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Six-year Minot American Legion Honor Guard member retires at 88

Eloise Ogden/MDN Ernest Hoelscher, center, retired this past week from the Minot American Legion’s William G. Carroll Post 26 Honor Guard. At the left is Dean Verstraete, Honor Guard captain, and at the right is Millo Wallace, Post commander.

Ernest Hoelscher has volunteered many hours as a member of the Minot American Legion’s William G. Carroll Post 26 Honor Guard.

On Tuesday evening, the American Legion Post members honored Hoelscher who, at the age of 88, retired effective that day from the Honor Guard.

After the ceremony as other Post members shook his hand and thanked him for his time with the Honor Guard, he pointed out he was “just retiring from the Honor Guard.” He continues as a Legion Post member.

Dean Verstraete, Honor Guard captain, presented the retirement honors to Ernest Hoelscher, along with Millo Wallace, Post commander.

The special award presented to Hoelscher from the Legion Post says “Thank You for your continued devotion to our Veterans with over 300 funerals performed.”

Hoelscher also received the American Legion Citation for Meritorious Service of Post 26 Honor Guard. The citation is signed by Verstraete and Wallace. Hoelscher’s wife, Shirley, also received a gift of flowers.

A Korean War veteran – he served in Korea for 13-1/2 months from 1953-54 – the Hoelschers live near Ruthville.

Hoelscher was a member of the Minot American Legion Honor Guard for six years. He carried a rifle.

“Sometimes we had two funerals a day,” he said. He said the unit provided military honors for funerals in all types of weather. The Honor Guard also participates in Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other ceremonies and events.

After the presentations to him on Tuesday evening at the American Legion Club on North Hill, Hoelscher told the group, “It was an honor to serve.”

Steve Veikley and Richard Reuer were also recognized for their work with the Honor Guard. Veikley, Honor Guard bugler, was recognized for participating in 300 funerals. Reuer, Honor Guard member, was recognized for participating in 400 funerals.

Currently, the Honor Guard has 12 team members, according to Verstraete.

(Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Editor Mike Sasser at 857-1959 or Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send email suggestions to msasser@minotdailynews.com.)

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