HISTORY OF VAN VEEN – VAN HEMERT POST 89
On Thursday evening May 29, 1919, about fifty soldiers and sailors who had recently returned home from the World War, met in the Chamber of Commerce room to take the first steps toward the formation of a local Post of the American Legion.
The meeting was called to order by Albert J. Stowe, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce who had been asked by the State Headquarters to supervise the organization of Legion Posts in Marion County. After Mr. Stowe’s explanation of the purpose of the American Legion and what it expected to accomplish it was decided to form a committee to collect further information regarding the formation of a permanent organization. With this in view, William A. Young was elected temporary chairman and Albert J. Stowe temporary secretary, with an executive committee composed of Mark D. McWilliams, Carl F. Aschenbrenner, Ben Kuyk, Rube Brand and Tunis Kempkes.
After the committee received more instructions, a second general meeting was called for Thursday evening June 19, 1919. At this meeting the application for a charter was signed by all that were present, the name “Gold Star Post” was selected and a formal election of the first officers was held.
According to a ruling made by National Headquarters all service men enrolling in the Legion before November 11, 1919 would be classed as Charter Members.
The first Officers elected to the “Gold Star Post” were as follows
Commander – D. C. Van Zante
Vice Commander – Edward Donai
Adjutant – Joe Porter
Finance Officer – Watson Vander Ploeg
Historian – Rube Brand
Chaplain – William Van Sittert
For some time it had been felt among members of the Post that the name “Gold Star Post” that had been selected at the organization meeting did not show or express any individuality so it was brought up for discussion at a meeting held July 30,1922. It was difficult to give up the first chosen name but when it was put up for vote, it was almost unanimously decided to change it to “Van Veen – Van Hemert Post in honor of the two Pella boys who were killed in action in France.
This information has been compiled from the book called
The First Twenty Years
1919 – 1939
Van Veen – Van Hemert Post No. 89
It was compiled by Tunis Kempkes in 1940 and is on display in the museum at Van Veen – Van Hemert Post 89 located at
829 Broadway St.