Robert Bethel American Legion Post 220 remembering our soldiers
Family members of Sgt. Kenneth Lesesne l-r: Granddaughters Patricia Lesesne, Katie Lesesne (holding photo of grandfather Sgt. Kenneth Louis Lesesne) and daughter Mary Lesesne. Far right back row is Curtis Hodge, one of Sgt. Lesesne’s best friends.
Early in the morning on this past Memorial Day, members of The Robert Bethel American Legion Post 220 (a veteran support group) rose, dressed out, and headed to area cemeteries to perform graveside services in honor of local men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
At Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery a local landmark on Northwest 19th Street and 31st Avenue where the beloved of countless residents of Broward County are buried-the Legion performed a service in honor of Sgt. Kenneth Louis Lesesne (Feb. 19, 1946- Sept. 28, 1977).
Leading the service was American Legion member, Curtis Hodge, one of Sgt. Lesesne’s best friends.
During the service, Hodge told the story of how he and Sgt. Lesesne were students at
Broward Community College (now Broward College) when the Draft was instituted.
According to Hodge, a military recruiter, visiting the campus advised them to join together and they will be allowed to serve together. However, that did not turn out to be the case. Hodge recalled that when they arrived at the Draft office in Coral Gables, a gentleman lined them up, pointed to one and said, “Army.” Then pointing to the others he called out, “Navy, Marines”.
He proceeded down the line this way, and since Hodge and Sgt. Lesesne were standing next to each other in line, they were assigned to different branches. Sgt. Lesesne enlisted in the Marines and Hodge in the Army.
Both men rendered honorable service during the Vietnam War, and they remained close friends during this time, as well as after they both returned to Fort Lauderdale from the war.
Sadly, Sgt. Lesesne died in a car accident on Las Olas Boulevard in 1977.
Hodge’s wife, Angelita, also a good friend of Sgt. Lesesne’s was present at the service, as
well as his sister, Mary Lesesne, a retired Broward County Public Schools social worker, his daughters, Katie Lesesne, a local professional in the mortgage restructuring industry, and Patricia Lesesne, a District Supervisor for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
His mother, Katie Davis Lesesne, father, James H. Lesesne, Sr. and stepson, Joel Timmons, are buried nearby.
Robert Bethel American Legion Post 220 performs these and other veterans and community services annually. They have been in existence since 1947 and they are accepting new members. They also have a newly installed ladies Auxiliary Unit, located 1455 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33311 or email Robbethel1220@comcast.net