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Legion receives 13K grant for new uniforms

Get ready to see the American Legion Post 91 Color Guard looking better than they have in 40 years.

The local organization is the recipient of an almost $13,000 Worth County Development Authority Grant awarded to purchase new uniforms.

“The last time we got new uniforms was sometime in the 1970s,” said Lanny Krachmer, the color guard member who wrote the grant.

“We are so grateful,” he said. “The members are excited.”

In addition to ceremonial services at various Legion events, the Mower County post’s color guard performs about 80 funeral escorts a year, Krachmer said.

“So, the uniforms have been extremely well-worn… they’ve been altered and re-altered to be given to new members,” Krachmer said.

The local color guard currently has 23 members, and will replace 25 uniforms.

The actual cost of 25 color guard uniforms is $17,185 — including the suits, caps, ties, belts and buckles, gloves, and embroidered stars, flags and emblems.

The WCDA grant program requires the recipient pay for 25 percent of their project, so the Legion will have fundraisers to earn the remaining $4,296 needed to purchase the uniforms in full.

The WCDA is the non-profit arm of Diamond Jo Casino, receiving 5.76 percent of the casino’s gross earnings annually. It then distributes grants to Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota biannually. To date more than $14 million has been awarded.

Krachmer said he learned of the grant program from a color guard in Albert Lea that applied for uniform funding a few years ago.

“I just decided, let’s take a chance and see what we get,” Krachmer said. “We got every penny we asked for.”

The local color guard’s was included in more than $2.6 million of grants awarded last Thursday by the WCDA.

The largest awards were almost $97,000 to the City of Northwood Airport Commission, Iowa, for a new airport lounge; almost $87,000 to the city of Fertile, Iowa for street improvements, and $80,000 to the city of Joice, Iowa for a new access road to Debruce Grain Inc.

Among the out-of-Worth-County awards, the American Legion Post 91’s was the largest.

For more information about the WCDA grant program, go to www.worthcountydevelopmentauthority.com.