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Brookfield legion post celebrates students

Sept. 1, 2009

Behling-Kutchera American Legion Post 296 of Brookfield met at the Venice Club on Aug. 4 to honor two young people the post sent to Badger Boys and Badger Girls State this summer. See photos from this event.

Post 296 was started by World War I veterans in 1920 or 1921. Some years later the post went dormant, but it was revitalized after World War II by Brookfield resident Jim Plank.

The meetings were held in the back of Plank's Garage, an auto repair shop in Brookfield Junction. Later, the post acquired its own building about a block from the garage.

In the late 1960s or early 1970s, the post sold the building, and it became the home of McCoy's Plumbing. Since then, the group has met at different places throughout the area.

Currently the post has 126 members, but it always welcomes newcomers.

Stephen Hauser, a professor and lecturer at Marquette University, attended the recent meeting of the post. Hauser has written a number of books and papers about local history and is now working on a history of Post 296.

The post holds Memorial Day ceremonies at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Brookfield. Hauser speaks at the ceremonies each year. Oak Hill is the resting place of the only Revolutionary War veteran in Wisconsin, and Revolutionary War re-enactors are part of the post's presentation on Memorial Day.

Although Memorial Day is a celebration with parades and fireworks, members of Post 296 believe the focus should be on history, heritage and heroism.

The Behling-Kutchera Post honors those who came home and those who didn't.

At the Aug. 4 meeting, special recognition was given to Travis Beattie of Brookfield and Nicole Kalupa of Elm Grove; both attend Brookfield East High School. Each of them spoke briefly about how much they had benefited from attending Badger Boys and Badger Girls State.

Most of those attending the recent meeting are Brookfield residents. They include Harry Mierow, Stephen Olson, Sandra Fahringer, Chuck and Sharon Bloom, Raymond Weiss, Mike Peck, Thad Groszczyk, Tom Glueckstein, Rick Beattie, Don and Lynn Grayson, Gaylord Poeschl, Carol Mattson, Don and Yvonne Basting, James and Toni Hepfner, Harry and Genie Andrew, Herbert Urbashich, Pat Vaegz, Dave and Jackie Hohn, Gerald and Helen Bobb, Irven and Marian Hoesly, Owen and Audrey Durigan, Tom McDermott, Al Bojack, Marilyn Ford, Louis Kapfhammer, Paul and Peggy Reinders, George and Doris Gohde, Ray and Marlene Mueller, Charles and Donna Carlson, Charles and Jean Davis, Robert and Carol Ottman, David and Lori Madson, Wilfred and Marge Legault, and Robert and Sharon Esqueda. Jim Kalupa of Elm Grove also attended.

Lorayne Ritt covers Waukesha County's nonprofit scene. Let her know about your event by calling (262) 542-6797 or sending a fax to (262) 650-0275.

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