75 years a Legionnaire

Duncombe veteran recognized Sunday for years of service

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Harold "Andy" Anderson, center, smiles as he poses for one of many pictures Sunday afternoon during a ceremony and luncheon to recognize his 75 years of service to American Legion Post 491 in Duncombe.

DUNCOMBE — The current American Legion Post 491 Commander, Tom Powers, has an important date almost in common with post financial officer Harold “Andy” Anderson.

“He joined on March 15, 1949.” Powers said. “I was born on March 16 of the same year. He joined the American Legion the day before I was born.”

That makes Powers 75, and it also makes Anderson a member in good standing for the same seven and a half decades.

On Sunday, in the Duncombe Community Center, fellow Legion members, family and friends gathered to see Anderson receive an award to recognize his 75 years of service.

Anderson was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1948. He was discharged after a year then called back in 1950 to serve a year in Korea with an artillery unit. He was discharged in 1952.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Harold "Andy" Anderson, center, smiles as he poses with American Legion State of Iowa Commander Stanley Elliott, at left, and American Legion Post 491 Post Commander Tom Powers, right. The Duncombe Post recognized Anderson for 75 years of service to the organization Sunday at the Duncombe Community Center.

He was Post Commander for a year although he could not recall the year.

“It’s been a long time ago,” he joked.

Anderson has spent many of his years of service as the post’s treasurer or financial officer.

“Andy has been an officer since I can remember,” Powers said. “He’s very, very good. When I’ve double checked, it’s always right to the penny.”

Powers has many fond memories of time with Anderson that go back to his childhood.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Framed by one of two cakes, Harold "Andy" Anderson gathers with a group of family and friends Sunday afternoon during a luncheon held to recognize his 75 years of service to American Legion Post 491 in Duncombe.

Anderson often took him along to go stock car racing.

“I was his mascot,” Powers joked. “He was never beaten; he was undefeated in Dayton.”

Anderson had a signature racing style.

“He was as laid back as they came,” Powers said. “He won every time trial. Andy would lead the cars, just go along at 10 mph. Everyone learned what happened next. Never drop a green flag in front of Harold Anderson. He was like the Tasmanian Devil. Then when the checkered flag dropped, it was right back to 10 mph. Then he would drive back to the pits and sit in a lawn chair with a big grin on his face.”

Marty Pringle, of Otho, came along to help celebrate with Anderson.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Harold "Andy" Anderson had a successful local racing career for over a decade. He's shown in his car No. 61 winning a race at the Dayton Speedway.

“Andy was a hell of a racer,” Pringle said. “My dad did race him. We watched him when we were little. Harold’s first race, I was only a year old.”

American Legion State Commander Stanley Elliott was on hand for the celebration.

“I’ve been a member for 37 years,” Elliott said. “I can count on one hand the number of members I’ve seen with this many years of service. I just hope that when I’m 75 years old that I can get around like he does.”

Anderson’s last vocation before retirement was farming. He also worked as a mechanic.

He’s still an active member at 98.

“I still fire the rifle,” he said.

The secret to a long life and a long membership in the American Legion?

“Stay active,” Anderson said. “Also, eat three good meals a day.”


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