1873 - 1973

A glimpse into the past...


Conceived in France at the close of World War I as a means of providing diversion and recreation for soldiers no longer needed in military service, the tentative organization of the American Legion quickly spread to America. Thus they hoped to perpetuate in times of peace the comradship and co-operation which had developed and became so vital in the lives of service men during war days.

During the early history of the American Legion, its first problem was that of rehabilitation. After this was taken care of, needs of adjusted compensation, endowment, child welfare, education, etc., presented themselves. Later community service has been the center of Legion interest. This has become to be known as the "Iowa Idea."

The first meeting as a temporary organization was held in the Cirque de Paris, in Paris, France, March 15, 16, 1919.

The first meeting held in the United States was in St. Louis, Mo., May 8, 9, 10, 1919.

All persons who were in the military or naval service of the United States from April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918, were to be eligible to membership as well as those who served in a like capacity for any Government associated with the United States during the World War if they were citizens of the United States at the time of enlistment and at time of application for membership. Persons dishonorably discharged and conscientious objectors were ineligible.

After the first meeting in St. Louis different state organizations were formed. The first Iowa State meeting was held September 4, 5, 1919. Thus the Iowa Department of the American Legion was perfected.

The local units or "Posts" were to be numbered in order as their applications were received at the State Office in Des Moines. Spencer was successful in receiving No. 1.

Keota American Legion organized January 27, 1920.



A meeting was held in the K of P Hall on January 27, 1920, to organize a Legion Post. Capt. C. J. Lambert, an attorney from Sigourney, came down to instruct us as to securing a charter. He appointed Dr. R. R. Miller as temporary chairman who then appointed temporary officers, who then voted on permanent ones. Carl Richardson was voted Commander, Dr. R. R. Miller, Vice Commander, and Walter Ramsey, Adjutant. The year 1920, the Legion had 65 members. Through the following years the membership would vary from 40 to 90 owing to how hard the officers would get out and work. Through the year the Legion had numerous meeting places and in moving around a great many of the records were lost. We can remember six different locations they used as meeting places. The members didn't usually come for business meetings, they came for the social gathering. It was a real democratic organization and every member could have his say. They usually changed officers every year, which made it rather confusing. It was proposed that the Adjutant and Treasurer stay on year after year, so you had some semblance of order. However, they always had a new Commander every year, if possible, and he was what some would say---"the fall guy." Some groups would spend rather wildly and the next group would have to replenish the treasury. In 1949 the Legion purchased the large hall above Valenta's Store. It formerly was the old Masonic Hall. It was a nice hall and in pretty good shape. It had good oak floors, a large front room and some storage places so it could be used for all kinds of meetings. It made a beautiful ballroom and was rented for many dances. They bought a lot of new furniture, including tables, chairs and booths along the west side. They put on many fish fries. The boys finally bought a large bar and placed it in the front room. Then they secured a liquor license and beer permit. It was to be used for only one day a week and had to be supervised every time it was used. Some of the older members didn't approve, but they are now used to it. The bar was placed in the front room with the kitchen on the west side, which left a door into the large room without going through the bar part.

Through the years the Legion conducted many military funerals. The Post was well known for maintaining an excellent firing squad and Keota was well known for the beautiful Memorial Day services. After World War I the Legion used to go to all the small outlying cemeteries and conduct services. It was finally decided to conduct all the services in the local cemetery, using the roll call system. They formed a large circle in the center of the cemetery and would place a wreath for each veteran and also a flag for each one as each name was called. They were assisted in this ceremony by the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, W.R.C.'s, Rebekahs and Legion Auxiliary members. It was always arranged to have the local band, a speaker and several other selections . When the program was completed, taps would be played. It was a very impressive ceremony.

Through the years, the Legion put on or cooperated with others to put on many celebrations. Some say probably the largest crowd was in August 1927, when the Legion sponsored a rodeo in a field west of town that belonged to Singmasters. The Legion also sponsored many shows and also maintained a trap shooting grounds. Many trap shoots were held and were very successful. The year the boys sponsored a bake sale, when Doc McNurlen, former real estate dealer and auctioneer, who was living in Florida, saw the ad in the Keota Eagle, he sent the Legion a check for $25.00 and that ended the bake sale business. The Legion sponsored a three-day celebration in 1935 and used the third day to honor Gen. Edw. A. Kreger, who was raised in this community. The celebration was very successful with huge crowds. General Kreger maintained his membership in the local Post until his death. The present officers of the Legion are as follows:

Commander: Victor Tinnes; Adjutant: Forrest Tucker; Finance Officer: Willie Deitz; Service Officer: Milton Lawson.



