ORFORDVILLE - Everyone's invited to the American Legion Post 209's POW/MIA (prisoners of war/missing in action) silent march at 11 a.m. on Saturday, according to Allen Morris, commander of American Legion Post 209.
Saturday will mark the first time in more than 20 years the march has been done in Orfordville. Although the American Legion's First District's silent march has been going on since the 1980s, they have been held in the Milwaukee and Lake Geneva areas where there are more active posts. Those with Post 209 wanted to bring it to Rock County.
The march will begin at the village hall, 303 E. Beloit St.
"It involves us marching to a single drum beat from village hall to the American Legion," Morris said.
A small ceremony and lunch will follow afterward at Memorial Park. The Legion Auxiliary will serve barbecue sandwiches and sides for lunch. It's $4 for the meal, and dessert is $1.
The main speaker is the Secretary Designee of Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Mary Kolar.
The solemn event, Morris said, is family-friendly.
"It's a good way to show your support for prisoners of war, those missing in action and other veterans," Morris said. "Everyone's welcome to join us for lunch at the clubhouse, talk with local veterans and see what we do at the Legion."
In the past the events have attracted 75 to 150 people when done in the Lake Geneva and Milwaukee areas. Organizers in Orfordville are hoping for at least 50 people.
Morris, a 32-year-old real estate agent and photographer who served in the Marines, is the youngest member who attends Legion meetings and is trying to get more younger people involved.
"I like the camaraderie and showing support for veterans," he said. "Seeing how much we give makes you want to do more."
There are around 130 American Legions members in Post 209 including people in Beloit and Janesville.
Historically, he said Orfordville's Post has been a focal point of the community and is the most active Legion Post in Rock County. It hosts a children's charity benefit, the Easter egg hunt and other special events as well as being rented out for weddings, birthdays and anniversaries.
Post 209 is well known for its monthly meat raffles and fall party event. It also hosts one of the biggest VetsRoll fundraisers. In the last five years the Orfordville area has raised around $200,000 at the Legion Post 209 VetsRoll fundraiser.