American Legion Post 212

Did you know that the American Legion was formed in Paris, France on March 15th, 1919 with 15,000 men and officers at the first meeting? Amongst those 15,000 members was our first commander Virgil Ryan. He returned home and with the assistance of Theresa Ericksen, a discharged Army nurse, began to organize the post we have today. They applied for a temporary charter and received the charter on September 25th, 1919. They chose to name our post after Otto Hendrickson because Otto was the first Park Rapids serviceman to be killed in France during the war. The permanent charter was received on October 21, 1920. In order to establish a charter, 15 members had to be retained.

The following is the list of our first 15 members:

Virgil E. Ryan

Theresa Ericksen

Clay P. Wright

Vard M, Shepard

Earle H. Rhodes

Frank Kleeb

R.O. Langguth

Harry L. Hoch

Dr. Walter Higgs

M.J. Fuller

Leon E. Witter

Harold H. Krause

Alvin A. Krause

Henry A. Nunn

Frederick Anderl

A little history on Otto Michael Hendrickson, after whom the Post was named. He was born in Sweden in 1896 and came to the United States with his parents and settled in Hubbard County, He was married in 1912 to Miss Nellie Reynolds of Park Rapids. Otto enlisted and did not wait to be drafted for the war. He went to a training camp in Dodge, Iowa. From there he was sent to Georgia and then to Long Island. A little later he was assigned to the Thirty-Second company, 326th infantry and was sent to France. Near the end of his hard campaign, Otto was wounded in the hip from a machine gun bullet and was hospitalized. He was released from the hospital in September and a few days later was gassed. He then returned to the hospital. Otto returned to his company in October. On October 12th the Germans threw all their reserves in for the last big offensive, the Battle of Maine, where Otto was again wounded. This time it proved to be fatal. Nellie, his wife, received a letter on November 25, 1918, telling her that her husband had been fatally wounded by shrapnel and passed away on October 14th, 1918. Otto is buried in the American Cemetary in Muese-Argonna, France.