A glimpse into the past...

These are the names of men who were in the Armed Forces during World War I and are charter members of Blythin-Sheets Post 424, American Legion, Keota, Iowa.

Robert Miller
Oscar Axthelm
Raymond Ralston
Wm. C. Richardson
John V. Mayer
Frank Lillig
Everett Vincent
Wm. C. Peiffer
James A. Buck
E. G. Warrington
Wm. J. Bermel
G. I. England
Troy M. Sellman
James F. Embree
George W. Mayer
A. G Richardson
Walter S. Ramsey
Charles E. Campbell

Roscoe H. Teets
Harry B. Morris
Neil J. Gammon
Austin L. Richardson
Elmer K. Lovekamp
Leo J. Flander
Wm. C. Buch
Anton Bohrofen
W. S. Dunning
A. A. Sellman
F. F. Rowe
D. E. Leinen
J. E. Leinen
Logan Kite
H. C. Teets
Alex Gillies
C. F. Holmes
Major General Edward A. Kreger

March 4, 1920. First place of meeting — K. of P. Hall. The town's offer of the town hall accepted as a meeting place until a regular post hall is secured.

1924. Legion Club Rooms located in Commercial Hotel.

March 11, 1926. Martin Hall selected as Legion meeting place and rented for the year.

April 19, 1926. Wrestling Match. Boxing matches by Donald Holmes and Hugh Pulver. 250 people attended the match.

December 11, 1930. Legion voted to move quarters from over McNurien Real Estate Office to room over Dawson's Cafe.

January 18, 1932. A special meeting of the Legion for the purpose of purchasing the George Stewart property on West Broadway to be improved and used as a Legion Hall.

February 25, 1932. First meeting in new hall.

October 13, 1932. Legion offers use of hall for the National Election November 8.

April 23, 1936. The War Memorial — a 4.7 gun from the Rock Island Arsenal placed in front of hall.



World War I Veterans Getting the Towns' Xmas Tree in Place.
Left to Right, Neil Gammon (in car), Dr. H. B. Morris in front of Model T
Ford, Sim Teets, John Buck , Oscar Axtelm, Jake Anderson, Harold
McJunkins, Anton Bohrofen, Bill Peiffer, Everett (Chub) Leinen,
Dick Embree, Willard Teets, Whitey Sellman, Clark Teets.
Date unknown.



A glimpse into the past...


Keota Post No. 4716

Some 35 to 40 ex-servicemen met at Houck's Hall October 15, 1945, in the interest of organizing a Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Keota. The meeting was addressed by E. R. Burham, first district judge advocate, and Jesse W. Radda, department deputy inspector of the V.F.W., both of the Washington Post. They explained the history and purpose of the organization and the meeting was an enthusiastic one. The veterans were impressed by the fact that the V.F.W. is the only veterans organization which maintains a National Home. At this home for widows and orphans, the organization attempts to provide the environment of a typical American home for as many children as available facilities will permit.

Any officer or enlisted man who had served his country overseas was eligible to membership under dates specified by Veteran of Foreign Wars rules and regulations.

Thirty-three men eligible to membership signed an application for a post charter. These men were known as charter members of the Keota Post. However the charter was to be held open for 90 days, giving everyone who wanted to become a charter member an opportunity to do so.

More than 60 had made application for membership and a class of 50 received the degree work at Houck's Hall on November 5, 1945. In a short time there were 159 members.

Original Post officers were: Commander, Wm. C. Peiffer; Senior Vice Commander, Richard Lyle; Junior Vice Commander, Gale Denton; Quartermaster, John Dupuis; Post Advocate, B. J. Byrne; Chaplain, Ivo Berg; Surgeon, G. E. Montgomery, M. D. Trustees: For 1 year—Kenneth Holmes; For 2 years—Aubrey See; For 3 years—Clark Teets.

