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Every day is Veterans Day at new American Legion post in south Minneapolis

Updated: November 14, 2019 10:16 PM

Veterans in south Minneapolis have a new place to go where every day is Veterans Day. The American Legion of Minnesota dedicated its first new post in six years on Thursday.

It's named after a Minneapolis police officer who served for 30 years. The new Patrick M. Novack Post 5222 is launching with 27 charter members, ranging in age from 27 to 83. Teresa Huberty, the post commander, estimates about 75% of the new members are veterans of Middle East wars.

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Posts of the American Legion can have customized numbers; 5222 was Novack's badge number. Novack, a Vietnam War veteran, died with his wife, Mary, in a car crash in 2004. In addition to being a retired police officer, he was a member of the American Legion post in Coon Rapids. They are buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Huberty hopes there will be a lot of mentoring and bonding going on.

"We're trying to provide an environment where these gentlemen and ladies can come talk about whatever they want to talk about, knowing that we have all been through the majority of the same things that they have been through," she said.

Huberty said the post is in a great location inside the Cardinal Restaurant & Bar at 2920 E. 38th Street, in Minneapolis. It's right on the Metro Blue Line and close to the VA Medical Center.

"That's where I met half of our post," Huberty said. "Many of the new post members reside in apartment complexes nearby the hospital. That made the Cardinal Restaurant & Bar easy to access along the Blue Line commuter rail that lines Hiawatha Avenue."

According to Mike Maxa, assistant adjutant for the American Legion Department of Minnesota, there is a big push right now to grow membership in the Minnesota American Legion.

At its peak in 1991, 137,393 Minnesotans belonged to the American Legion. Today there are 51,351 members statewide. The drop in membership is mostly tied to losing older veterans, Maxa said. The goal is to have 69,493 new Minnesota members by the end of 2020.

Maxa and Huberty are asking new members to join. The best way to do that is to start at the American Legion Department of Minnesota website.

"You have got to go in and let them know what the Legion is about and that we are there for them. I want to feel like what I'm doing matters to somebody," Huberty said. "They have an opportunity to get involved so they can feel like they are a family member — it's somewhere they belong."

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Kevin Doran

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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