New Legion post established at Iowa Veterans Home

State Legion Commander Randy Johnson, back right, conducts a vote in front of a roomful of attendees at the first meeting of Charles Horton Post 739, comprised entirely of Iowa Veterans Home residents and employees, on Friday, Oct. 28. PHOTO BY ROBERT MAHARRY

It’s been in the works for a while now, but the long-awaited new American Legion post comprised entirely of residents and employees at the Iowa Veterans Home officially held its first meeting on Friday, Oct. 28.

They filed into the Kopper Kettle on the IVH campus to officially establish Charles Horton Post 739, elect officers and conduct business as the newest Legion organization in Iowa. Both the residents and employees engaged in spirited discussion as they voted for their leaders, and Jack Studebaker, who works at IVH as a carpenter, was chosen to serve as the first commander of the Post.

Along with Studebaker, the following post leaders were elected by popular vote: Vice Commander Brent Beals, Adjutant Candice Cobb, Sergeant-At-Arms Terry McCullough, Chaplain John Bohren, Finance Director Laurel Degelau and Service Officer Andrea Ferm.

Third District Commander Jeff Large, Third District Vice Commander Del Shepard, State Commander Randy Johnson and former National Vice Commander Bruce Feuerbach were all on hand for the momentous meeting, along with facility leaders like interim Commandant Penny Cutler-Bermudez and Executive Secretary Polly Roll.

“I think it’s a great honor to have it here onsite and for (the members) to realize how much they would appreciate going to chapter meetings, and to have it brought to a site where they can participate is an honor to their service,” Cutler-Bermudez said. “We have so many staff who are also veterans, and we have several staff who have joined. It really creates a camaraderie between our staff and residents and something they can share, and it’s just really commendable that they thought of bringing it here.”

The biggest benefit, Cutler-Bermudez added, is that with the onsite chapter, every resident will have the opportunity to attend meetings without having to travel off campus. A celebration of the new chapter is planned for Nov. 12, and incoming Commandant Todd Jacobus — who told Cutler-Bermudez he wished he could have attended the inaugural meeting — plans to be there.

“It warms my heart to see this room so full,” Cutler-Bermudez said.

IVH was set to host its first open to the public Veterans Day program since the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, Nov. 11, at the Malloy LRC with Carol Whitmore as the featured speaker.