August 22, 1946. Keota Post No. 4716 Veterans of Foreign Wars bought the two story brick building on West Central Broadway, known as the Dr. Walker building.

V.F.W. Officers in 1973: Commander, Daryl Baughman; Sr. Vice Commander, Paul Monahan; Jr. Vice Commander, Paul Hammes; Quartermaster, F. E. Lyle ; Adjutant, W. W. Smith; Advocate, B. J. Byrne; Chaplain, Wayne Seitsinger; Patriotic Instructor, Kenneth Brenneman; Service Officer, Milt Lawson.


The Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Keota Post 4716 was organized at Houck's Hall, Keota, Iowa, on March 5, 1946, with Department President Hedwig Olson and Department Chief of Staff Gretchen Nicholas in charge of installation. Eight women were received into this original membership with seven elected and installed into the following officers: President, Eleanor Miller; Senior Vice-President, Frona Cady; Junior Vice-President, Leola Monaghan; Treasurer, Estella Kitzman; Chaplain, Anna Malley; Conductress, Julia Cady; and Guard, Elma Romoser.

On April 4, 1946, the second meeting of the Auxiliary witnessed the reception into membership of 32 women and the addition of 11 officers to complete the roster. May 24 the charter closed with 63 members.

The following June Keota Auxiliary won first place at Department Encampment, Sioux City, for the highest percentage gain in membership in the state of Iowa. This was followed by a similar award at National Encampment, Boston, Massachusetts, the prize being a Life membership in the National Home at Eaton Rapids, Michigan.

Following the Post's purchase of an organization home the Auxiliary was provided to share its use and held the first meeting in the new hall on February 7, 1947.

A Daughters Unit to Keota Auxiliary of Post 4716 was organized May 25, 1947, with 17 girls received into charter membership. This Junior Auxiliary has since been disbanded.

March 27, 1930. The American Legion boys are ordering the standard Legion cap. It is a blue cloth cap patterned closely after the overseas cap, with gold colored border, the Legion emblem, Post number and state name on the sides. Many of the Legionnaires have grown portly since being in service and can no longer wear their uniforms. For occasions when Legionnaires appear in public, the caps may be worn to identify members not in uniform.

June 2, 1932. At the Memorial Day Service held at the Methodist Church, present were G. B. McDonald, veteran of the Indian Wars, and J. F. Embree of Washington, formerly of Keota, a Civil War Veteran.


October 3, 1968. Major Frank Bonnarens was killed September 19 in Viet Nam. He was born February 11, 1932, near Keota, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Bonnarens.


April 24, 1969. LaVerne Greiner, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Mike Greiner, was a crew member of a reconnaissance plane shot down over the Sea of Japan.

Mr. Greiner was an aviation electronics specialist who had served in the Navy for 13 years. He had been assigned to the naval base at Atsugi, Japan. He is survived by 11 brothers and sisters.


June 5, 1969. Pfc. Thomas Allen Nebel, age 20, of Keota died May 28, 1969, at a hospital in Japan of wounds suffered May 14 in Viet Nam, where he had been serving since April 26, 1969. He entered the service in October of 1968 and received his basic training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana.

He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Nebel, and three brothers.

Services were held at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Wellman June 5, 1969 with interment at Wayland.

An honor guard from Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, conducted military services at the graveside.



A glimpse into the past...

War Bond Drive 1
War Bond Drive

August 21, 1919. Keokuk County has 38 Gold Stars and Keota has four—namely—Leslie Woolums, Harry Sheets, Leon Reed and Earl Blythin. Each soldier will be represented by a gold star on the County Service Flag.


October 16, 1919

"Presented by the people of Keota, Iowa, in grateful recognition of patriotic service in the World War," is the inscription on the reverse side of the medal that everyone of the community's service men is to receive , a facsimile of which we reproduce. The medal is bronze, the pendant being of cross-shape, suspended by an inch of vari-colored ribbon from the pin. Its appearance is striking, and it is commonly conceded to be as fine looking a medal as anyone could wish for.

The medals, which were purchased out of the home-coming fund, raised by the Commercial Club, are being presented by Rev. C.F. Hoffman, who is calling in person on those of our 140-odd service men who are still in Keota. To those who are absent, the medals will be mailed or they will be accepted in their name by a member of their family.

