Post #217 History

National History

The American Legion is a federally chartered corporation formed in Paris, France on 3-16-1919, by the American Expeditionary Forces.  With their help, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., formed the idea of an American Legion made of World War I veterans, both male and female, this was then developed at the Paris Caucus on 3-16-1919.

Forty-six delegates were selected for the St. Louis Caucus of May 8, 1919. Sergeant Werner Larsen of Ironwood was named Chairman of the delegation with Major Charles D. Kelly of Detroit the Secretary. (1)
    (1) Information from the Department of Michigan web page. 


The Michigan Department of the American Legion held its first meeting in the Hotel Statler in St. Louis, Missouri, on Saturday, May 10, 1919.  The Department of Michigan was then divided into Congressional Districts with George Waldo as Temporary Chairman, Benjamin Bellows as Temporary Vice Commander, and Lyle Tabor Temporary Adjutant. 

The Michigan Department was incorporated under the state charter, and Headquarters in Detroit.  The Headquarters relocated to Lansing in 1974, while maintaining a Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation office in Detroit.  One May 17, 1919 application was made to the Michigan Patriotic Fund for money to organize a Michigan assistance for the 160,000 Michigan World War I veterans in obtaining employment and financial assistance as necessary.  The fund Trustees allotted $25,000 as the Departments first treasury. The Michigan organization worked so efficiently that by the end of July, 1919, 45 Posts, representing 2,008 members, had been granted charters with seven more in progress. 

Michigan’s first State Convention was help in Grand Rapids, October 13-15, 1920 with Colonel A.H. Gansser of Bay City Post 19 named State Commander and Lyle Tabor as State Adjutant.  At that time, Michigan had 192 Post’s covering every county in the state.  Michigan’s first ever resolution was a statement of partisan politics neutrality. This basic theme has been continued. Legislatively, the Department of Michigan enjoys a continuing positive working relationship with the Michigan Legislature, it continues to champion veterans issues, not political parties; a policy that mirrors the nations American Legion organization. (2)
    (2)  Information from the Department of Michigan web page. 

Post 217 History

Post 217 was organized in 1919 in memory of Lieutenant Edward C. Headman, who was killed in France, September 1, 1918. Post 217 obtained their Charter on August 10, 1920. 

The building where Post 217 is located once in the Michigan Alkali Clubhouse. (3)

The City of Wyandotte owns the property where the American Legion Post is located, where they have resided since 1923.  The first Commander was William Gatzke and H.E. Bauer the first adjutant.  Special projects the Post sponsored were the Poppy Drive, “Toys for Tots”, a drive to relieve German Children in 1924, relief for widows and orphans of servicemen.  They contributed to Goodfellows, old clothes collection, minstrel shows and pageant “Know Your America”.  They gave to the Iron Lung Contribution in 1938. Post 217 sponsors Boy Scout Troops, they give American Flags to schools, and Legion Baseball. In 1952 they had a dinner honoring the school superintendents in the area. (4)

In the 1970’s Bishop Park was rebuilt and a breakwall was installed along the waterfront, at the time the American Legion Post was reconstructed to what it is today. (3)

Proudly, Post 217 has had the only one National Officer, in August, 2004, Robert Mayrand was appointed National Sgt.-at Arms. His term lasted until August, 2005.

American Legion Riders Post 217, the Downriver Chapter was chartered in June, 2009. 

In 2013 Post 217 went “Green”, Commander Donald Howard and the members decided instead of maintaining old technology they would put in a Geothermal Heating and Cooling system.  With the help of the the City of Wyandotte and local contractors they utilized grant monies and invested in the new system. (5)

Post seen a lot of improvements thru 2016-2018 Under Past Commander Bob Salamon  Upstairs Hall was completely remodeled to make it available for Members to rent out for events, Lounge was remodeled also and parking lot  and flag pole area has had a major improvements these projects has been driven by Building Maintenance Member’s  Doug Williams and Frank Simon and to many great volunteers  if your interested in becoming a member please contact us to see if your eligible    

       (3) Information taken from the Wyandotte Memorial Library
       (4) Information taken from Proudly We Record written by Edwina M. DeWindt
       (5) Information taken from Post Website 


1920 JFW Gatzke
1921 Albert Payette 
1922 Abraham Schuffert
1923 Dr. Robert Ashley
1924 Dr. Robert Ashley
1925 Dr. Joseph Knapp
1926 Cletus C. Gagnier
1927 Cletus C. Gagnier
1928 Frederick Bigler
1929 Harry Lorenz
1930 Edward Reuter
1931 John Bloomfield
1932 Duanne DeWitt
1933 Harry Rouse
1935 Harley Meritt
1936 Moses Aerson
1937 Aurthur J. LaCourse
1938 Russell H. Genthe
1939 Henry Schamburg
1940 Roscoe S. Colwell
1941 Robert Beattie
1942 Walter G. Genthe
1943 Benjamin Grilliot
1944 George J. Bigler 

1945 Frederick Pilz
1946 Carl Streicher
1947 Arthur Schroeder
1948 Francis Hogan
1949 Gerald Bloomfield
1950 John F. Fletcher
1951 Don Marshall
1952 Joseph Cole
1953 John McCauley
1954 Kenneth Smith
1955 Aage Kallio
1956 William Broughton
1957 Rudolf Rhines
1958 Fred Davidson
1959 Kenneth Eastman
1960 Alexander Kolb
1961 Francis Gibbons
1962 Charles Hribal
1963 Louis Biro
1964 John J. Hattar
1965 Robert Crandall
1966 Robert Benjamin
1967 Stephen Astalos
1968 Louis Macquisten 

1969 Paul Walker
1970 Herbert Taylor
1971 Arthur George
1972 Cecil Claunch
1973 W.V. Kaul
1974 Ray Douds
1975 Glenn Saul
1976 Glenn Saul
1977 Thomas Spiegel
1978 James Sperry
1979 Bill Mayrand
1980 Bob Mayrand
1981 Dennis Rothrock
1982 Raymong Wojkowiak
1983 Rodney Gilmer
1984 Raymond Lloyd
1985 George Tskerka
1986 Patrick Pilon
1987 William Borio
1988 Johnny Murphy
1989 Robert Reichelderfer
1990 Frank Checchio
1991 Earl Victor
1992 Frank Manore

1993 Frank Manore
1994 Milton Crassweller
1995 Leonard Ziemnski
1996 John Leslie
1997 Donald Hatfield
1998 Chuck Crayne
1999 Joseph McDermott
2000 Edward Rushlow
2001 Ernest Berry
2002 Brian Smith
2003 Donald Reno
2004 Dennis Boucher
2005 Pat Nowlan
2006 Donald Hatfield
2007 Ronald Runyon
2008 Chuck Clanchette
2009 Clarence Sturgill
2010 Michael Wessels
2011 Donald Howard
2012 Donald Howard
2013 Norm Martin
2014 Donald Howard
2015 Edward Gorecki
2016 Robert Salamon
2017 Robert Salamon
20018 Robert Salamon
2019 Mike Huber
2020 Bill Rice