There are few things that remain intact long enough to celebrate 100 years of existence. Southington’s own American Legion, the Kiltonic Post 72, commemorated a century of charity and comradery at the Aqua Turf Club on Saturday, Nov. 9.
The post’s official date of foundation was Dec. 13, 1919. Veterans of World War I who now were the first members of Post 72 voted unanimously to name their post after John Kiltonic, the only Southington soldier to die in World War I on active duty.
“Tonight’s event is a celebration of 100 years of service to our community, state and our nation,” said Jason Capp, senior vice commander. “Today, we have lots of programs that help people in our community, from veterans and active duty to children.”
At the 100-year anniversary gala, American Legion Kiltonic Post 72 was presented with an official citation from the state of Connecticut, signed by Gov. Ned Lamont (D), State Sen. Rob Sampson (R-16), State Rep. John Fusco (R-81) and State Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco (R-80).
On behalf of the post, past commander Steve McCarty also presented an award to Laura Shaw, who had spent over a year researching the history of Post 72 from its origin to the present in preparation for the 100-year anniversary. Shaw had provided a written history of the post that was distributed to attendees of the gala.
The original home of the Kiltonic Post 72 was the Neale Building on the west side of Main Street until a fire destroyed the property. Members worked to raise funds and build a new home—the current Post 72 building on the town green.
Over the years, members of the American Legion, along with the American Legion auxiliary and the sons of the American Legion, advocated for medical care, jobs, education, housing, and other benefits for veterans and their families, according to Shaw’s written history.
Post 72 continues to send packages to the Rocky Hill Veterans Home, and is involved in fundraising efforts for the Connecticut Fisher House in West Haven. They also are involved in the Hometown to Heroes program, helping wounded soldiers transition back to a normal life after returning home.
The post also coordinates a laptops for troops program that has donated over 3,500 laptops to soldiers deployed overseas or troops recovering at the Walter Reed Memorial Hospital. Post 72 assists veterans in times of hardship, helping with disability applications and offering financial assistance.
They also support youth within their community through programs such as Boys State, oratorical contests, state police youth week and Southington’s American Legion baseball team. Capp said the post was created “as a place for veterans to support each other and devoted to mutual helpfulness.”
“Today, 100 years later, we continue our dedication to community, state and nation,” said Capp.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.