A plaque is the award!

A plaque is the award! Appreciation is the prize!

Legionnaires recently presented Floyd Rogotzke with a plaque that recognizes him for his many contributions and dedicated service to American Legion John Watson Post 257 over the years.

The plaque is the award. The prize is the appreciation!

 “It was a complete surprise to me,” Rogotzke recalled during a recent interview.  The award presentation was made during the Legion Post’s December meeting. “They got me up to give a speech,” Rogotzke said. “I didn’t know what to say and, at first, I just said, ‘Thank you, everyone’ and went back to my chair and sat down.  Then they said, ‘You’ve got to say more.’  Well, then I proceeded to say a little bit more.”

Anyone who knows Rogotzke might have a difficult time imagining him speechless.  His expressions of appreciation, however, were clear.

“Volunteers make all organizations work,” Rogotzke noted.  “I didn’t do it alone,” he said, and acknowledged the help from fellow Legionnaires and Auxiliary members, and his wife, Sue.

In 1981, when members of American Legion John Watson Post 257 decided to enlarge and remodel the club’s kitchen, Rogotzke and Neil Tadewald did the carpentry work. “That got me started in the Legion,” Rogotzke said.

Then in 1992, when Rogotzke served as Commander of the local post, bi-fold doors were needed to separate rooms in the building.  “So often, as was the case with the kitchen project and various other things, the Legion didn’t have the necessary funds, but I found out that the SAL (Sons of the American Legion) did have funds,” Rogotzke recalled. “We had a meeting and they bought the doors.  That got me going in the SAL.”  The organization had 16 members back then and today, with Rogotzke as membership director, the organization has more than 160 members.

In 1995, Legion members decided that the stairs leading to the second story of the building, where meetings and social gatherings were once held, were not easily accessible, too long, steep, and dangerous when having to haul food and supplies up and down the steps. The membership voted to enlarge the dining room on north side of the building.

In 1997, Rogotzke and Florian Wersal moved the entrance to its present location to make room for the remodeling of the barroom in 1998.   Rogotzke drew up two plans for the remodeling project and the club decided to make a U-shaped bar.  “We made it with all volunteer labor,” Rogotzke said. “It was the way Legion could afford things.”

The Legion built an addition on the south side of the building in 2007 when the work was done by Charles Roiger and crew.

On Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Rogotzke takes charge of flag details for the Parade of Flags in East End Park, flags for the central business district, and flags for programs at local schools.  He replaces flags as needed at Martha Anderson Park, Park Place Apartments, Riverview Homestead Cooperative Housing, and up and down Central Street. He keeps the display current for flags donated by families of deceased members. He maintains membership records for both the Legion and SAL.  He is active in membership campaigns, and helps with the SAL basketball tournament. 

Rogotzke served one term as Commander of the local John Watson Post 257. He currently is post chaplain, a post he has held for 12 years.

As a Legionnaire, Rogotzke is a member of the Charitable Gambling Committee, the Brown County Veterans Service Board, and has served 10 years as Commander of the Brown County Veterans Council.

He has been in charge of monthly steak fries for more than 20 years.  He has chaired the baseball stag party for 22 years, and the Riverside Days food concession stand since 1994 to the present.

At most of those events he is fortunate to have his wife, Sue, working at his side or behind the scenes.   

Floyd and Sue often filled in as cooks and cleanup crew for all sorts of activities.

Floyd and Sue and Florian Wersal and wife Evelyn were in charge of the Second District Legion Baseball Tournaments held here in Springfield in 2002 and 2007.

“We need volunteers,” Rogotzke said during an interview Friday. “I do it for the Legion. I do it for the SAL (Sons of the American Legion).” When one derives satisfaction from jobs well done, then “It’s fun,” he said.

Rogotzke also volunteers at his church. He and wife Sue deliver Meals on Wheels monthly. He served on Harvest Land Cooperative’s board of directors for 30 years.

“Sometimes now, some of these things seem like work,” Rogotzke said. “I’ll be 70 soon. I’m trying to slow down . . . but not quite yet. 

Springfield Advance-Press

13 S. Marshall Avenue PO Box 78 Springfield, MN 56087