What's Happening @ the 35th

Maine Veterans Home Scarborough Funds Delivered

Today at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough the funds set aside for the use of the Resident Veterans were delivered.

2nd District Finance Officer Michael Pock, along with Post 35 Commander - Wes Splettstoesser, Past Post 35 Commander and 2nd District Finance Officer - Ken Marston and Post 35 Auxiliary President - Mary Neal were on hand to deliver a long overdue check to MVHS.

Mary Neal and Ken Marston were on the MVHS Activity Committee prior to COVID – 19 and were instrumental in locating and securing the funds set aside years ago for the now Activity Fund at MVHS. A check for $6,897.06, that was an accumulation of two “CD’s” purchased specifically for the use of the MVHS. In the past years interest drawn from the “CD’s” was transferred to checking account and used for the veterans need as specified by the Activity Committee. The funds sat dormant at Coastline Credit Union during COVID – 19 and were almost lost due to inactivity of the account. With the signatures of the previous 2nd District Adjutant - Ed Tyler and Finance Officer - Ken Marston the funds were moved to Bangor Saving until 2nd District Finance Officer Michael Pock obtained permission thru the District to release the funds to MVHS.

A short informal ceremony and photo took place at MVHS at 1:00 PM on August 2nd. The funds were turned over to Katie Berthiaume Director of Activities and placed in the Activity Funds Account for the Veterans. A long hard fought transfer was completed today and new friends were made and contact established at MVHS.

Michael R. Pock – 2nd District Finance Officer

Certificate of Appreciation Given to Bangor Saving Bank

Commander Wes Splettstoesser and Adjutant Michael Pock met with Colleen Files at the South Portland Mill Creek branch of Bangor Savings Bank to present a Certificate of Appreciation from the Stewart P. Morrill Post 35. The Certificate was for the generous donation of $400.00 for the use of the Post for scholarship money for the 2024 Dirigo State.

Each year the Post 35 Americanism Officer canvases the community for support of the worthwhile program. One of Post 35 candidates, Jack McCormick, went on to participate in Boys Nation in Washington D.C. Post 35 budgets each year to send as many candidates as possible and this year we sent three.

Thanks again to our local business and their support of the American Legions Children and Youth Programs.

Michael R. Pock - Adjutant Post 35

2023 Department of Maine Convention Report

The following is a report of the American Legion State Convention held in Brewer Maine at Jeff’s Convention Center.

Past Commander Guy Linscott and Adjutant Michael Pock left bright and early for Brewer Maine at 0630 on Friday 6/9 2023 from South Portland. Believing that the opening ceremonies of the convention were at 0900 Guy and Mike arrived with a half hour to spare. After getting a cup of coffee and a donut Department Adjutant Paul L’Heureux asked if we wished to join him and other to the Resolutions Committee meeting. We declined.

We returned to the main meeting room to discover the Convention did not start until 1200. So much for getting an early start. We now had 3 hours to kill. Since neither one of us had breakfast before leaving South Portland we went into Brewer is search for a restaurant. After discussing our failure to read the agenda properly we ate a fine breakfast and returned to the Convention Center. Prior to the meeting we looked hard and long at the agenda and noted that Post 35 was to get three (3) awards and Adjutant was scheduled to award the Adjutant of the Year award on Saturday.

The Convention opened with all the normal opening comments and announcements. Secretary of the State of Maine – Shenna Bellows, Senator Angus King and Senator Susan Collins addressed the members present. The next item of interest to Post 35 was the Post Excellence Award presented to four (4) Posts within the Department. Post 35 received its sixth award since 1994 of which one was under Commander Splettstoesser and three under Commander Linscott, truly a testament to their leadership. Post 35 also received a certificate for 2nd place in the Post History a first for our Post. Nominations were accepted for all Department Officer positions to be voted on by Post delegates at 0800 Saturday morning. The first day’s sessions were over at 1500.

Saturday’s meeting started with voting for the 2024 slate of Department Officers prior to the 0900 start of the second session. After opening comments Major General Douglas Farnham read a letter from Gov. Mills along with his own comments. Senate District 6 Senator Mairanne Moore spoke about her work in the State Legislature and gave out the Public Service Award. Incoming Department Adjutant Jason Hall asked the Sgt. at Arms to escort Midshipman Lucas Wright , unbeknown to either Guy or Mike, to speak about Dirigo State. Lucas did us all proud as he recounted his growth thru Sea Cadets and the encouragement he received from the leadership at Post 35. He explained how he grew from each event from Oratorical to Boys State to Boys Nation. This growth I’m sure factored greatly for his appointment to Annapolis. The group hug and photo with Guy, Mike and Ross Fehnel was a tough act to follow.

The Americanism Award that was a result of the Posts work on Oratorical, Dirigo State and other youth program was awarded to Post 35 and was the only Post to get this award. Incoming 1st Vice Commander Patricia Thurston spoke on the Women Veterans Advisory Committee and the need to get women Veterans more involved in Post activities and suggested some upcoming events. One event that might be something we at Post 35 could get involved in would be a 5K Run from the Post to Bug Light and back. It is something that will be discussed at the Executive Board meeting.

