American Legion art auction raises thousands for veterans

Lynne Hermansen
Gardner News

The local community came out in force and filled the American Legion LeRoy Hill Post No. 19 hall on April 29 to bid on local art to raise money for veterans.

More than 60 pieces of art, furniture, knives and quilts were auctioned off with all proceeds going to support veterans’ organizations, Friends in Service of Heroes and The Fallen Outdoors. Established in 2013, FISH is a Greater Kansas City-area volunteer organization helping veterans by providing wheelchairs for amputees,financial support and brightening up the holidays for veteran families. The Fallen Outdoors organizes outdoor adventures for veterans, primarily focusing on hunting and fishing experiences.

Approximately $6,053 was raised by the end of the night between purchased and auctioned items, the 50/50 raffle and donations. Organizers said half of the proceeds would go to FISH and the other half to TFO.

Jennifer Wilson, event organizer, said the goal for this year’s event was $5,000. It was the auction’s second consecutive year since the 2020 pandemic temporarily halted the event.

Event host Bobby Carver said the auction was a success thanks to donors, artists and buyers.

“I am told size doesn’t matter, but this does,” Carver said holding up the check. “Thank you all so much. You guys are awesome.”

Some items receiving the highest bids of the evening were a $410 pheasant hunt, a $280 quilt and a $350 color guard flag quilt.

Volunteers prepared complimentary hors d’oeuvres and the Legion operated a cash-only bar. Josh Carrell with Carrell Auctions served as the auctioneer.

The American Legion provides life-changing assistance and guidance for veterans, military personnel and their families. The help is given through cash grants, donated goods, disaster relief, labor, networking, volunteerism and advocacy.

Post No. 19 was chartered in 1921 in the memory of LeRoy Hill, whose family’s farm was located northeast of Gardner. He volunteered for World War I in 1917, and was a member of the 15th Field Artillery Regiment that arrived at Le Havre, France, in February 1918. Hill died on the battlefield near Chateau-Thierry, France, June 7, 1918. He was only 24.

Gardner’s first war casualty, Hill returned home Aug. 5, 1921, and was buried two days later in his family’s plot on the east side of Gardner Cemetery.