American Legion to memorialize Utica soldier’s death 100 years ago in WWI

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published October 1, 2018

 American Legion Post 351 will hold a ceremony at the site of Victor I. Rieck’s grave in the Utica Cemetery Oct. 9 to mark 100 years since Rieck, the post’s namesake, was killed in action in World War I.

American Legion Post 351 will hold a ceremony at the site of Victor I. Rieck’s grave in the Utica Cemetery Oct. 9 to mark 100 years since Rieck, the post’s namesake, was killed in action in World War I.

Photo provided by Heidi Wolf

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UTICA — The Victor I. Rieck American Legion Post 351 will honor its namesake with a wreath-laying ceremony at 5 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Utica Cemetery, 46325 Shelby Road in Shelby Township.

The ceremony will mark 100 years since Rieck, a Utica soldier, died near the end of World War I.

Rieck was the first Utica service member to be killed in action during the war, and the post was named in his honor. The Victor I. Rieck Post 351 in Utica was organized in May 1943.

“American Legion Post 351 was named after Army Pfc. Victor I. Rieck 25 years after his combat death. It is now 75 years later that our Post 351 pays respect in honor of him. We hope that he would be proud of Post 351’s 75 continuous years of the veteran programs, assistance and community pride,” stated Heidi Wolf, the second vice commander of Post 351, in an email.

The ceremony will include a prayer, the laying of a wreath, an honor guard and more. The event also will feature the attendance of many members of the community.

Special guests who plan to attend the ceremony include Utica Mayor Thom Dionne, Shelby Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis, District 36 state Rep. Peter J. Lucido, American Legion Zone Commander Doug Carignan, District Commander Lewis Mitchell and American Legion State Commander Steve Striggow.

The Marine Corps League Detachment Color Guard will present the flags during the ceremony.

Dionne stated that the post is a large part of the community and his life, as a veteran and resident.

“The Victor I. Rieck Post 351 has been a large part of my life. When I was in sixth grade, I used to work at the post during bingo nights serving coffee and beverages as my first job. The ceremony puts a name to a face for the solider the post is named after. It gives an explanation to the name and who the soldier was, what he did and who the hero was. As a veteran, it holds a special place in my heart, as I have been tied to it for many years. The post is half in Utica and half in Shelby Township,” said Dionne.

Post Commander Dave DeBlauwe commented in a prepared statement that the Victor I. Rieck Post 351 has served the Utica/Shelby Township community for the past 75 years in honor of Rieck’s service and ultimate sacrifice for his country.

For more information, call the Victor I. Rieck American Legion Post 351 at (586) 731-9833.

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