept the energy rolling as he announced raffle winners following the spin of the prize wheel.
Krebs credited all of the businesses and individuals who donated, the Sons of the Legion, Legionaries and non-Legionnaires.
Local Boy Scout troops made the event run even smoother by volunteering. They were joined by other volunteers who worked in various capacities. The Auxiliary served food and helped with clean up duties in the kitchen area.
Extra fun was had as a 50/50 raffle was held, along with ongoing prize raffles where winners won awesome items. Many took a chance on winning one of the top three prizes in a Grand Prize drawing.
The First Place Grand Prize raffle winner of $2,500 was Ted Dever. Second and third place winners were Darcie Mann and Kate LaPorte who each won $500. Dee Thompson won $575 from the 50/50 raffle.
The corn boil is the Legion's only fundraiser. Money that is made on this event pays for uniforms. The Legion post pays for these to honor veterans who have passed away.
Officially established on Oct. 13, 1932, the Rockton American Legion's mission is described as "the nation's largest wartime veterans service organization." The Legion is committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in communities while advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security and continued devotion to fellow service members and veterans.
The Walter Graham American Legion Post #332 serves year round. They lead parades on a regular basis.
The Legion gives out yearly scholarships to deserving Hononegah Community High School seniors.
Various branches of the post make up a true family tree.
- The Sons of the Legion each have a father or grandfather who have served our country in the military.
- The Riders is the motorcycle hub which generates the most funds. They donate money to help veterans and support the food pantry by purchasing Christmas gifts for children who would not otherwise receive them. Riders do rides and benefits such as “Operation USA.”
- The Ladies Auxiliary (ALA) is a service to our military veterans and families on active duty.
Legionnaires, Sons of the Legion, the Riders, and the Ladies Auxiliary give back million dollars per year to honor the legacy: helping kids go on to college who have lost a parent killed in action, or who are on active duty combat.
Students may also participate in the Legion's essay program about our government. Recipients from Illinois have won nationals twice.
The post supports Vets Roll by giving a generous donation each year.
Last year the Legion family gave back to the RDM Foundation in loving memory of Corporal Ryan Masters. The foundation was created to help assist Marines during their transition back to civilian life and to increase suicide awareness.
Special events have been held to honor all who are serving in or have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. In 2021, Sue Johnson, then Department of Illinois ALA chairperson for children and youth, organized a birthday bash for all children who have parents in the military and the overall community.
The Ladies Auxiliary (ALA) is a service to our military veterans and families on active duty.
Last spring, one high school student from Hononegah and another from South Beloit received nursing scholarships from the Auxiliary.
The Little Black Dress event is organized by the Ladies Auxiliary. Over the years, thousands of dollars has been raised through this event.
In 2023 the Auxiliary hosted a very successful first time craft and vendor fair. The money that was raised from these events is used to assist veterans, families and the community organizations that are oriented to helping veterans.
Lady veterans in LaSalle Veterans Home have been given Christmas and Easter gifts, plus a catered meal once a year, through a donation from the Auxiliary. Three local nursing homes or assisted living facilities receive monetary gifts to be used for special occasions. Recently the Auxiliary donated school supplies to Rockton schools through the "Give 10 for Education" program.
Anyone who has any immediate family that has served our country is welcome to join the American Legion. Yearly dues are paid after approval is given. Eligible members also may qualify to receive emergency funds covering up to $3,000 in expenses.
According to the Rockton Herald, the legion held a corn boil on Aug. 16, 1961 "to raise money to send Legion and Auxiliary delegate to the national convention in Denver next month. Tickets may be secured from Legion officers, at the Legion hall, or at any of the taverns." It soon became an annual event.
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