With World War two over and many new members to Post 80 and the neighboring Posts, a new era will begin for the American Legion.
It is the fall of 1945, Lou Edwards is the choice for commander. Lou has been a go getter since he first joined the Post back in 1932. His experience had stood him a good stead, for he was destined to be in for a very busy year. Several of his new officers were War Two veterans, Adjutant Harvey Kenitz, Sgt-At-Arms Al Spleers, Publications Lou Toupence, Refreshments Hubert Carpenter, Blood Donor Corps Du Birl and car raffle Sam Miskelly. There was a joint installation held at the Masonic Temple. The banquet was handled by women of The Eastern Star. The customary Armistice Day fell on a Sunday. After the ceremony at the Flag Pole at Main and Burlington members went to the service at the First Baptist Church
Eighty-two framed photographs showing every group of draftees that left the Village of Downers Grove during WAR TWO were presented to the Post by the local Draft Board. The photographs were taken by Paul Puckorius of the Downers Grove Photo Studio. They picture more than 2000 service men from this community, and will be preserved by Post 80 for posterity in our Legion Hall.
A number of parties were held on Saturday evenings during the winter months for the WAR TWO veterans, their wives and or girl friends. These were held in the Legion Hall. A big stag party was given by the Post in December 1945 for the WAR TWO veterans. About 225 veterans enjoyed this party. The membership increase this year may be attributed t the excellent work of the membership committee headed by Tommy Lanagan.Regular business and social meetings were held every month through out the year. At the April 17, 1946 meeting Roger Hornsby, nationally known baseball star was our guest. A fitting tribute was paid to the dead of all past wars on Memorial Day with a parade from the Legion Hall to the High School, where an impressive ceremony climaxed by a fifteen minute program broadcast by radio station WMRO. The High School gymnasium was filled for this program, which opened with patriotic selections by the High School Band.
Following an address by Past Commander and now Mayor Fishel, the traditional G A R Memorial Day Ritual was held. The principal address was given by Col. Breckinridge of the Veteran's Administration As part of this ceremony, the Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously to Fredrick Faulkner Lester, U.S.M.C., son of member Fred W. Lester. The citation was read by Admiral Conklin, United States Navy. Eight Downers Grove men in World War One and more than forty thus far in World War Two have paid the Supreme Sacrifice.
The annual carnival ran from July 2 to 6, 1946. It was estimated that over 1000 persons visited the grounds on July 4th. First prize for floats went to Jobs Daughters and second prize went to the Fairview Pharmacy. The Chrysler sedan was won by BJ McShane of Joliet and second prize a $500.00 deep freeze went to C. Riggsbe of Downers Grove. Third prize went to A Brook of Hinsdale. Races and other contests were held after the parade at the Forest Preserve. The carnival was the most successful financially thus far netting over $11,000.00.
Boys State was held June 23 to 30,1946 with enrollment limited to 450 due to lack of facilities. Post 80 sent Billy Holmes who had been scheduled at attend in 1945. Due to travel restrictions last year Boys State was cancelled.
The Post Initiation Team has been very active at home and in the neighboring Posts during the year. Their ceremony has been enhanced by the addition of a lighted Legion Emblem arranged so the specific sections may be turned on as the emblem is described during the ceremony. ( still in use in 2017) Thirteen ceremonies were performed for a total of 284 new members within local Posts. Service Officer, Gene Weaver handled over 400 cases for veterans. 170 World War Two veterans got help with forms so they could return to school. 21 needed disability claims and 7 needed hospitalization. Financial aid was given when necessary. A total of $450.00 was spent for service work and $55.00 was given to the GIFTS FOR YANKS PROGRAM. A supply of new Legion Caps was kept on hand for the new members who wished to purchase them. On June 2,1946 the Post and Unit 80 held a picnic for the Lisle Orphanage.
William Palmer presented the Post with a Japanese machine gun which he personally carried all the way back from the Pacific Front. The Honor Roll Board on Main Street was brought up to date and completely repainted. Arrangements were made with the Village Council to install flood lights on the Board.The Auxiliary took care of the flowers around the Board. A photograph was taken and placed on a wall in the Post.
Walter J. Staats, Chairman of the organizers of Post 80 and our first commander died on April 12, 1946. He had been a resident of Downers Grove since 1897.
Post 80 had a most successful year and at the annual election, elected Tommy Lanagan to be our next commander.