Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Saluting Dorchester's Legion Post No. 264

Tomorrow is Veterans Day and the Times wants to salute every veteran who has served our nation, in times of war and in peace.

We also want to pay tribute to Dorchester's August-Vanek American Legion Post #264, the Sons of the American Legion, the Legion Auxiliary and Junior Auxiliary.

Many in our community may not realize that Dorchester's Legion Post is nearing its 96th anniversary.

Following World War I, the veterans of Dorchester wanted to join the American Legion, a national organization for U.S. veterans. State Department Adjutant Frank B. O'Connell of Lincoln presided at the May 24, 1920, meeting to organize a Legion Post in Dorchester. 

The following Dorchester men signed an application for a charter: Claude Kennedy, Frank Mares, William Sanburn, Joe Mateja, Casper Schuerhoff, Frank Grant, Tony Wolfe, Fred Littlefield. Russell Freidell, Frank Kozak, Russell Bruning, Vincent Rogers, Clark West, Cecil Ward, John Cerny, William Johnson, Nels Hansen,Walter Hartly, Albert Peterson, and Ray Ward. 

The charter was presented on August 1, 1920 and filed August 10. 1920. Dr. N.P. Hansen was the first Commander of the Post of the American Legion #264.  The name August was selected for the Post in honor of Ernest R. August who was killed in W.W.I. 

In those early years, the Dorchester Legion was housed in a few different locations.  In 1954, the Post bought a building from W.O. Howlett. This building was remodeled for the use of the Legion. the Auxiliary and also club facilities and dedicated on March 23. 1956. It is still the present Post. 

In January 1955 the Post added another nnme "Vanek" to their Post name honoring Emil Vanek killed in action in the Pacific theatre of action in W.W.II. 

Legion activities throughout the years have been a key part of community life in Dorchester.  Way back in 1922, there was a Model-T Ford raffle drawing.  

In the 1930s and '40s, the Legion held home talent plays.  Legion members built a cabin for the Scouts on the Kenney farm in the '30s.  In 1933, lights and light poles were purchased and erected north of the elevator for all types of softball league games and tournaments.  

By the 1950s and '60s, the Dorchester Legion was sponsoring representatives to attend Boys State -- and later on, Girls State. 

Many community activities have been and are sponsored by the Legion, and its Auxiliary, to serve veterans in need and in final rites for the deceased. 

Ninety-five years have proven that the stronger our American Legion Post, the stronger our community.

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