Service Medal

American Legion Auxiliary Post.

The Legion Auxiliary Post was organized in Keota September 15, 1922, with 16 Keota ladies on the charter roll. Officers elected were President, Mrs. C. C. Lemon; VicePresident, Mrs. R. E. Ralston; Secy'., Miss Cora Schollenberger; Treasurer, Mrs. Maude Teets. The first Monday in each month was decided upon as regular meeting. Dues were 75¢ per year. Membership was limited to the mothers, wives, daughters and sisters of the members of the Legion.

Another post was organized on December 27, 1935, with 13 original charter members. Application for a charter was made at that time but due to the delay in receiving it, eight more names were added to it before its closing.

Mrs. Willa Freshwaters was elected the first president; Mrs. W. C. Richardson, Vice-President; Mrs. B. J . Byrne, Secretary; Mrs. Troy Sellman, Treasurer; Mrs. F. O. Pershing, Chaplain; Mrs. Lennie Sellman, Sergeant at Arms; Mrs. H. K. Stewart, Historian. The group met once a month at 2:30 on the afternoon of the first Monday at the Legion Building. Annual dues $1.50 per year.

In recognition for services rendered, the Keota Unit received in 1944-45 a citation for Meritorious Service from the Iowa Department of A. L. A.

After the close of the war the local unit placed in the town library 12 books, in memory of the boys who gave their lives during World War II.

During the year of 1942-43 under the presidency of Mrs. Willa Freshwaters, a membership drive was put on, at which time the membership was more than doubled, reaching 51, and for which the Keota Unit received a trophy from the Iowa Department.

In 1947-48 the Unit President was Mrs. Mabel Ochs and there were 56 members.

About 1957 this organization disbanded.

The approximate number of World War II servicemen from the Keota area number 538.

(Died in Service)

Pickering, S l/c Leon

Pickering, Pfc. William R.

Sondag, S/Sgt. Willis

Malley, Sgt. Lester R.

Monaghan, Pfc. Thomas Francis

Romine, Pfc. Ralph Arden

Brown, S/Sgt, John O.

Richardson, T/Sgt. Russell E.

Hammen, Cpl. Charles

Fladung, Pfc. Donald R.

Redlinger, Pvt. Alvin A.

Bridges, T/5 Clarence D.

Berg, Pvt. Cletus J.

Huber, Pfc. David F.M.C.

Weaver, Pvt. Floyd G.

Carris, Major Gerald R.

Tinnes, F/O Lester W.

Alquist, Cpl. Wayne



A glimpse into the past...


December 2, 1943. Construction began this week on the honor roll display structure for the boys and girls of World War II of the Keota trading territory. It is to be erected on the American Legion's vacant lot just east of its building on west central Broadway. R. H. Yoder is in charge of construction and a Fairfield expert on design and lettering will have general charge.

It is expected the honor roll will cost about $650 but it is hoped by those in charge to raise even more than that so an endowment fund may be invested to provide for future maintenance. Up to the present time donations are being accepted only from fathers of those in service. About $500 is on hand. The committee in charge is composed of F. A. Klein, Jake Conrad, Leo Malley, Lee Henry, Roy Funston, John Wehr, John Altenhofen, Nick Berg and probably others.

The structure will be about 10 feet high, 10 feet wide and will set about 15 feet north of the sidewalk. It will be electrically lighted. This fine new permanent Service Board and Honor Roll was dedicated August 15, 1944. Between 2,000 and 3,000 people attended the dedication. It is said to be as nice as any in the nation.

Service Memorial
Memorial for the war dead erected in the park by
American Legion Post and V.F.W. Post. 1955

Honor Roll



A glimpse into the past...

Rising Generation - 1890's
The rising generation of the gay 90's.

Gathering of Cronies
These old cronies used to hold informal conferences in front of the Keota depot. The club has "adjourned."

Rodeo Boosters
Believed to be Pete Carr Rodeo boosters sponsored by American Legion. Rodeo held at C. A. Singmaster Ranch, 1927.

Hopewell School
Hopewell School, 76 Township, Washington County on road formerly known as the "White Way". School organized March 5, 1866, however this picture isn't that old.
Picnic at River
A picnic at the river.

