Port Legion’s 100th anniversary is cause for celebration

Ozaukee Press staff

The Van Ells-Schanen American Legion Post 82 in Port Washington is turning 100, and the members are throwing a centennial birthday bash for the community from 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday.

The celebration, which will feature a variety of family friendly activities, will be held in Veterans Park on the city’s lakefront.

There will be live music starting at 1:30 p.m., a bounce house and dunk tank featuring local celebrities such as Sheriff Jim Johnson and Port Washington Mayor Marty Becker.

A 1936 paddy wagon from Legion Post 415, which is comprised of retired and active law enforcement officers, will be at the park, and people can pay to have others “arrested.”

Interactive children’s activities, including face painting, origami, making Chinese lanterns, flags and pompon keychains,  will be conducted in the park and at the Legion hall — also known as Inventor’s Brewpub.

A fire truck will be parked near the hall and the Port Police Department will offer bicycle safety tips. A K-9 officer will also be on hand.

  There will be a flag folding ceremony as well as a trivia and scavenger hunt. Youngsters will need to get the answers from veterans in the park. 

Food, including baked goods made by members of the Legion Auxiliary, and drinks, including the Post 82 Centennial Amber brewed especially for the occasion by Inventor’s Brewpub, will be available for purchase.

And, of course, there will be birthday cake.

Funds raised at the celebration will go to a variety of causes, including the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight and Camp American Legion.

“This is a celebration of our 100 years, a big birthday party,” Jim Schmidt, former post commander and a member of the organizing committee, said. “It’s not a recruiting tool, a Legion function or a Legion Auxiliary function. It’s a community function.

“We are the community. We live here. A lot of us work here.”

Although the Legion is about “veterans helping veterans,” Schmidt said, its four pillars also encompass national security, Americanism and children and youth activities.

Like the American Legion itself, the Van Ells-Schanen Legion Post was founded in 1919. It currently has around 200 members. 

It was the first post in Ozaukee County, chartered on Sept. 19, 1919, and only one of two — Cedarburg’s Peter Wollner being the other — county posts founded that year.

“After the war, there were many veterans still overseas waiting to get back home, Schmidt said. “They realized a lot of the people returning weren’t fine, and the Legion was formed to help them.”

Many people today don’t even realize the Legion exists, Schmidt said, adding the celebration is also intended to bring awareness of the organization and all it — and its Auxiliary — do. Among the local activities sponsored by the Legion and Auxiliary are the annual Memorial Day commemoration, scholarships and sponsoring local Badger Boys and girls.


Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login