The American Legion Post 25 continued planning this week for its 100 years of service celebration on March 23, and while the community waits, more of the post’s history was detailed.
As recently reported, organizers also announced an open house starting at noon on March 23. The open house will be held until the social hour starts at 6 p.m. and will feature several veteran organizations. These organizations — which include the Veterans Service Commission, Honor Flight and possibly even a booth for the Fayette County Honor Guard — will set a table up and explain their organization to guests. Whether it concerns the history of the post or helping veterans find structure in civilian life, these organizations will be on hand to answer questions to the public and veterans in attendance.
Finally, local historian Paul LaRue will be the keynote speaker and former Miami Trace superintendent Dan Roberts will emcee to celebrate the long life of the organization, starting at 7 p.m.
In an effort to celebrate the organization, more history was detailed in research completed by Fayette County Honor Guard member and local veteran, Glenn Rankin.
The next 25 years did not have as much coverage about the post, though it did show a lot from the 1970s, including a few influential people in the organization. A Record-Herald article published on Dec. 7, 1972 details that the post was alive and well, planning what is now known as the Needy Kids Christmas Party. In the article, the creator of the Christmas party — Dr. Charles M. Pfersick — estimated the cost between $2,500 and $3,000.
“The toys and socks, gloves and other gifts were ordered more than two months ago,” the article states. “They will be purchased at cost and, in most cases, at an additional discount because they are for charity. Dr. Pfersick personally made most of the purchases and arranged for a special discount for the clothing purchased with gift certificates.”
Approximately 300 boys and girls ages 6 to 10 were invited to the party, which started immediately after classes were dismissed. The kids were gathered by legionnaires and members of the parent-teacher organizations, and each child received a brand new toy, a pair of gloves, a pair of socks, candy and an orange. Some kids were also given gift certificates for more clothing, as they were selected by nurses and teachers based on their need.
Another influential person mentioned in a correction article was commander Ed Warning. In a March 2, 1973 article, the commander was proud of a recent membership campaign, and in the correction it mentions that the state Legion had set a goal of 402 members for the local post. Though erroneously reported at 43 members, the actual membership was at 430 members.
“Post Commander Ed Warning is justly proud of the accomplishments of the membership campaign,” the article states. “The state Legion had set a goal of 402 for Post 25…It has already been surpassed. Warning set a goal of 500…he feels it can be reached if the many benefits of the American Legion are realized by the unaffiliated veterans in the community.”
Also notable are the “birthday parties” that occurred annually at the American Legion for its members to celebrate the organization’s longevity. A party that drew 150 people for the 55th birthday celebration was held in 1974 and included a cocktail hour, a roast beef dinner and dancing. The featured speaker for that event was Charles R. Green, who was a past Ohio American Legion commander. Information about the annual Buckeye Boys State was shared.
Finally, another article in the 70s showed the post in a bit of legal trouble when they were found guilty of allowing gaming or wagering (specifically a poker game). This left the post without a liquor permit for 35 days following “a raid at the Legion home,” by state liquor agents. Two other charges, sale of liquor to a non-Legion member and possession of gambling devices, were dismissed.
This is the third in a series of four articles detailing the history and celebration of the American Legion Post 25 and briefly covers a portion of the third 25 years (1970’s). Stay with the Record-Herald as coverage continues with an article and photos from the 100 years of service celebration on March 23. The information in this article was provided by research completed by Glenn Rankin.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.