High School Play High School Play in the 1890's. Left to right, ? Cady, James Ralston, Clark Wright, Wm. Hotchkiss
and Ray Carris.



A glimpse into the past...

W. E. Tucker
W. E. Tucker and his "high-wheeler". Father of
Forrest Tucker and the late Mrs. Lorcy Lyle.

Plane Ride
Mrs. Lorcy Tucker, 83 , has first airplane ride. She and her great-granddaughter, Eleanor Lyle, 11, went up with Pilot Eddie Peiffer. Mrs. Tucker held a record of knitting 35 sweaters, 20 pairs of socks and 12 helmets made for the Red Cross during World War I.

C. W. A. Ladies Collecting Pay
Several crews of Keota C.W.A. employees assembled at the town hall and E. E. Neal made flashlight pictures of them gathered about Mayor Brown with the payroll spread out before him. Some looking at their checks others awaiting their turn to sign the payroll sheet.

Lunch for Barn Raising
Lunch for barn raising crew.


TE Peiffer
Capt. T. E. Peiffer Pilot
P. 63 W.W. II fighter being delivered to the Russians.
Small armor firing cannon fired through prop shaft.
Used to stop German tanks.


Keota Businessmen
Date Unknown
Group of Keota business men. L to R - unidentified,
S. S. Wright, John Hamilton, ? , Dudley Crone, Ed Kirkpatrick, ? , Jim White, A. C. "Doc" McNurlen.



Herr Supply ad



A glimpse into the past...


June 13, 1876. The Keota Cornet Band has been organized.

March 11, 1892. Keota has a brass band called the "Big Six."

March 9, 1894. A musician's club was organized in Keota with initial membership of eighteen. The object of the club is the advancement and bettering of our town's musical culture, with a social end in view, also.

May 1, 1894. On May 8th at the Opera House, the Keota Military Band will give a concert. Some of our city's best readers will assist. The band will render an entirely different style of music from any produced here.

March 5, 1897. (Keota's celebrated orchestra). The Keota Orchestra is said to be the finest in this part of the state.

June 6, 1901. The Citizen's Band of Keota will hold its first open air concert of the season under direction of Prof. J.M. Gallagher. We trust this will be the beginning of a series of concerts.

A band stand has been erected over the boardwalk at Gardner's barber shop and it will be the scene of the Saturday night concerts.

December 26, 1901. Wolter's boy band is coming along rapidly. Several new instruments were received last week.

January 23, 1902. A band concert by the Citizen's Band of Keota will be presented at the Keota Opera House January 20, 1902, under the direction of M.H. Wolter.

July 31, 1902. Robert Grimes composed a quick step, named it the "Keota" and dedicated it to the Keota Band. The boys played it at a Harper Carnival Saturday and they consider it one of the best marches they have. It is a very brilliant composition, of the tuneful sort, with good harmony and plenty of work for all the instrumentation. Clarion's band (county seat of Wright Co.) has played it several times and urged Bob to have it published. It's a dandy and the Citizen's Band will play it for Keota folks at this Saturday night's concert.

December 24, 1904. Keota Talent. Keota talent to the fore: Clevan E. Long, Miss Kate Glover and Miss Ruby Hulse will appear in Kalona and Riverside with their program of chalk talking, music and reading which so pleased Keota people.

August 17, 1905. The boys of the Citizen's Band have induced E.A. Hulse to take charge of the band for a year. They elected the following officers: President, E.C. Gilbert; Vice-President, F.W. Fish; Secretary, J. Raymond Warrington; Treasurer, L. Elmer Hulse; Director, E.A Hulse. A portable band stand has been built for Saturday night.

April 12, 1906. The band boys have ordered shiny blue uniforms with brass buttons. The expense is borne by each individual member.

October 4, 1906. The Keota Koncert Band is one of the best amateur bands in this part of the state.

January 23, 1908. Prof. O.W. Glass has organized a "kid band," with some fifteen members in it. It is composed of little fellows who have studied under him and a few of the biggest kids of the old band. The youngest member of the "kid band" is eight years old.

March 17. The Keota Koncert Band under the auspices of the Union Lecture Course will give a concert at the M.E. Church March 26 at 8 p.m.

