American Legion Post 43 members stood proudly with their heads held high as the flag was raised in celebration of hitting their centennial on June 25.
“It’s kind of a big honor for me because I’ve only been in 10 years and to think that this has been in existence for 100 years and had people that nourished it and brought it along to what it is today is rather amazing,” said Post 43 Commander Don Chasteen.
Post 43 History
It was June of 1919 when 15 Naperville World War I veterans banded together to form a local American Legion post, funded with money from their own pockets.
The application was mailed on June 25, and 10 days later they were issued a charter. Congressman Chauncey W. Reed was the first to lead as commander of 126 charter members.
Now 100 years later, Don Chasteen holds that title and the post is 540 strong.
There are many ups and downs that happen throughout a century, and these recent years reflect that.
“Sadly to say we’ve been losing a lot of older members and younger members are not coming in like we would like to have them come in to keep the post going and keep it active,” said Chasteen.
Presence in the Community
Facing this challenge head on, the group strives to be a presence in the community: co-sponsoring the Memorial Day Parade, awarding scholarships to students, and showing up for sick veterans with visits at the hospital.
“We’re here like many service organizations to support our veterans, our community, our youth, and our active duty military. And that’s why we’re here, that’s why we join, that’s why we participate. We want to protect our freedoms and protect what we have here locally,” said Wayne Fischer, 38-year member of Post 43.
Post 43 Building
Their 100 years of history can be seen at their building on Chicago Ave., which has served as their home base since 1947.
Being a part of the post is a bit of hard work, but it’s what these members love to do.
“I hope the next 100 years will be just as good. I hope we will serve the community and veterans as well the next 100 years as what we’ve done the last 100 years,” said Chasteen.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.
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