Hazelwood’s American Legionnaires entertain visiting military personnel

With Portland Rose Festival’s Queen Coronation and Grand Floral Parade going on downtown – here’s a story about outer East Portland volunteers serving those who protect our way of life …

While people are watching the big parade downtown, American Legion Post #1 volunteer hamburger chefs John Rinaker and Liana Smith are in outer East Portland – busily cooking lunch for visiting service personnel.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Other than the annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade in April, no other sanctioned Portland Rose Festival events take place east of that thoroughfare.

But, in the spirit of hospitality, the men and women of American Legion Post #1 on SE 122nd Avenue on June 9th continued their own “Rose Festival tradition” – hosting the military personnel visiting Portland – with a day of barbecue, beverages, and entertainment.

Volunteer Susan Gamblin, who says she traveled from Seattle to help out, stands with American Legion Post #1 Commander Earl Day, and guest ET1 Nathan Smith from the USS Henry M. Jackson, as the day-long party begins.

“We do it every year, for those who serve on ships that visit Portland during the Rose Festival,” smiled the Post Commander, Earl Day.

Why we do it is simple: we like to take care of the people who are taking care of our country,” Day told East Portland News. “These people are making sacrifices for us; this is the least we can do for them. In our way, here in mid-County, we’re showing the world that we stand behind those who stand behind our country.”

About 40 volunteers were set for the day-long event, Day added. “This includes volunteer drivers who are shuttling personal back and forth to and from their ships downtown, to the people who set up the dining room, to others who cook. The result is that we provide food and drink for the sailors and soldiers who come to visit us today.”

Post volunteer Kimmy Basi welcomes E1 Paul Woods from the USS Dewey to the Post’s party.

It’s not a chore, Day assured us. “Here’s the real thing: We love doing it; we feel it’s our privilege to do it.”

Depending on the number of ships in port, the post commander calculates that they usually host about 250 service people through the course of the day.

It’s a sizzling hot cheeseburger for visiting Captain Nelson “Pete” Hildreth from the USS Frank Cable.

As Captain Nelson “Pete” Hildreth of the USS Frank Cable built his hamburger, he grinned, “We’re having a great time in Portland. And, we really appreciate the American Legion inviting us over. We get a lot of hospitality and various ports, but Portland is very welcoming to us. This is a lot of fun; in fact, it’s great!”

Learn more about Portland’s American Legion Post #1 by viewing their website: CLICK HERE.

Erica Reeves enjoys lunch with ET1 Nathan Smith, SG William Brinson, and Henry MM3 Chris Bruno, all from the USS Henry M. Jackson.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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