Members having a celebration snack after delivery to the IVHM. Left to right: Larry Blanchette, Tim Rehmer, Mike Spade, Bruce Wood and our leader for this, Ken Kurtz.


Veterans helping veterans

Harvey S. Ruel (St. George) American Legion 1164 - Bourbonnais, IL

Over the last five years, the small 60-member Harvey S. Ruel American Legion Post 1164 has been helping other veterans. Post 1164, also referred to as the St. George American Legion because of the small village they meet in, had a member who wanted to raise money to help other veterans living at the Illinois Veterans Home in Manteno - IVHM. That veteran was Ken Kurtz.

When Ken started the fund, he asked his fellow Legionnaires to help him raise money to buy clothing and other items the residents could use at the Illinois Veterans Home. Everyone in the post was glad to help, but Ken always contributed a large chunk of the money himself. That’s why the new fund is called the “Ken Kurtz VA Memorial Home Fund.”

In this past year, using collections at their meetings and donations from members and friends, the post raised $2,685. $2,681 of that money was used to buy all these items for the residents of IVHM: 80 assorted T-shirts, 20 pairs of assorted shoes with Velcro, 18 Navy hats, 6 Marine Hats, 12 Army hats, 6 Coast Guard hats, 6 Air Force hats, 10 small sweatpants, 29 large sweatpants, 32 XL sweatpants, 36 quarts of chicken noodle soup, 36 quarts of cream of chicken noodle soup, 40 gallons of Hawaiian Punch and 800 assorted coffee creamers.

Right before Nov. 11, 2022, four of the members of the post - Mike Spade, commander; Larry Blanchette, senior vice commander; Tim Rehmer, adjutant; and Bruce Wood - delivered all the things they had purchased to the Illinois Veterans Home, and Michelle Shear, the coordinator at IVHM, was there to help them unload and thank them for everything they’d brought. Ken Kurtz wanted to be there, but his health wouldn’t allow it. Ken passed away shortly after the donations were delivered to IVHM, but his fund will be continued and will help veterans living at IVHM in the future. Post 1164 will always remember Ken for his generosity and determination to help others, and they will always remember other veterans who have given so much for our country.

Delivery to the Veterans Home.
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