One of Aberdeen’s veterans organizations celebrates 100 years of the formation of the section.
The Society of Forty Men and Eight Horses, more commonly known as 40 & 8, began as a selective organization for prominent members of the American Legion.
Its nationwide founding dates back to 1920, shortly after World War I, with the organization of Aberdeen Local Chapter 146 a year later on December 13, 1921.
The local is celebrating its 100th birthday today with an anniversary celebration at the City Lights Bar and Event Center, 316 S. Second St., at 7 pm. The public is welcome.
The inspiration for the organization’s name – and French-inspired titles and terminology – came from a stamp on French boxcars commonly seen during World War I. These wagons carried a triangle-shaped emblem with the numbers 40 and 8, which meant they could hold 40 men or eight horses.
In the years following World War I, each of the then 48 states received a gratitude train car filled with gifts from France and Italy. The contents of another boxcar were shared between the District of Columbia and Hawaii. The articles were a way of showing France’s gratitude to the United States for their help in WWI. The South Dakota boxcar is restored and on display at the State Fairgrounds in Huron. The boxcars each contained dolls, statues, clothing, ornaments, works of art and furniture.
Some terms to know
The French theme runs through the 40 & 8 organization, from officer titles to how they refer to local sections and meetings. Definitions of some of the commonly used terms follow.
- A car is a local. There are 11 in South Dakota.
- Big is the organization of the state.
- Travelers Where military travelers are members. Aberdeen’s car has 70 travelers. In South Dakota, there are 561. Each joins at the invitation of another member.
- Meetings are qualified as walk.
- the station master is the leader of the car. At the state level, the chief is the great station master. Locally, Ron Krogman is the station master for the Aberdeen car, a position he has held for five years. Currently the state’s Grand Station Master, Krogman said this was his second time in the post, as he had already been elected 40 years ago.
What is the local doing?
The local offers scholarships to nursing students at Presentation College, outreach activities at the New Beginnings Center in Aberdeen and, when contacted by an area fire department about a family affected by a fire, take the children to buy new clothes.
Krogman said the Aberdeen Car has awarded $ 12,500 in scholarships to Presentation students over the past two and a half years. Four scholarships were awarded this fall.
“We want to make sure there is never a shortage of nurses,” he said.
The money for the scholarships comes from the group’s main fundraiser in October, which was supported this year by donations from 150 local merchants, Krogman said. Participants purchase dinner tickets and a chance to win door prizes and can then participate in other raffles and games that evening.
Scholarships are awarded to sophomores, and those same students can continue to receive the scholarships as juniors and seniors, Krogman said. He said the organization starts with sophomores because at that point the students know if nursing is a career they want to pursue.
The car is also having a Christmas party in New Beginnings with pizza and banana splits.
The program with which the chapter buys clothes for children when their homes are destroyed by fire is a once-in-a-lifetime condition. Once he receives the notice, Krogman said, he will go shopping with the kids within 48 hours. Any fire department in the Aberdeen area can advise them if needed.
Creation of the new nurse of the year program
Krogman said the local annually recognizes an Advocate of the Year and a Hero of the Year. The hero of the year can be a local firefighter or a citizen who provided rescue action. The most recent winner, he said, was a citizen who entered a burning house to save someone inside.
Those that are recognized locally then go through a state competition and, if selected as state winners, continue at the national level.
Now, Krogman said, there is a new price. The 40 & 8 decided to honor nurses who demonstrate exceptional compassion, leadership, innovation, achievement or clinical excellence as a resident or provider of a system of care. Management. He hopes to secure local nominees for this honor.
40 & 8 is a low visibility group
Krogman is also the local commander of the Foreign War Veterans Station and vice president of Aberdeen Area Veterans Inc., a fundraising group to build a new veterans center in town.
While initially joining the American Legion was a prerequisite for being a 40 & 8 member, Krogman said it was no longer the case. But 40 and 8 members are often members of other veterans groups. However, membership is by invitation only, he said.
“We’re a fun organization,” Krogman said, also describing the group as a low-profile group.
“We’re not looking for a lot of recognition,” he said.