American Legion Post 624 was Chartered in 1972 and named after the legendary baseball player, Zack Wheat who belonged to the National League from 1906 to 1916. The Legion purchased land in 1974, started building in 1975 and held their first meeting in their new building in 1978. For more than 4o years, the organization has been a part of the community.

American Legion Post 624 was Chartered in 1972 and named after the legendary baseball player, Zack Wheat who belonged to the National League from 1906 to 1916. The Legion purchased land in 1974, started building in 1975 and held their first meeting in their new building in 1978. For more than 4o years, the organization has been a part of the community.

Zack Wheat was a prominent resident in Sunrise Beach from 1937 until his death in 1972. To this day he holds the Dodger Franchise records for hits, doubles, triples and total bases. On the side, in the early 1900’s, he sold mules to the U.S. Army. After he retired he moved to Kansas City, MO and opened a bowling alley and later became a police officer. After a serious car accident, chasing a convicted felon, and a 5 month hospital stay, he moved to Sunrise Beach in 1937 and was a well known and respected resident until his death in 1972, where the American Legion Post 624 memorialized him as their name sake, because of the primary program of the Legion then which was mainly baseball.

The new American Legion Post was born at Dottie’s Den over a few beers by a few vets, mostly from WWII. Charter Nite and installation of officers was held at Foxes IV on April 10, 1972. In that same year the First Auxiliary President asked permission to be attached to Post 624 and was granted permission, and in 1973 the Auxiliary was organized and became a part of Post 624.
In 1989 they decided to build an addition to the Post. In 1995 an outdoor statue was added to their outdoor memorial and in 2000 a three-inch navy deck gun, donated by the Burke family, and a 155 army howitzer, donated by the Burgess family, were donated and added to the memorial park adjacent to the Post. Post 624 started with only 40 members but now boasts over 780 and the Auxiliary has about 250. The Post holds dinners on Wednesday and Friday nights, and everyone's invited.

The American Legion has four components, the Legionnaires (the veteran), the Auxiliary, the Sons (SAL), and the Riders.

COLOR GUARD, members consisting of a veteran Legionary, Auxiliary member, a Son (SAL), and/or a rider.

The Color Guard of POST 624 is one of the largest and most active groups in the state.

Currently Post 624 has about 40 active color guard members who conduct and average of four to six veterans funerals each month. In 2015 the Color Guard from the American Legion Post 624 received a certificate “On Behalf of a Grateful Nation” as a token of appreciation from the East Area Coordinator of the Missouri Military Funeral Honors Programs, Virginia Fletcher. They provided funeral honors for 515 deceased American veterans since Aug. 5, 1999. These services are wide and varied. At a minimum funeral honors may consist of a two-person uniformed military detail, with at least one member who represents the Military Service of the deceased. The Post may, when able, can provide pallbearers, a firing party with a 21 gun salute, folding of the flag, presenting it to the next of kin and a bugler for taps. They can do walk throughs with a final salute, and when a deceased member is from the Post, a 2-man guard rotation every 10 minutes during visitation. These duties are performed regardless of wind, rain, snow, temperature or sunshine.

When you ask a member of the Color Guard what motivated them to join the Guard, the thread that binds is that it carries from a sense of honoring a brother or sister veteran. The pomp and circumstance of the military ceremony shows their final respect for a veteran or military member, is not lost to the family of the deceased. No one forgets those funerals when it’s frigid outside, or the military parade at rest during bad weather. Despite that, this final mission of laying a brother or sister soldier to rest is their mission and must go forward regardless of the weather. Taps provides a beautiful final touch symbolizing a sense of closure in solemn dignity.

They also present colors at various community events, at schools, parades most anywhere when asked. The Color Guard from Post 624 is one of the most visible components in the American Legion, along with the Riders.

Our Veterans saved our Nation in the military years ago and now continue to serve through Veterans services like the American Legion.

AUXILIARY

The mission of the Auxiliary is to support the American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, the military and their families at home and abroad. They advocate for the veteran through education, mentoring, and promoting patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security. They sponsor dinners every Wednesday and Friday night form 5-7 PM, they hold fundraisers to support their scholarship and vocational scholarship programs. For the last 8 years they have held a Fashion Show in September, which has become quite popular over the last few years.
They also host bake sales, silent auctions, throughout the year. They serve breakfast every Memorial Day and Veterans Day from 7 - 10:30 AM, which is free to all veterans and their families. At 11 AM a memorial service is held to honor our veterans and active duty soldiers. The local Fire Departments also participate.

Genny Reickhoff has been one of the Auxiliary’s long standing members. She is a member of the Greatest Generation she knows hard work and is an example most Auxiliary members look up to. She has been a Treasurer for the Auxiliary for the last decade or two. She has held almost every office and has been involved in every aspect of decision making at the Legion. If there is something we need to know about our past history, or a person she is the one we go to. She’ll tell you that all she wants to do is to work, she loves to work especially for the Legion. At the 100th anniversary of the American Legion, Reickhoff received special recognition for her years of hard work…….”In recognition and grateful appreciation for serving the American Legion Auxiliary, for so many years, in the name of service, honor and duty with her Allegiance to God and our Country.”

SONS OF THE AMERICAN LEGION (SAL)

The Sons of the American Legion exist to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans. They exist to strengthen the four pillars of the American Legion (1. Veterans affairs and Rehabilitation, 2. National Security, 3. Americanism, 4. Children and youth), with an emphasis on preserving American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our children, caring for veterans and their families, and teaching the fundamentals of good citizenship. SAL members include males of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military. Even though the Sons have their own membership, this component is not a separate entity. Rather, SAL is a program of the American Legion and many Legionnaires hold dual membership in SAL.
SAL at the American Legion Post 624, sponsor dinner every second Wednesday from 5-7 PM. This year they changed their menu and started serving steak, potatoes, with salad. It has become very popular. Each year they sponsor two girls who go to Girls State every summer.

Together the American Legion, the Auxiliary, and the Sons make up what is known as The Legion Family.

AMERICAN LEGION RIDERS

To be eligible you must be in good standing with the American Legion, the Auxiliary, or the Sons; be a legally registered motorcycle owner in your state, be licensed and insured in your state and obey all motor-vehicle laws or ride as a passenger. They became a “National Program” in 2007. They are best known for Rolling Thunder, the annual POW/MIA rally in Washington on Memorial Day weekend. Locally you will see them at memorial ceremonies and in community parades. You will see them riding to honor fallen military men and women, to protect the sanctity of their funerals from those who would dishonor their memory; to escort military units to departure airfields and airports to combat tours overseas, and welcoming them home upon their return. In this area you will find them escorting busses back from ‘Honor Flight” programs. They are usually waiting for them in Kingdom City and are escorting the busses back to their hotel in Columbia, Missouri.

The Legion Rider chapter is known for their charitable work. This month the American Legion Riders Post 624 donated $1000.00 to the Medical Missions for Christ in Camdenton. They hold a cookout at the Laurie Knolls four times a year; conduct a Legacy Ride fund which is an outreach program for scholarships; they are hosting a Bike Fest Sept 13-14 and have been a passport check off point for several years.

They are the public face of the American Legion, They are the first thing you notice with all those bikes and the Legion patches on their vests, along with the color guard.


Ted York is director of the Legion Riders. He has helped all the components of the American Legion. He is well known in our community and knows how to network. If any component within the American Legion Family needs help, he knows who to talk to and is known as a fund raising demon.