History of Post 1308
On November 1, 1936, the National VFW Headquarters in Kansas City, MO issued a charter containing 61 names to Alton VFW Post 1308. John (Jack) Hayden, the First Commander of the Alton VFW Post, was the first name on the charter. The Post met twice monthly at the Turner Hall on Ridge Street in Alton. Not long afterward, a small building on State St. in North Alton was purchased, but the Post outgrew that building and soon purchased the Dixel Motor Lodge on W. Delmar in North Alton. By 1967 the membership was growing at such a rapid pace, that property was sought to buy and build a new VFW Post Home. In 1970, Alton VFW Post 1308 moved into the present location at 4445 N. Alby St., Alton, IL. In 1974, the Post reached the pinnacle of 2,576 members. In 2011, a smoking room on the southeast corner of the Post Home was built by volunteers. In 2013, the VFW Post was cited by the Illinois Office of the Attorney General for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In 2015, the VFW Post Home was found in compliance with the ADA, thanks to the help of Lewis and Clark Community College (LCCC) Construction Class. This class went on to build the Post a Veteran’s Memorial Garden, with proceeds from the sale of bricks and granite blocks to cover the cost.
On March 3, 1957, the Post purchased a 107-acre farm in Foster Township. In 1958, the house was torn down and replaced with a small club room in 1960. In 1964, an addition was built to meet growing needs. Over time, neighbors became unhappy about the noise from the shooting range. Fortunately, Madison County ruled that the VFW Farm was grandfathered in as a private recreation area, including a private fishing lake, private campgrounds, and private shooting range.
Alton VFW Post 1308 is very proud to have had Medal of Honor Recipient Russell E. Dunham, as a Life Member of the Post. On Jan. 8, 1945, Russell was a WWII US Army Infantryman who wiped out, three German machine gun nests and captured 29 enemy soldiers. He was also a POW for some time.
Warren D. (Dave) Stout was the first member of Alton VFW Post to be elected to the High Office of Illinois VFW State Commander for the year 2016-2017.
Susan L. (Sue) Parrish was the first member of the VFW Post 1308 Auxiliary to be elected to the High Office of President of the Illinois VFW Auxiliary for the year 2018-2019.
On July 1, 2019, B. J. Lawrence, Commander-in-Chief of the National VFW Headquarters in Kansas City, MO, issued a new Charter to Alton VFW renaming it as RUSSELL E. DUNHAM MEMORIAL POST 1308.