Outgoing Department Adjutant Paul L’Heureux introduced his daughter Michelle L’Heureux who was a victim of the Boston Bombing connected with the Boston Marathon in 2013. Michelle suffered multiple injuries that took her over a year to recover from and actually learn how to walk again. She ran a 5K the following year and has run the Boston Marathon twice since then. Her courage and testimony has lead her to comfort and consul many other terrorism victims around the world. Michelle’s video was second only to the short message given by Lucas Wright and the both brought the members to their feet with applause.

Finally the last obligation for Post 35 was for Adjutant Pock, a previous Adjutant of the Year recipient, along with Dist. 2 Commander Dave Tanguay to award the Adjutant of the Year award to Richard Flynn from Post 86 in Gray. Five awards for Adjutant of the Year have been given since of which three have gone to District Two Adjutants. The Convention broke for lunch at 1130 and Guy and Mike broke for the door. The remainder of the convention continued without them. Long ride home for our Post representatives.

Michael R. Pock - Adjutant Post 35

Post 35 Member and Family place flags at Forest City Cemetery

Steven Gray his wife and family members place flags on veteran’s graves at Forest City Cemetery on Lincoln Street in South Portland. Flags were furnished by the Stewart P. Morrill American Legion Post 35 in South Portland.

Post 35 flags over 1150 graves in the cemeteries they are responsible for in South Portland. There are five (5) Minor Cemeteries and three (3) Major Cemeteries in South Portland. Additionally there are two (2) other cemeteries, Calvary and Forest City that are the responsibility of the Catholic Church and the Portland American Legion Posts. These two cemeteries combined total over 150 acres of South Portland. Within their boundaries there are thousands of veteran graves. Many are marked with “foot stones” that reflect name rank and branch of service as well as birth and death dates. Only a small percentage have “Veteran Markers” that would aid future generation in placing flags.

SThe Gray family has taken it on as a family project to mark as many graves as possible and Post 35 will assist when possible. Post 35 has neither the time nor personnel to work on this project but will commit to place at least 100 flags per year until the job is finished. The Gray family is an example of Hero’s helping Hero’s.

Michael R. Pock - Adjutant Post 35

Memorial Weekend 2023

South Portland War Veterans Memorial Association is responsible for memorial decorations for the graves of the South Portland men and women who have served our country and are buried in one of our many cemeteries. SPWVMA also organizes Memorial and Veterans Day Parades.

Memorial Day weekend started on May 25th this year with two members of the Stewart P. Morrrill American Legion Post 35 laying out wreathes, graciously provided by Wreaths Across America, and flagging graves at the Minor Cemeteries. Minor cemeteries are as follows: Skillen Cemetery, Long Creek Cemetery, Wescott Cemetery, Browns Hill Cemetery and Smith Street cemetery. Additionally there were five memorial plaques where wreaths are placed. A total of 50 graves are flagged and 10 wreathes are laid. Past Commander Ken Marston and 2nd Vice Commander Tony Batchelor took on the task this year and all tolls it took a full day visiting 10 sites throughout South Portland.

Saturday May 27th was the official “Flagging Day” for members and friends of Post 35 to flag around 1150 graves in the Major Cemeteries. The Major Cemeteries are as follows: Highland Avenue Cemetery, Bayview Cemetery and Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Thirty seven (37) people met at the American Legion Post at 9:00 in the morning and broke into three groups to place flags at three cemeteries. Post members guided younger and new people around the cemeteries to educate them on who got flags and where there were placed. Some of our cemeteries have veteran’s graves going back to the Revolutionary War and all wars since. Many flag holders were bent and damaged and a couple members were nearby to replace and repair broken markers.

Monday May 29th was Memorial Day and it started off very early for Post members. A crew was in at 7:30 AM to start the coffee and prepare for the “Veteran’s Lunch” served after the parade. Prior to the parade a contingent of Post Officers laid wreaths at the Major Cemeteries not covered by Ken and Tony last Thursday. These ceremonies consist of a memorial reading, wreath laying and chaplain’s prayer followed by Taps and the National Anthem performed by the SPHS Band, 8 piece horn groups, that went to 5 sites. Shortly after these ceremonies the group and band met at SMCC parking lot to form up for the Annual memorial Day Parade. The parade marched from SMCC to the Veteran’s Memorial at Mill Creek Park followed by a short ceremony where local dignitaries spoke. Taps and Anthem observed. Lunch for the Vets, 12 plus CNA’s, from the Maine Vets Home in Scarborough, where close to 35 people attended and enjoyed Hot Dogs, Fish Chowder, Beef Stew, Cold Slaw, Beans and Potato Salad plus desert and liquid refreshments.

After lunch Past Commanders Marston and Linscott along with Commander Splettstoesser and Adjutant Post went to Bug Light Park in South Portland and tossed a floating wreath, for the sailors and seamen lost at sea, into Casco Bay.

A long day for the members and officers of Post 35.

Michael R. Pock - Adjutant Post 35