The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary held their statewide Mid-Winter Conference and President’s and Commander’s Homecoming in the Biltmore Hotel in Oklahoma City recently. Virginia Hare of Grove, state president of the Oklahoma Auxiliary, presided over the Auxiliary meetings and was honored, along with Bobby “B. J.” Longenbaugh, American Legion State Commander, at the Homecoming Banquet.

Hare’s theme for this 2006-2007 year is “Hop to It.” In keeping with that theme, she presented gifts of specially handcrafted patriotic rabbits to Commander Longenbaugh and Chris Champoux, state commander for the Sons of the American Legion.

During dinner, Neil McElderry played selections from the WWII era on the piano. After dinner, Jake Simpson, a Wyandotte High School freshman, amazed the group with his very entertaining fiddle playing, and they rewarded him with a rousing standing ovation upon completion.

A Grand March opened the banquet, led by President Hare and her husband, A. D. “Rabbit” Hare, and Commander and Bernice Longenbaugh, followed by others seated at the head table. A dance followed the banquet featuring Bill Rotter and The Big Band Sound. Commander Longenbaugh grew up in the Miami-Commerce area, and he and Rotter played trombone together in the high school band.

Special guest at the weekend conference was American Legion Auxiliary National President JoAnn Cronin from St. Louis, Mo., who addressed a joint session of the Legion and Auxiliary. She later spoke to the Auxiliary and shared special thoughts about the Creative Arts Festival. The National American Legion Auxiliary (the world’s largest patriotic women’s organization), the Veterans Administration and the Disabled American Veterans co-sponsor this festival.

Those attending from the Morrison community were Mike and Sue Heil, Don and Carol Blosch and Dorothy Fehring.

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