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Post 565 continues the legacy

June 13, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

In every Boardman Memorial Day parade, among the lead units are the men of the American Legion Post 565. They are continuing the legacy that began when the post was formed back in 1957.

The American Legion was formed in 1919 as a group for WWI veterans. After WWII, the organization grew by leaps and bounds. For Post 565, it was registered as a non-profit on May 9, 1957 in Youngstown.

"It was known back then for Bingo," said Post Commander Ed Onderko. "I am not sure where the first post was located."

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Boardman American Legion Post 565 members continue to keep things going by providing a color guard for holidays, making sure veterans graves are marked with a flag, and by influencing future generations through the Boys State program. Pictured are honor guard members, in front, Jim Balentine, Ed Onderko, Jim Mondora, and Phillip Markovitz. In back are George Jarbeck and Bill Gueldner.

Service Officer Bill Gueldner said in the 1960s the post was moved to Southern Boulevard just south of the Boardman Park entrance. That building was used for a while, then was sold.

"We now meet at Drake's Landing on Western Reserve Road. We don't have a physical post," Gueldner said. "We currently have 39 members and are always looking for new members."

At the monthly meetings, there are guest speakers brought in to talk on veterans matters and benefits. The meetings also represent a place to socialize with fellow veterans.

As for community, Post 565 stands by the four pillars of the American Legion. Those pillars include veterans affairs and rehabilitation, national security, Americanism, and children and youth.

Perhaps the most visible event for the post is when its honor guard marches in the Boardman parades.

"We have members who own restored WWII Jeeps that we put in the parades," Gueldner said.

Post members can also be seen in Boardman cemeteries placing flags on the graves of veterans.

As for the youth pillar, Post 565 sponsors Boardman high school students to attend Buckeye Boys State. This is a program where patriotic-minded high school students spend a week on the OSU campus during the summer, where they will create and run three levels of government. The program helps teach the young people the fundamentals of how American government works.

"This year we are sponsoring two young men," Onderko said.

As for being a proud veteran, the post members are happy to put on their American Legion uniform and stand for America. Last week the honor guard members met at Bob Evan's restaurant near the Southern Park Mall for breakfast. Before they were ready to leave, the waitress stopped at the table and told the men their breakfasts were already paid for by a customer who just left. Gueldner said it happens from time to time.

Honor guard members include Jim Balentine (Navy Sea Bees), Ed Onderko (11th Airborne), Jim Mondora (Air Force), Phillip Markovitz (Army Special Forces), George Jarbeck (Army Armored Division) and Bill Gueldner (Navy Assault Craft Unit).



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