In 1930, the only Veterans of Foreign Wars post in DuPage County was in Glen Ellyn. Since the Glen Ellyn post could not accommodate all DuPage County veterans, four comrades decided to form a new post.
Frank Moore, Elmer Taft, Arthur Berbig and Malcolm Seely met at the home of Leon “Mac” McClelland in Lombard. It was there that DuPage Memorial Post 2164 originated. Since quite a few of the comrades lived in Lombard and Wheaton, the decision as to where the post would have its home was a hard one to make. Lengthy discussions ensued, but no decision could be reached. Mac's wife suggested “Why not toss a coin?” The five comrades searched their pockets to no avail. Frank Moore finally found a coin and the toss was made. Wheaton won!
Wheaton was to become the site of a new VFW home and the second in the County of DuPage. Letters went out to VFW Department of Illinois and National Headquarters in an attempt to get a charter for the new post. In June 1931, a long dream finally came true when DuPage Memorial Post 2164 was officially installed.
Memorial Park, then known as the Community House, was the location of the first meeting. A few years later an option was taken on ten acres of land at Papworth and Geneva Roads. The first great test for members came when they were ready to build a new post home.
The members acquired a bank loan for some of the construction materials and they would furnish the labor. Many members worked for the Aurora and Elgin Railroad and they agreed to furnish railroad ties. Post member Robert Burgeson loaned his truck to haul the ties. There was an old stone barn at the corner of Park and Butterfield Roads and the owner donated the stone—but the members had to take the barn apart to get it.
Construction finally began. Friendly cooperation, mutual respect, and individual competence were the essential elements of this teamwork. The work was done on weekends, with wives serving meals and the children helping where they could. This collaboration took one year and the infant post successfully took form.
The photos below show volunteer workers in front of the west end of the building and construction of the east side of the building.
The next ten years were ones of many meetings, parties, dances and activities all held to further the VFW organization. New members helped the post grow and in 1944 the mortgage was paid.
In 1931 there were 70 post members. In 1943 World War II veterans began to join the ranks, swelling the membership to 356 members by 1946. Then in 1950, war clouds gathered once again, this time over Korea, and more veterans joined VFW. In 1956, once again Americans joined to battle in Vietnam and Post 2164 welcomed these veterans as members. Now, the Post welcomes veterans from the Gulf War and soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
There are few survivors from the early days of DuPage Memorial Post 2164. As new members fill our ranks, we will always respect the memory of that loyal and determined group of individuals whose love of country helped create DuPage Memorial Post 2164.
Let us always uphold the obligations of unselfish comradeship as did our comrades before us.