Henry G. Fix Post #23
P.O. Box 376, Garretson SD 57030
Garretson American Legion - Henry G. Fix Post 23
For God and Country, we associate ourselves together for the following purposes, to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, to maintain law and order, to foster and perpetuate a 100 percent Americanism, to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the great wars, to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation, to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses, to make right the master of might, to promote peace and good will on earth, to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy, to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.
Henry G. Fix Post 23, Garretson SD Established
July 7, 1919
The first meeting to organize the Post was held July 7, 1919 by A.C. Halls who would be a leader in the Post and Legion activities until his death in 1956. The required fifteen people were present and a charter was requested. On August 2, 1919 the charter for the Garretson American Legion Post arrived and the first officers were elected. Erick Ellefson was the first Commander. Dues were set at $2.00 per year. A Constitution and By-Laws were written and adopted. The first Armistice Day observance was held and a dance held. The first Thursday of each month was set as the meeting date and has been so ever since. By December dues had been raised to $3.00 and there were 75 members.
The primary task undertaken was a search for a permanent meeting place. After using several different meeting places, in February, 1921 the Post rented from the City of Garretson for $5.00 per year the old light plant. It was a narrow stone building partially in the ground and in October 1921 it was officially named the Dugout. The members all worked diligently to clean and refurbish it and make it suitable for a meeting place. In December 1921 the first official meeting was held in the Dugout. Since that time there have been numerous changes to both the interior and exterior of the building culminating with the $100,000 improvements in 2014.
In July 1929 the first Sports Day was held which has been an annual celebration for the benefit of the community and to raise money. In November, 1920 the Auxiliary was established and has been an active partner with the Legion at all times. In December 1920 the dues were raised to $5.00 year and membership had reached 95. In May 1921 the Legion and Auxiliary sponsored the first observance of Decoration Day (now Memorial Day).
Henry G. Fix was killed July 27, 1918. Family was not notified until Sept. 24, 1918. First mention of change of name of Post to Henry G. Fix Post 23 was in Dec 1921. Henry G. Fix was the son of Oliver and Henrietta Fix and was 20 years old when killed. A memorial service for him was held October 29, 1918. Remains were returned and a funeral was held June 19, 1922.
The Post has made every effort to have a new Commander each year by having candidates for Second Vice Commander agree to move up in office after one year. There have been only three instances when the succession was not followed. This has been a definite factor in the success of the Post.
The post has had a strong connection with the Garretson School. Activities such as the track meet for rural schools starting in 1936 with the final one in 1962, Boys State starting on 1939, Legion baseball starting in 1943, awarding of Citizenship Awards in 1963, and others all of which have benefited the students.
The raising of funds has been a major effort every year since the start with many plans and activities involved, some very successful, some not. Many of the fund raising efforts have been in collaboration with community celebrations and activities. Enough funds have always been raised so that the Post could fulfill its obligation to the Community, State, and Nation.
One notable WWI veteran was Henry G. Fix who was the first Garretson man killed in WWI. A full military honors were held for him on June 18, 1922 when his body was returned from France. Henry G. Fix, of course, is the name of the post #23 American Legion in Garretson. The name was adopted on August 4, 1921. Pictured here is an early picture of the legion dugout.
State Department Commander, Hugh Holmes installing newly elected Post 23 Officers: from left to right. Andy Lyngen , Commander; Brian Simonsma, Adjutant; Robert Meyer, 1st Vice; Ed Van Emmerick, Chaplin; Jim Kurtz, Finance Officer; Owen Wiese, Historian; Mark Williamson, Sgt. at Arms; Steve Warren, Past Commander and Social Director; State Department Commander, Hugh Holmes.