Honoring one of their own; American Legion Legacy Riders lay wreath at Jay Hormel’s grave

Published 8:28 am Thursday, August 23, 2018

The American Legion Legacy Riders left Austin on Wednesday for Rochester and Onalaska, the next stops on their five-state Legacy Ride. The Riders arrived on Tuesday, another stop on their ride to raise awareness about the American Legion Legacy Scholarship and the work Legionnaires are doing in the local community before they make their way to the annual American Legion Convention, held this year in Anoka.

But before leaving Austin, over 300 motorcycles lined the paths in Oakwood Cemetery as the Riders held a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of Jay C. Hormel.

Heather Miller, the great-granddaughter of Jay C. Hormel, stands at his grave with sons Roman, left, and Jude, as they honor his military service during a wreath laying Wednesday.

“(Jay Hormel) did a lot for veterans and a lot for America,” said Chief Road Capt. and American Legion Riders National Chairman Bob Sussan. “He started the Spam Post (570) in 1946, an all-woman’s post of factory workers. He did so much for our service members over the years and we thought it was fitting while we were in Austin to do this.”

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Jay C. Hormel was also instrumental in the establishment of American Legion Post 91 in Austin.

In attendance at the ceremony were Jay C. Hormel’s great-granddaughter Heather Miller and her family.

“It’s an honor to be here as a representative of the family,” she said. “Service to our country is important. My husband is a veteran, my brother-in-law is an active service member, so I really appreciate the service of all of the Legion members here in Austin.”

Riders taking part in the American Legion Legacy Ride leave north out of town after a wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of Jay C. Hormel Wednesday morning.
Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Miller and her sons, Jude and Roman, laid the wreath at Jay C. Hormel’s grave with assistance from Spam Post 570 Commander Mary Hanson. Members of the American Legion Post 91 Color Guard ordered all service members and veterans to present arms as a bugle solemnly played “Taps.” Every veteran rendered a salute, as did Jude and Roman.

“I’m proud that Jay was instrumental in getting (American Legion Post 91 and Spam Post 570) set up,” Miller said. “I’m honored to be part of that legacy.”