American Legion Post 212 was one of the incredibly early veterans organizations being formed, with its first commander Willis Presser. That makes our Post 212 over 100 years old. There are 37 names of residents on the original post charter. Through the years, membership has exceeded well over 200 members. However, the present membership is down to 140 members.
The Lapel Legion post was named in honor of Jay Emmett Whetsel, born in Lapel. He was the first member of the armed forces to be drafted from this community in the second world war and the first to be killed in the conflict. PFC Whetsel was killed at Kasserine Pass in North Africa on March 10, 1943, while serving with the 133rd Infantry, Company C, 34th Division. The jeep in which he was riding ran over a land mine. His body was interred in the American Cemetery at Tébessa, Algeria, until brought to America for burial in Lapel. His parents were Guy and Blanche Whetsel. Siblings include Trevor Whetsel, Jackie Whetsel Howell and Patty Whetsel Corn, all of Lapel.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “volunteer” means ” A person who offers oneself as a volunteer.” Volunteers manage Post 212. The only paid employees would be the bartender/cooks, but there are times that person is a volunteer. At this point in time, for some unknown reason, the Legion membership is shrinking. It appears many young veterans may be too busy to join.
However, our honor guard continues to strive in fulfilling our responsibilities for our post. Due to the age of our honor guard members, there are times we struggle to have enough to present a full detail for a funeral. We will continue to support our community as Legionnaires.