Legion feeds more than 400 for Christmas

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com
Francesca Pryce, age 2 years, and Tonni Horn have a chat with Santa Claus during the annual American Legion community Christmas event.

American Legion Post 198 of Pawhuska packed the Ag Building at the Osage County Fairgrounds on the evening of Friday, Dec. 21 with folks eager to sample the Legion’s free steak dinner for Christmas.

Post 198 Adjutant Dan Mooney estimated the Legion post fed about 425 people. It also gave away six bicycles, three for boys and three for girls, and distributed toys to more than 130 children. The kids and their families had the chance to talk to Santa Claus about their holiday wishes.

The Legion’s free Christmas dinner is an event of growing popularity. Mooney said Post 198 fed about 360 people a year ago. He explained the whole thing is about the Legion’s mission to serve both veterans and the broader community.

“We do things for the community and especially for the veterans,” Mooney said.

During the past year, Post 198 has paid special tribute to aging veterans, particularly those who served in World War II. Mooney also collaborated with scout leaders to develop a special video about flag etiquette.

Post 198 provides honor guard services for veteran funerals, and Mooney recalled that the post took part in five funerals during the week and a half before Christmas. Additionally, the post participated in the Osage Nation’s special ceremony on Veterans Day, dedicating its new Veterans Memorial.

The upcoming year, 2019, will be the centennial year for the American Legion nationwide, and Mooney said the Pawhuska post is looking at having a parade and a big celebration.