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VFW Post 2223 Celebrating 75 Years of Service 1931 - 2006

The Savanna Times Journal Said It All...

Savanna Times Journal VFW Headlines.

The Shaw Leavens Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2223 celebrated its 75 years of service to the Savanna area veterans with an all day Hog Roast. The full article by Mike Nester, courtesy of the Savanna Times Journal is at the bottom of this page. Below are some photos from the festivities.

Purple Heart awardee Justin Storjohann and Post Commander Todd Swanson.

The guest of honor seen above was Justin Storjohann on the left being welcomed home by our Post Commander Todd Swanson. Justin just returned home from Iraq after receiving a Purple Heart from the Army for wounds received from a roadside bomb. Justin received welcome comments from many of our members during the day.

Some of our members under the shelter.

Some of our members taking advantage of the new shelter built behind the VFW building just in time for the celebration. Seen above is left to right Vicky Bumphrey, Ron Bumphrey, John Ramirez, Senior Vice Commander, Joe Dannels and 3 year trustee, Jared (Jerry) Harder.

Mike, keeper of the tap.

Mike Ramirez our Chaplain made sure that the beer keg didn't go dry for our visitors.

"Fat" Jack's BBQ.

Bruce Mottin our Junior Vice Commander made sure that "Fat" Jack Fosdick did a perfect job at catering the event with his portable cooker as seen behind them.

Pottery demonstration.

We even had a pottery demonstration from Joe Toes out in the parking lot.

VFW decorated for the event.

And of course the Post's lounge was decorated for the occasion as you can see above with Post Commander Todd Swanson smiling after all the preparations for the event finally fell into place.

Article from the Savanna Times Journal, Volume 88 Number 39, September 28, 2006.

By MIKE NESTER (photos below also by Mike Nester)

Shaw Leavens Veterans Foreign Wars Post #2223 will celebrate its 75th birthday with a hog roast starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30.

"We want the public to come by and say hello to all the veterans at the VFW," Commander Todd Swanson said of the celebration. "We would like to see you, and there will also be a historical display with pictures."

Savanna's very own "Fat" Jack Fosdick will prepare Saturdays hog roast. The menu includes baked beans, cole slaw, baked potatoes and an assortment of beverages. Tickets at $6 in advance and $7 at the door, and are available at the club or from post members.

VFW PavilionVFW Post members also be dedicating the pavilion they recently erected to Anna Bell Oswald, a U.S. Army Nurse from 1944-50.

"She was a life. member and left a generous donation that allowed us to pay off our mortgage and build the pavilion," Swanson said of the Savanna woman who died in February 2005. "She was a dedicated veteran and had combat ribbons."

Swanson said a plaque will be placed on the pavilion to commemorate Oswald.

In the summer of 1931, 10 eligible Savanna veterans made a formal application for a charter for Savanna to receive a VFW post.

On Oct. 17, 1931, Savanna Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2223 became official.
Arthur Seiple was the post's first commander and Robert Cassel was the senior vice commander.

The Savanna VFW Post was named after two area veterans who were killed during World War I -- Allan Shaw and Norman Leavens.

Shaw was an Army lieutenant and died on a troop ship on his way back from Russia
in 1919. Leavens was an Army anti-aircraft machine gunner who died during training in, California in October 1918.

Among the first successful events of the newly formed post was the "Night in Paris" entertainment and ball held Feb. 9, 1932. Proceeds from the event were used to purchase colors for the post.

After holding its first few meeting in Law's Hall, the VFW moved its headquarters to the clubhouse on the Mississippi River near Marquette Park.

According to an article in the Times-Journal, "The building was owned by the city and stood vacant for years. The first floor was never enclosed by walls and had become a bat's roost. First came the big cleaning job and repairs and meetings were held on the second floor. Then with the tools of their respective trades, the veterans enclosed the first floor, applied varnish and paint, and continued efforts bringing the neglected utilities and equipment into good order."

In July of 1932, the Savanna VFW had its new home and moved into the old Boat Club.

In May of 1933, the VFW Post held its first Buddy Poppies sales in Savanna.

After spending 45 years on the banks of the Mississippi, tragedy hit the post when three juveniles, who were all charged with arson, burned down the VFW Post. The early morning fire destroyed the VFW and the 90-year old building.

The post then moved to the corner of Fourth and Bowen Streets, where they set up shop for 15 years. In April 1993, the VFW purchased the former Union Building at 409 Main St. and moved in on April 26 1993.

VFW Honor GuardOver the years, Savanna VFW Post #223 has won numerous awards and honors, and has also been named an All American Post.

Among the functions the Savanna VFW and its members perform include the Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, honor guard for funerals, poppy sales, high school scholarships, Voice of Democracy Awards, color guard for parades in Illinois and Iowa, Children's Christmas Party, and Toys for Tots.

The VFW meets the second Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. All eligible veterans are welcome to join and attend the meeting. The club currently has more than 300 members, 225 who are life members.

VFW Ladies AuxiliaryThe Ladies Auxiliary was charted on May 1, 1932, with 10 charter members. Neva Jones, the last charter member, died this year.

The Ladies Auxiliary has 141 members, 52 who are life members. They perform a variety of functions including the annual Easter Egg hunt, participate in parades, help with Poppy sales, assist with funeral dinners and have won several district awards for the annual Poppy Display Contest.

Commander Swanson said the post is currently collecting names and addresses of local residents who are in the armed services that will be used for Christmas cards.


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