Post 301 Commander Jamieson (L) presents the Certificate of Continuous Membership for 70 years to George Helgeson as Dist. Commander Miller looks on. Photo by Paul J. Seeling
Post 301 Commander Jamieson (L) presents the Certificate of Continuous Membership for 70 years to George Helgeson as Dist. Commander Miller looks on. Photo by Paul J. Seeling

WOODVILLE, WI – Flanked by proud family and friends and many members of his Woodville American Legion Post 301, George Helgeson was honored for his 70 years of continuous American Legion Membership on Monday, March 13 in the Community Room at the Park View Senior Home in Woodville.

The smiling and affable 99 year-young, sharp WWII Navy veteran Chief Petty Officer George Helgeson was seated in his wheelchair as he received words of praise from Legion 10th District (of nine counties) Commander John W. Miller of Wilson who is a former Commander of Post 301.

Post 301 Commander Doug Jamieson asked Chaplin John Terkelsen to begin the presentation ceremony with a prayer, which he did and the Chaplin also offered his words of praise and appreciation to Helgeson.

After Commander Miller finished speaking about the amazing accomplishment of George’s 70 years as a dedicated Legionnaire, Commander Jamieson read the framed certificate that he was presenting to George Helgeson.

The certificate reads: The American Legion – Certificate of Continuous Membership

Issued in grateful appreciation for faithful and dedicated allegiance to the ideals of The American Legion. Be it known that George W. Helgeson a longtime and dedicated member of American Legion Post 301, Department of Wisconsin has been certified to have been a member in good standing continuously for 70 years And be it further known that such record of consistent loyalty to The American Legion merits the honor of being cited as an outstanding contribution to the programs of The American Legion.

In witness thereof, this testimonial of personal gratitude is given under the hand of the National Commander, and duly attested by the National Adjutant, this 15th day of March 2017. Signed by National Commander Charles E. Schmidt, National Adjutant Daniel S. Wheeler and Post 301 Commander Doug Jamieson.

Upon receiving the award George spoke to the group gathered in his honor saying, “Thank you very, very much for coming today. I appreciate it very much!”

George Helgeson was born on October 25, 1918; he joined the United States Navy in 1940. Helgeson was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1944 after the Japanese attack where he was an aviation mechanic. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and joined the American Legion in 1947, 70 years ago. He was the Service Officer at Post 301 for several years. After the war, he raised a family and was a successful builder who constructed a number of homes in Woodville.

George shared this story of his WWII experience at Pearl Harbor where he worked on the aircraft fleet there with Post 301 Commander Jamieson.

One day, one of the pilots asked him to replace the engine on his plane and after George did, the pilot asked him if he wanted to go for a ride in the plane. George said sure, and up they went where the pilot did several loops and dives to get George airsick. That didn’t work, but George said, “I never flew with him again!”

The Post 301 members posed with George for a group picture and then all stood and gave him a respectful salute.

Congratulations to George Helgeson on your 70 years of continuous membership in the American Legion and thank you for your service!