AMERICAN LEGION & POST #283 HISTORY
After the Armistice was signed in 1918, the U.S. government recognized that a problem existed as to how to occupy the time of U.S. troops waiting to be shipped home and how best to re-acclimate them to daily life once home.
Additional concerns included the long-term care of wounded soldiers and the repatriation into the workforce of returning troops. It became obvious that an organization was needed specifically to help the Veteran and his dependents. Thus, the American Legion was formed. The fledgling American Legion identified it’s most important issue as being the rehabilitation of the disabled Veteran. The rehabilitation needs of the Veteran led to what we know today as the Veterans Administration (V.A.). Today, the V.A. is comprised of 154 V.A. medical centers and an additional 1,300 sites of care (including outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and Vet centers) throughout the United States and U.S. territories. Four of those medical centers and four clinics are located in Ohio.
The Department (State) of Ohio American Legion received its Charter from the Congress of the United States on May 15, 1919. There are now over 600 Legion Posts in communities throughout Ohio serving thousands of Veterans and their dependents.
The four programs on which the American Legion was founded were:
· Child Welfare
· Community Service.Today, they are still the core programs of the Legion. The local Departments of Ohio have added many programs of their own to assist not only the Veteran, but also the youth of the communities. As an example, Ohio Buckeye Boys State annually accommodates approximately 1,400 high school juniors (making it the largest program of its kind in the U.S.) in a nine day “hands-on” program to study the democratic form of government, the organization of political parties, and the relationship of one to the other in the shaping of Ohio’s government. Buckeye Girls State provides a similar program emphasizing Americanism and good citizenship in a non-partisan non-political atmosphere to teach and inculcate the youth of America with a love of God and country. Girls State accommodates over 1,000 participants, making it one of the largest programs in the United States. Today, several U.S. State Governors and other elected officials trace their start and interest in politics to their participation in Boys/Girls State.
American Legion Post 283 History
In early 1981, nearly 30 veterans of the Pickerington area met in the Pickerington High School to form an American Legion Post (it has been reported that an American Legion Post had previously existed in Pickerington in 1919 though this post’s name and number is unknown).
The idea to organize an American Legion Post sprang from the conclusion of these veterans that the American Legion was the representative veterans’ organization in this country. That conclusion has proven true, as today the American Legion is the largest wartime veterans' organization in the United States (with Posts also located overseas). The American Legion is the only Veterans organization recognized by the U.S. Congress.
A decision was made by the membership to honor the memory of Pickerington High School's only casualty of the VietNam War. The David Johnston Memorial Post, stands as a lasting tribute to Corporal David Johnston, MIKE Company/3rd Battalion/5th Regiment/1st Marine Division who was killed in action during OPERATION TAYLOR COMMON, 3 March 1969 in Quang Nam Province, South Viet Nam. As a result of his actions during this operation, Corporal Johnston was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for valorous action performed during direct combat with an enemy force.
On June 2, 1981 the Post signed the American Legion Charter recognizing Post 283 as an American Legion Post.
The original slate of officers:
Commander Homer Hardy
First Vice Commander Frank Kearney
Adjutant and Finance Officer Charlie Haslett
Service Officer Don Kale
Sergeant-at-Arms Earnest Criss
Historian Bill HansleyExecutive Committeeman Dennis Stein (who previously served as the temporary Post Commander.
On June 5, 1981 the Constitution and By-Laws were approved by the American Legion Department of Ohio.
On May 13, 1985, members approved and signed a contract to purchase 2.179 acres located at the corner of Pickerington and Refugee Roads. In late 1985, Commander Jerry Burroughs and 86 members broke ground for the present Post home. Legionaries from Post 283, Lithopolis, Millersport, Lancaster, Bremen, and Wellston assisted in the construction. Through the years, the Post has continued to expand to better serve the veterans and citizens of Pickerington and surrounding communities by adding a rental hall, expanded lounge, state-of-the-art sound and video systems, and the recently dedicated (Memorial Day 2007) Veterans Memorial Park and the CPL. Dustin Derga Memorial Shelter House.
Today, Post #283 continues its efforts toward the betterment of life in Pickerington and the surrounding area through the Post #283 Charities, Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, Legion Baseball, and other community based programs.