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Paynesville Press - November 16, 2005

52-year member named Legionnaire of the Year by post

By Michael Jacobson

During the Korean War, the U.S. Government drafted Paynesville farmboy Ermin Albrecht, who served his country in the airborne infantry, better known as paratroopers. Since being discharged in 1953, Albrecht has continued to serve his fellow veterans as a member of American Legion Post #271.

Legionnaire of the Year For his dedication to the post, Albrecht was named the Legionnaire of the Year on Veteran's Day.

Ermin Albrecht (second from left) received his Legionnaire of the Year award on Veteran's Day and then posed for a picture with, from left, Cyril Kascht, Dave Brinkman, and post commander Larry Alstead.

He said he was "shocked" to get the award, since he didn't even know the Legion had it. The award is believed to be the first Legionnaire of the Year given by the post, said post commander Larry Alstead, at least to his knowledge.

The criteria for the award, Alstead explained at the annual Veteran's Day lunch at the post, include years of service to the post, involvement, volunteerism, and general disposition. Albrecht is a consistent volunteer at steak frys, at bingo, and for color guards and is a regular attendee at monthly meetings and at Veteran's Day and Memorial Day.

His friendly positive demeanor and unending willingness to help make him a pleasure to work with and very deserving of the award, added Alstead. "I've never heard him say, 'no,' when asked to help," said Alstead.

Albrecht sees Legion membership and volunteering as continuing service to his fellow veterans. "I'm dedicated to it," he explained. "I joined the airborne infantry because (the country) needed me. I feel the same about the Legion."

Ermin has fun with his fellow Legion members, explained his wife Clarice. "He enjoys going up there and being with people," she said. "That's a big factor in him going up there a lot."

Albrecht has lived all his life in rural Paynesville, except for his military service. When drafted into the army, he became a paratrooper during the Korean War, though he never went overseas. He joined the Legion when discharged in 1953 and now has belonged to the Post #271 for 52 years. Currently, he is the veterans service officer, directing veterans to any service that may be beneficial to them, for the Paynesville Legion.

A retired farmer, he and Clarice have five children, ten grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Ermin also had three brothers who served in the armed forces and his son Steve, too.

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