American Legion Post 7 received its charter November 1962 and became known as Lake Chapala Post # 7. The Post did not have a post home so the members met above LA Vida restaurant. The first actual post home was opened in 1986 at Privado del Gialdo with 25 members. One year later the post home was moved to the corner of Morelos and Guerrero, and membership grew to 100 by 1987. In 1989 the post home was again moved to Christiania with 200 members. The post just kept growing and moved to its present location at Morelos #114, Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico, in February 1993. In 2012 we celebrated our 50 year anniversary hosting the Department of Mexico convention with a visit from the National Commander Fang A. Wong.
We believed that the founders’ envisioned what indigenous people saw in 1491 when they first happened upon the lake. They wearily reached the shores of Laguna de Chapala, which at that time stretched 100 miles east and west and some 30 miles north and south, filled to the brim with deep blue water and lots of fish, a small fishing village was just being established by indigenous peoples of an unknown tribe, probably Totecs. It was established that only 20 locals were camping on the shores, but were in the process of forming a “City Council”, designating the area they established as home. Since most of the women of the group were pregnant, they needed a permanent place in which to protect their families. A “Chief” was selected to guide and protect this small band of people. Thus the beginning of stabilizing a community took place.
As with the 20 officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) in France in World War I is credited with planning the American Legion, we envision what the band of Indians saw when they first saw Laguna de Chapala. We believe it was hope in comradeship and Future Vision. Hope that banding together; we would present a united front that could withstand the tests of time as the American Legion has to date.
We doubt that our founders ever envisioned an organization of over 3 million veterans. That it would gain national and world wide recognition as the American Legion enjoys today and lastly the major role it plays in the field of human rights protection for veterans and others. The American Legion is a stabilizing factor in all communities for all veterans, their families, friends and the community as a whole.
Past leadership has brought this post a long way and made many improvements to the facility, I dare not try to list them. I also feel that membership has done its part during the last 4 years to continue to further improvements. Not to share the entire list but notably: made the facility look like an American Legion Post with military pictures and posters, national and military flags; built a cover over the Terry Bail pavilion; put a new roof on the roof office and made it a functional office christened “The Crow’s Nest”; built up our volunteer base; grew membership back into the largest post south of the border again, formed the first Sons of the American Legion, and started publishing the Roll Call magazine again.
With a sad heart I must inform everyone we have decided to end publishing our post magazine for financial reasons. Marianne Carlson, Dan Williams and Vince Britton worked hard and made the Roll Call a successful, informative, fun magazine but in the end the Legion was spending more to publish it than we agreed to when we first decided to reestablish the Roll Call magazine.
I have searched my heart and made the hard decision not to run for Commander in April. I will remain an active and supporting member of this post. I wish the incoming Commander all the best and I’m sure he will be a successful leader. I offer him all the help and guidance he may need. My plans are tentative but hope to become involved with running the Department of Mexico in some way. I would like to thank all of you for all that you have done to make the Post a better place, a place to be proud of. I want to thank my beautiful wife Adriana for her support and involvement. Lastly I would like to give my best friend and adjutant Vince Britton a big thank you; I could not have done it without you buddy. I feel confident we are turning the leadership reins over with a better organization than it was before but with much more to do.
Legionnaires, let’s all read the Preamble of the American Legion and start anew. Post 7’s goal is to make a place where all Legionnaires, their families and friends feel comfortable, assist members and veterans in need to the best of our ability and to aid the less fortunate in our local community the best our talent and finances avails us.
It has been an honor to serve as your Commander,