Commander Swift started his administration by getting a crowd of thirty out to church on Armistice Sunday. Whether or not the time or place was productive of any good at least it was a start. Then without waiting for a regular meeting he started plans to put the Post back on it's feet. He called the officers together as an executive committee and outlined certain changes that he needed in the By-laws.
The proposed changes gave the Executive Committee which was composed of the elected and appointed officers practically complete power over the actions of the Post. The adjutant's wife being away from home, Henry appropriated his living room as a convenient headquarters. The telephone company professing to be unable to install a telephone out at Swift's place, he spent an hour of each day using Harold Clarke's telephone. As a result of his activities advertising appeared announcing that a movie benefit at the Dickie Theater would be run for two nights to get funds to donate to the building of a green-house at the Speedway Hospital. Christmas donations were secured thru the commander's unaided efforts and by the time the next regular meeting rolled around things were moving and the membership was told what they could do to help. By the first of January the commander had decided that the Adjutant should really have a telephone. The telephone company was rushed with orders and promised one as soon as possible. The commander lined up all the men he could to call the telephone exchange at least once a day requesting the adjutant's number. The campaign was successful for within a week a telephone was installed.
With a telephone handy and no one to interfere as the adjutant conducted "bachelor's hall" for over a month or more. Commander Swift transferred most of his activities from Clark's Cleaning Shop to the adjutant's home and at the February meeting the Post was told that it would run a three day indoor carnival. Also plans were laid for renaming some of the streets in the Village for those men who had lost their lives in the war. Further plans asked for a memorial in the village and also more effort to make life pleasant for the veterans at the Elgin Hospital. More plans were dumped into the lap of the meeting than the Post had to consider in all of the meetings for the previous two years and Henry had just got started.
The same advertising was used as had been used for the Movie Benefit and everybody failed to note that the money was not for the disabled veterans. The carnival ran for three days and the adjutant had a special booth to catch new members. At the time there were not more than eighteen members but by the time the carnival was over and the profit counted the number had doubled. The Post now had money in it's treasury, a responsible membership, an enthusiastic group at every meeting and Henry turning out plans at the rate of two each week.
For a man who had not been a resident of the village for more than a year, Swift certainly knew plenty about the town. He found out that there hadn't been a Fourth of July celebration in Downers Grove in seventeen years and announced that the Legion would sponsor one at the forest preserve on Maple Ave. and at the same time run games and conduct a dance and a refreshment stand for profit. As usual the inveterate critics said it couldn't be done but when one of them got Henry corralled and started to explain his point of view, Henry became more than a "little 'ard of hearing". He certainly knew how to make use of everything including his physical handicap.
Memorial Day went over in first class fashion with a bigger and better parade under the leadership of Grant Nash. A baseball team from the village furnished Sunday amusement for the people.
Then came the big event of the year, the celebration of the Fourth of July. Under the direction of the finance officer, Tom Schultz, the village was solicited for donations for a fund to buy fireworks and furnish prizes for the parade and athletic events. The public rallied round and the fund ran to near a thousand dollars. A $500.00 fireworks program was contracted and liberal prizes were offered for floats and cars in the parade. Vice-commander Robert Dickson secured the Daily News Boys Band for the occasion for expenses and feed. Everybody worked and worked hard and the three day event was successful. The Post treasury mounted to about a thousand dollars.
In the mean time the commander had arranged for each organization in the village to furnish an entertainment feature for the veterans at the Elgin Hospital. Most of this work was of a personal nature on the part of the commander but before the last of April the men at Elgin were receiving a very pleasant entertainment on the fourth Sunday of each month.
The plans for a Village Memorial were not going so big but things were working toward that end. The Village Commission changed the names of a sufficient number of streets to name one after all of the men who had died in the war.
Throughout the year there was not a meeting that did not see some new plan under way and some project completed. If a man was appointed on a committee and rose to decline the appointment,Henry's physical handicap enabled him to ignore the complaint. Then during the next week or ten days he kept on the committeeman's tail and in the end he did the job. After a few months every man realized that when he was handed a job by the commander the best thing he could do was to carry it through and get it over with.
Armistice Day plans brought about free entertainment and a dance and a change in the election of officers. A nominating committee was selected to present a slate of officers at the next meeting and the election to occur in November and the annual banquet and installation to take place in December. No one liked to remember the banquet of the year before and if there were to be more troubles in selecting a commander it was proposed to do it in private.
As the year ended the membership wondered what they would do the next year as Henry had declared that a man should be commander for only one year. The Armistice Day program went over with a bang and the people were given free entertainment from the veterans whom they had been contributing to for several years. It was something different. That Legion Post was entertaining the people. At the November meeting, chairman Hooper gave a report of the nominating committee: Commander ................ Morris E. Stevenson
1st Vice commander ....... Grant Nash
2nd Vice commander ....... D.L.Beckham
Adjutant ................. T.O.Potter
Finance Officer .......... Tom Schultz
Sgt-at-arms .............. Ben Biener
County delegates ......... O.Griffithe
As the commander had assisted in picking the slate and told the membership that the group would run the Post as it had been run the year before, they were unanimously elected.
At the Annual Banquet the officers were installed and Commander Swift gave his annual report. It was a long document packed full of information. A new departure was also brought about. The individual members who had been made to go to work by Swift had chipped in and bought the best Past Commander's medal they could get to present to him. The Rev. Norwood was present again and he reminded the Post of his remarks of a year previous and congratulated them on what they had accomplished.
It was also announced at this meeting that during the coming year the Post would meet in new quarters. Negotiations had been going on with the Masonic Fraternity. They were building their temple and had said that they were not going to finish some rooms on the third floor. If we would plaster, trim and take care of these rooms, we could have a five year lease on them for free.
We had a thousand dollars on hand and it took most of that to do the job. We had invested $500.00 of our funds in a Temple Bond but we borrowed on that to complete the job. The end of the year found us with membership up from 18 to 72, broke as usual, but with a great deal accomplished, and enthusiastic membership,and pleasant new quarters to move into. Besides we still had Henry on the executive committee and his brain was still going full blast on new plans.