All female American Legion Post 539 celebrates 75th anniversary
DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - The all-female American Legion Post 539 is celebrating a big milestone today, Saturday January 15, at the Swan Club in De Pere. It’s 75th anniversary. American Legion Post 539 is one of only two all-female posts in Wisconsin and the only one north of Milwaukee.
Members celebrated their January 14, 1947 founding, 75 years and a day later, at a luncheon where war stories were exchanged from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Desert conflicts.
“Not many organizations stay that long,” senior vice commander of Post 539, Holly Hoppe, emphasized. “We are thankful to the ladies that started it.”
The list of names from the original 24 female veterans who founded Post 539 in Green Bay stood at the entrance to the luncheon. Most of them were World War II veterans who wanted to continue the comradery they had found in the military.
“Those women met in homes, at the library, any place they could,” Carol Johnson, commander of Post 539, shared. “Even in a park I think for some cases in the summer, to continue their mission which was to serve the community.”
Post 539 meets monthly, on the second Monday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at the American Legion Post 11 building located at 1708 N. Irwin Avenue in Green Bay. Those meetings give some of their 64 active members the opportunity to discuss their experiences while serving our country.
“Who else do you have to talk to?” Johnson asked. “Especially when we’re getting into this younger group that have had some issues with military sexual trauma which is just coming to light, they need that. They need that safety. They need that comradery. They need to know that their voice is still heard and they can still serve. That’s what this is all about. We’re all still serving.”
“They’ve been able to keep it through thick and thin because there was a core group,” Hoppe added. “We have a core group here but we want to expand it especially including the new veterans so we can mentor them because we’re going to be going. We need someone to take over and continue. Hopefully to do another 75 years.”
The American Legion receives no government funding, and Post 539 does all their own fundraising. Their goal is to let female veterans know they’re out there. Since many do not know about the all-female American Legion that could support them, according to Johnson.
“We’re still carrying on the tradition and the legacy,” Johnson said. “That’s our goal. To not let those ladies down. They fought for a long time and female veterans have never gotten the acknowledgement, the recognition, the thanks that they should be entitled to.”
Post 539 will be having a blood drive in March along with supporting a Green Bay girls’ softball league this summer. To stay up to date on American Legion Post 539 events, you can visit their Facebook page.
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