January 28, 1916. Band Re-organized . Keota is to have a band and they are naming the organization "The Keota Koncert Band," the same name the old band had before it disbanded. At present there are 15 members enrolled and they welcome more members. Some new instruments and music will be purchased.

June 1, 1916. The band made its first public appearance in its new uniforms in the Decoration Day Parade and when the band gets so it can play as good as it looks in this handsome uniform it will be a fine band.

September 21, 1922. DRUM CORPS. The Pulver Drum Corps is to play in Des Moines at the National G.A.R. encampment to be held there. It was a famous organization of Civil War Days and was formed in Mansfield, Ohio, in 1861, and includes three of I.P. Pulver's brothers and one nephew. Six of the original group will be in Des Moines and play in the drum corps. They are I.L. Pulver, L.K. Pulver of Oakville, Iowa, A B. Pulver, Clark Pulver Sr., Sam Spayd and V.F. Mathews, all of Mansfield, Ohio. In addition to these there will be Clayton Pulver and H. Spayd of Mansfield, Clark Pulver Jr., Harold Teets and J.L. Banks from Keota. They were all taught the same beat, the same rhythm and they have passed it on to new members of the group.

October 5, 1922. DRUM CORPS. The Pulver Drum Corps gave an hour's concert which began with a march down Broadway and led to the bandstand where they made good martial music until the Keota band was ready to give their concert.

A.C. McNurlen introduced the members, after which Mr. Sam Spayd, the oldest member of the corps and their teacher, favored the audience with "The Long Roll" of the snare drummer.

In 1932 Pulver's Martial Band was composed of Clark Pulver, Jim and Harve Banks, Chalmers Sturgeon, Harold Teets and LeRoy Richardson.

September 1, 1938. An outstanding military feature of the Legion parade at the State Convention was "the biggest little drum corps in Iowa." Members are A.L. Richardson , R.H. Teets, Harry Thompson, Rodney Arnold and E.C. Pulver. This drum corps had its beginning in Civil War days when I.L. Pulver (father of E.C.) enlisted in the Union Army at age 16 as a drummer boy. He drummed his way through the Civil War and after his discharge organized the "Pulver Drum Corps" with brothers and other comrades as members. When death thinned the ranks, his sons and nephews filled the vacant spots. The drum corps was a tradition in Keota until I.L. Pulver died. Since then his son E.C. Pulver has carried on and has always adhered to what is known as "rudimental drumming," a technique handed down from father to son and vital to the best corps drumming.



A glimpse into the past...

Keota Cornet Band
Keota's first band, 1876 "The Keota Cornet Band." Back row, left to right Ben Volloquardsen, George Stewart, Frank Glover, Mitchell Resler, Brice Norton, E. J. Ramsey, Frank Sprague, H. D. Williams. Front row left to right, Frank Flower, leader, Ed. Mitchell, Will Daiber, Walter Gillett, Marvin Pringle.
No date given. Ed. Gilbert, Dick Walker, Ward Dameron, J.A.L. Schreckengast, L. E. Hulse, Ed. Hulse, June Fish, Will Anderson, LeRoy Richardson, Everett Hulse, Roy Warrington, Leo Varner, Bruce Sheriff, Harry Helscher, Arthur Clendenning, Jasper Wilkins, Leo Richardson, Gail Williams, James Adams. Homer Smith.
1893 Band
Band of 1893. Bottom row left to right, Alfred Martin, Elmer Hulse, Aut Richardson, Webber Palmer, John Leinen, Sherman Daugherty. Back row left to right, Will Anderson, Frank Pringle, Robert Grimes, Bartlett Gregory, Elmer Erdice, Ed. Hulse, Ed. Carris, Willard Tufts, Herman Seydel, Willard DeYoe.
1909 Band
1909. Back Row, left to right. LeRoy Richardson, Dick Walker, Art Clendenning, Elmer Hulse, Ora Glass, Jas. Adams, George Williams, John Linder, George Banford. Middle Row, Left to right, Logan Schreckengast, Bill Anderson, Lloyd Fry, George Lyle, Gail Williams, Minard Hulse, Harold Page, Ray Armstrong, Leo Varner. Seated on floor left to right Harold Teets, Milford Schrader, Leo Richardson, Everett Hulse, June Fish, Don Mulhern.



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