By Sterling McGinn
The 2023 Patriot Game, held on Friday, August 25, was the perfect setting to honor a U.S. Army veteran and longtime Legionnaire.
Newberry resident Robert “Bud” Grubba is now going on 30 years of service to the Newberry American Legion Post 74 color guard. His presence at all home football games and many of the home basketball games has not gone unnoticed.
His fellow members presented him with a certificate commemorating his years of service just prior to the singing of the National Anthem at the Patriot Game between Newberry High School and Brimley High School.
“I was really surprised,” said Grubba. “It was an honor and I never expected it.”
Though he is no longer able to march in parades, Grubba fills in as a rifle bearer when needed at basketball games and football games, and normally raises the American Flag at the football field with Luce County Veteran Service Officer Rick Minard.
The American Legion Post 74 has been “Presenting the Colors” at home football games for decades and their presentations date back to the 1949-51 Newberry High School unbeaten football era. Presenting the colors at home basketball games began about six years ago.
Not only is he a member of the color guard, Grubba is a longstanding member of the Legion rifle squad, which fires three rounds of rifle volleys at military funerals as a final salute to the deceased veteran.
Grubba came to the area with his parents and sisters in the 1950s and he graduated from Newberry High School in 1963. He was later employed at the Newberry State Hospital.
“When they decided to close the State Hospital, I became active in the American Legion,” Grubba said. “I had been a member of the Legion before…most of the time, I worked afternoons as a supervisor and couldn’t commit to being active with the Legion.”
Grubba served five terms as commander of the American Legion in Newberry and also served as the adjutant and first and second vice commander over the years. He was also employed by the Legion as the club manager for 26 years. He was also awarded a life membership with the post.
Grubba and his late wife, Gloria, had two boys: Robert “Buddy” and the late Brett Grubba.