A most memorable day occurred on November 22, 1932. Fifteen veterans of the community gathered thgether and formed the first American Legion in Menomonee Falls. They elected officers, paid dues and called themselves The Fred Henrizi Post. The Post namesake honored the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henrizi, who was a WWI casualty. Fred Henrizi was born in Menomonee Falls, November 26, 1888. His remains were buried in France.
On March 30, 1933, a permanent charter was presented to 32 members, thus Legion Post 382 was officially incorporated by the National Legion. The first recognized officers included:
- Mr. Elmer Kleitzien, Commander
- William Laubenheimer, 1st Vice Commander
- Ernest Doll, 2nd Vice Commander
- G.S. Otto, Adjutant
- Louis Gissal, Sergeant At Arms
- Maynard Schmidt, Finance Officer
- Adolph Duerrwachte, Historian
- Lloyd Stanks, Chaplin
It wasn't until the year 1947, that the Fred Henrizi Post purchased a permanet home from the Masonic Lodge in Menomonee Falls for $9,900. It took 17 years, to finally celebrate a "Burning Party", for the paid up mortgage.
Prior to the new location, the Legion meetings were held at the following places including:
- Farmers and Merchants Bank
- Village Hall
- Nightingale Ballroom
- Minten's Bar and Hotel
Minten's Bar was conducive to an overnight stay, if too many toasts occurred during successful meetings.
During 1949 after settling in our new home, the addition of a bar was added on the lower level. Many jovial times took place there, except, when an increase on a glass of brew was raised an additional 5 cents!
As the years passed a new charter was introduced, adding the name Schneider. This was to honor William (Pat) Schneider, a Lieutenant in the US Army Air Corp, who was killed in WWII. He was the first known fatality recognized by the Village of Menomonee Falls. A new title was added in August 1962, becoing the Henrizi-Schneider Post 382.
An interesting, unknown situation that occurred in 1933 was the formation of a Legion Band. The members, veteran musicians form the area, played for parades, concerns and state conventions. Unfortunately the gorup disbanded to enlist in the Military, during World War II.
The American Legion is the largest wartime Veterans' organization with nearly 13,000 American Legion Posts worldwide. Current national membership is over 2 million and combined with the American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion, membership in what is known as The American Legion Family, exceeds 3 million who care about America, Veterans, their families and our nation's youth.
The American Legion Auxiliary is an integral component of the Post. The members are composed of grandmothers, mothers, sisters, spouses, daughters and granddaughtes of Active, Retired and Deceased Military. Ther contribution to the Community is extraordinary and mertis a great deal of gratitude.
Fred Henrizi Unit #382 was organized on May 2, 1935, with a membership of 23 women at the Community Center. The elected were:
- Mrs. Audrey Nelson, Sargent At Arms
- Mrs. Margaret Held and Mrs. Anna Gessert, Color Bearers
The Auxiliary received their Charter for 11 members on May 23, 1935. On March 8, 1946, the Article of Incorporation was received to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Wisconsin.
Through the years we have had five Gold Star Mothers:
- Mrs. Catherine Henrizi
- Mrs. Martha Miller
- Mrs. Mary Butina
- Mrs. Mary Lembeke
- Mrs. Anna Zimdars
These are the mothers who have lost their sons in the line of Military duty.
In 1976, the Legion and Auxiliary started to have meetings on the same nights so the women and the Legion members could drive together making it more convenient for all members to attend the meeting.
In the beginning, the Auxiliary hosted many Christmas parties whith the children and Santa. This activity started when the meetings were held at Minten's Hotel and continue today at the Post. The history books also show that dancing used to be held after all the Post dinners.
In 1946, our first Poppy Distribution raised $47.09. Membership dues were $1, and were raised to $2 in 1947. That year the Legion also asked that all Commanders and Auxiliary Presidents have their pictures taken to be framed and hung at the Post to preserve our history.
Auxiliary members collected recipes for a cookbook in 1960. They named the book "Auxiliary Gems".
In 1979, Helen Brazy made a royal blue skirt for the speaker's table. The Auxiliary also made handmade hats/mitten sets, dish towels, and pillow cases, to donated to the veteran's gift shop at Zablocki VA. That same year, we invited the Vets from Zablocki for a dinner with homemade pies and cakes followed by Bingo. This tradition continued on for years.
A Sons of the Legion for American Legion Post 382 was formed on 2014. Eligibility includes all male descendants, adopted and step-sons of American Legion members, descendants of veterans who died in Service. S.A.L program promotes patriotism, citizenship, discipline, leadership and Legionism for various ages.
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