Post 216 History

1944 - Present

More additions will be made upon review and research by the current Post Historian. Pictured on the left shows the present Legion Hall as construction began in 1946

1919 - 1944

The following information was taken from the Ernest F. Oldenburg Post 216, and Auxillary Memories booklet published in 1944. It was reprinted in June 2001 through the courtesy of Post 216 members: Glenn E. Comstock (Past Commander) David H. Burns William J. Foley This booklet was undertaken to preserve a small piece of local history and to pay tribute to the WWI Veterans who were the Charter members of American Legion Post 216. Local service men and women serving during WWII are also listed in this booklet. THE HISTORY In August, 1919, a group of World War I veterans held their first meeting in the local board of Commerce rooms and organized an American Legion Post. The Post was named after Ernest F. Oldenburg (pictured below), a soldier of the 32nd Red Arrow Division who was killed in action in France and who had enlisted from this locality.

The following were the 17 Charter Members of the Post:

Chester W. Arms, Edwin C. Boyle, Perry F. Ellis, Everett B. Strange
Theron R. Arms, Vincent E. Boyle, Chester Hamilton, Edward Thornhill
Harold W. Avery, Harold D. Cole, Albert W. Johnson, Gary N. Watson
D. C. Black, Merle Dustin, Roy S. Pittenger, Frank E. Vincent
Mildred E. Boyle

A Post Service Officer was appointed to give assistance and advice to all ex-servicemen and their families in obtaining their just dues and benefits from the various government agencies and providing emergency aid when necessary-this service has been carried through the years to the present day.

In 1920 the Post gave its first Annual Thanksgiving feather party as a means of raising funds to carry on the service work of the Post. This event is still an annual activity.

In 1921 the Post purchased the G.A.R. Hall from the LeFavor Post No. 181 of the Grand Army of the Republic and took over all the patriotic activities such as the Memorial Day parade and the decoration of graves of veterans of all wars. This is still kept up.

1922 saw the formation of the first Woman's Auxiliary to the Post.

1924: The Legion Post took up the sponsorship of the local Boy Scout Troup N. 33 and has continued this to the present time.

1926, 1927, 1928, 1929: These were all years which saw progress made, Post activities were increased, grave decoration extended to cemeteries in surrounding communities and ceremonies conducted at each of them.

1931: The Post reached a new high in membership and received its first National Citation for distinguished service, many members attended the Legion National Convention held in Detroit.

New Post Colors were presented to the Post by the only woman member, Mildred Boyle, and she was given a life membership in the Post for her fine gesture. The first Poppy Day conducted by the Legion was held in Milford, and annually since. All proceeds of Poppy Days are used for local welfare only.

1936 saw greatly increased activity by members assisting ex-servicemen in filling out the bonus applications, and which were paid during the year. Post membership reached a new high. Memorial Day exercises were extended to the cemeteries at Wixom, Walled Lake, Commerce, and Highland and a big parade staged in Milford

1937: The Post was very active in assisting in relief for the Ohio Valley floods and sent a truck with food and clothing into the area, receiving a Department citation for the work. Flags were presented to all the schools in the Post area by the Post.

1938: This was the year of greatest activity to-date. Entertainment activities were continued and considerable funds raised, the contract on the Legion Hall was paid off and the mortgage burned. Safety signs were placed at approaches to the village, traffic cloaks and hats were presented to the School Safety Patrol. School Award Medals were first provided for the four major schools in the Post areas and have been continued annually since. These awards are for "Americanism." The American Legion's "Wolverine Boys' State" was first started and seven boys were sent from Milford and the Post has continued to send boys to this educational program every year since.

1939: Lake frontage was obtained by the Post at Higgins Lake for cottages for members under the Legion's project.

1940: Post youth activity program was extended, free medical examinations given to all children partaking in any youth activity by the Post's Child Welfare Officer. A stone commemorating the Post was installed in the memorial shaft at the Michigan State Fair Grounds.

1941: A wheel chair and six pairs of crutches were obtained by the Post and held for the use of anyone in the community needing them. The outbreak of World War II started Post members in many of the National Defense activities.

1942: Civilian Defense activities became our main effort during this year. Most of the Post members became members of the various Civilian Defense groups in their own communities, many taking leadership in training programs.

1943: Many new activities were undertaken during the year in aid of the war effort, such as collection of old phonograph records, books, magazines, and other items to send to men in the services. Four members of the post had joined the service again. The Post erected and is maintaining the Community Honor Roll of all entering the armed services from this area.

1944: New projects taken on, the collection of funds and playing cards, support of the Legion's G.I. Bill by sending petitions and telegrams to our Senators and Congressmen. The Honor Roll now contains over 600 names. Many other things are being done toward making our Post an organization that the returning service men and women will want to join. The Legion Hall has been considerably improved, undergoing a complete interior redecoration and is made a much more attractive social center for the entertainment and association of the members and visitors.