The idea for forming an American Legion Post in Delaware Township was conceived in the spring of 1950. Temporary officers were appointed, and Edward Lacey became Acting Commander.
Delaware Township Memorial Post 372 received its temporary charter on May 18, 1950, a permanent charter on August 31, 1951, and was officially renamed Cherry Hill Memorial Post 372 on March 19, 1964. Before the dedication of the present Post Home on November 10, 1957, the officers and members met in a building located on Hollis Avenue and Haddonfield Road.
The next few months were spent on organization. During these months, even before permanent officers were elected, the Post planned its first activity, a picnic. The affair, which was intended merely to pay for itself, showed a profit, and gave the Post its first experience in making money. A common bond stated to develop between members, and lasting friendships were being formed. . Building of the monthly social, formation of a Post Auxiliary, welfare activity, community betterment projects (little League), the acquisition of a property, and leasing of a building for use as Post Home were all accomplished in this year.
The County and State organizations formally presented the permanent charter to the post in a ceremony held in October 1951. The first important achievement of that year was the completion of the Post’s Constitution and by-laws. On memorial Day 1951, Post 372 joined with members of the Delaware Township’s VFW Post to provide suitable ceremonies over graves of veterans in various Township cemeteries.
On the 4ty of July 1952 the Post again joined with the VFW in parade through the streets of Erlton. The Post also participated in a Camden Country parade on Armistice Day 1952, along Broadway in Camden.
Early in 1954, discussions began regarding the sending of a delegate to Boys’ State, ad in June of that year, one boy was sent. In December 1954, the first issue of “The Scoop” was prepared, printed, and mailed to the members/. Steps were soon taken to start work on the new Post Home. Floor plans were drawn up and discussed
As the Americanism program developed, the Post sponsored a Boy Scout Troop, conducted a “Safety Essay” in Township schools, participated in the Township’s “youth Week: had at the Garden State Park, and continued to add other youth-related activities.
One of the rapidly growing Post’s member was elected Camden County Commander, and another member to the Vie Commander’s position. Ground was broken for construction of the new Post Home on February 2, 1957, and construction was completed, with occupation and dedication of the Home on Sunday, November 10, 1957.
The Decade of the 60’s (expansion)
The years from 1960 to 1969 can be categorized as years of expansion, in civic affairs, patriotic activities, and social events. John R. Huhn, III was elected Commander, and the Post marked a long period of his activities on its behalf. Carrying on memorial services for departed veterans, the Post conducted services at Locustwood Cemetery, which included flagging each veteran’s grave, and solemn services at the American Legion Memorial. Another important activity was the sponsorship of delegates to Boys’ State, with eight boys attending as delegates from the Post in June 1960.
The Post’s publication, “The Scoop”, under the editorship of Win Huhn, was an important avenue for information for members. In march 1961, the Post’s color guard received new powder blue uniforms, with white accessories, enhancing the image the Post projected at Patriotic and civic activities. In the May 1961 election, John J. Reilly (affectionaly known as “Big Dod”) was elected Post Commander. In June of that same year, Arthur B. Erdman recieved the “Legionnaire of the Year” award in recognition of his continuing service on behalf of the Posts Boys State Program. Also receiving an award for outstanding citizenship was Mayor John C. Gilmour.
Post members made sure social activities of interest to them and their families were arranged and scheduled. They included a Summer Dance, Shrimp Night, Hawaiian Night, Monte Carlo, and various award dinners. To extend their social activities to hospitalized veterans, Post members held Bingo parties at the Ancora Facility. The Post also hosted a party for wounded Vietnam veterans at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital and Post Home. It also sought veterans of that conflict to join the Post, which up until that time had been primarily composed of veterans of World War II and Korea.
In conjunction with the National organization, the Post promoted Americanism programs on several levels. Poppy Day was organized and teaching the proper respect to the American flag was emphasized. Student essay contests were held to instill an appreciation for American values. A Christmas party held in 1965 had a unique admission price of canned goods and non-perishable grocery items to be distributed among the needy. With the growth of Cherry Hill’s population, new athletic facilities were needed at the High School and the Post and its color guard participated in the dedication of the athletic field at Cherry Hill High School West.
In the middle of the decade, 1964, the name of the Post was changed from Delaware Township to Cherry Hill Post 372, as it is known today. Finally, at the end of the decade, in 1969, Post 372 participated in celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of American Legion in 1919.