On February 22, 1946, Pentwater V.F.W. Officers were installed. William Tarr, State Commander, veterans of Foreign Wars, and members of the degree team from Wm. Beals Post ,VFW of Muskegon were among the outside guests present on Sunday afternoon at the first open meeting of the recently organized Eldon Chadwick Post 6017, Veterans of Foreign Wars. Following the presentation of the colors by the color guard from the Muskegon Post, Commander Tarr with the assistance of the members of the visiting degree team initiated 27 members of the new Post.
In late April, 1946 the Post received permission to conduct the first Memorial Parade down the main street (Hancock) in cooperation with the school. Chairman of the event was Jack Gray who organized the day’s arrangements. About that same time, it was announced by Postmaster General Robert E. Hannegan that a special post stamp showing the honorable discharge button of the U.S. armed forces was issued on May 9, 1946 in honor of all veterans of World War II. The stamp will bear the lettering “Honoring Those Who Have Served”.
Later in the year, the Oddfellow Hall of Pentwater consolidated with Hart and gave the upper story of the Pentwater News Building to the VFW Post for official meetings. The Post also obtained 60 lots from the state for $250.00 located north of Pentwater, and in 1954 constructed a 40 ft. by 60 ft. block building for meetings and official functions. Remodeling in 1974, and adding additions in 1981 and 1988, the building now consists of a large kitchen, meeting rooms, and a recreation hall covering 6,000 sq. feet.
All through the remainer of 1946 armed services members returned to their homes in the Pentwater Area settling into civilian life after the rigors of war. The Post grew as many of them joined to share the camaraderie of fellow veterans and the activities the post provided to the village and area. The war time exploits of the new members were varied and in some cases, dangerous. Victor Modena organized and lead a squadron of P-61 (Night Fighters) refining their equipment and techniques to make them the scourge of the night skies in the South Pacific. Vic also led a team to recover a crashed P-61 that had crashed from his squadron in the jungle of New Guinea. That particular aircraft is now in the process of being restored to flight status and will be the only one still flying. Jay Reid served on the aircraft carrier Wasp as a Aviation Ordancemen during most of the major battles in Pacific. He became the unofficial historian for the ship and has written many articles in publications, and wrote battle reports on the activities of the ship during his active service time. Jay’s library contains a wide and varied account of the battles of the Wasp. Bud Stenberg stormed ashore as a Marine into the jungles of New Guinea and combat of Palaliu to return safely home in 1946. Marine Bob Lorenz faced the horrors of Iwo Jina and Saipan as his unit assaulted the beaches. Hal Carlin, long time member, was an infantryman in Europe, losing many close friends in battle there. During the Viet Nam era, Nick Fekken served as a Marine company radioman, not exactly a safe job as an infantryman. Most VFW members have memories similar to this that have strengthen their resolve as VFW members of Post 6017. During that initial summer of 1946, the Post suffered its first loss when Charter member Donald Buck was killed in a motor cycle accident. Post members represented all branches of the service and fought from the island jungles of New Guinea , Palaliu, Iwo Jima, and north to Japan in addition to the European struggle to defeat the Axis in the battles and foxholes of North Africa and Europe.
The construction of the building on the purchased land outside of town began in 1954 when Otho “Buck” Graham and Fritz Stenberg laid the building’ cement block foundation. Glenn Rought helped finish the block work. Denzil Hepworth, who then worked for the lumber company, made the roof trusses and helped with the roof. Many members at that time helped with the wiring, finishing, and putting tile on the ceiling. Graham and Hepworth put up the first row of tile by gluing them to the drywall. When they looked back to see how it looked, they found all the tile had fallen. Even with new glue, tile was again on the floor the next day. With everyone’s help, the problem was solved.
Through the 50’s and 60’s the Post struggled to keep its Charter, which required a minimum of 10 members present at meetings. Don Lamb, Commander at that time, did a commendable job collecting dues and urging meeting attendance. In 1979 the first addition of pole construction was completed for use by Post 6017. To pay for the addition the Post took out a $20,000.00 loan which was paid off in 1990. In 1993, air conditioning and an air removal system is added. This cleared the air of smoke, making the quality much better for Bingo and other functions. Also that year saw a renovation of the rest rooms to A.D.A. approval.