Ferris Goodridge American Legion celebrates 100th birthday

By on September 9, 2019
Memorial Stone in front of Ferris Goodridge Post 330 dedicating the Post to all past veterans from the Spencerport and Ogden Area.

Memorial Stone in front of Ferris Goodridge Post 330 dedicating the Post to all past veterans from the Spencerport and Ogden Area.

Ferris Goodridge American Legion of Spencerport celebrated their 100th birthday by entertaining the Spencerport and Ogden communities. The festivities began on Saturday, August 24, with a Chicken Barbecue accompanied by the Southern Rock sounds of Shotgun Paulie. On Sunday, August 25, hot dogs and hamburgers were on the menu with the Johnny Bauer Band providing entertainment. They completed the celebration on Tuesday, August 27, the Legion’s actual ratification date, by inviting the Ferris Goodridge Legion family members for a chicken wing and pizza party followed by birthday cake.

Ferris Goodridge Post 330 is named in honor of Edward Ferris of the 27th Army Division and Leo Goodridge of the 78th Army Division. Both men were natives of the Town of Ogden killed in action in World War I. Pvt. Edward L. Ferris entered the service on May 21, 1917. He was assigned to the 108th Regiment, Infantry Machine Gun Company. He was killed in action near St. Souplet, France on October 17, 1918. He is buried in St. John’s Cemetery, Spencerport. Pvt. Leo Goodridge entered the service on September 7, 1917. He was assigned to Battery D, 309th Heavy Artillery, 78th Division as a cannoneer. He was seriously wounded by shrapnel on September 30, 1918, near Norray, France. He was moved to a French hospital where he died on October 19, 1918. He is buried in Creekside Cemetery, Churchville. Ironically, both men died within two days of each other.

Ferris Goodridge was the first chartered American Legion Post outside the city of Rochester in 1919. The Post’s organization had its challenges. At the time, any application for a charter had to be approved by a Senior Commander within the national organization. William Donovan was designated as Commander of the Western District of New York. Unfortunately, Colonel Donovan was still on active duty with the U.S. Army and sailed for Japan three days before the Ferris Goodridge request for charter was received at his home. This request was forwarded to Japan and followed him throughout his travels, finally catching up to him two months later. As luck would have it, Colonel Donovan’s wife was returning stateside and brought the signed document back with her. It is believed that Ferris Goodridge is the only American Legion Post in the United States that was approved outside the continental United States. The charter was signed on August 27, 1919. 

Of the original 41 posts chartered in 1919, Ferris Goodridge is one of only 11 posts to remain active for the entire 100 years. Post 330 began with twenty members, and Ray Austin served as their first commander. There were 109 American Legion Posts chartered within Monroe County.  

Veterans of World War I were a closely-knit group, having trained in the same camps and fought on the one great front. Those who came home unscathed were appalled by the plight of their less fortunate comrades. Concern bonded charter members of The American Legion, giving them a noble cause to fight for – the adequate care and protection of their disabled comrades and dependents.

They faced a monumental task. Laws had to be drafted and enacted by Congress to provide compensation for the war-handicapped, to build hospitals, and to get protection for the widows and orphans. The American Legion wrote such laws, had them introduced in the Congress, went out over the land to arouse the conscience of the people of America and mobilize support for its legislative aims. Later, the American Legion put through Congress the legislation to create the Veterans Bureau, which has become the Veterans Administration of today. 

American Legion concepts and its ideal of devotion to mutual helpfulness warmed up the whole social climate of America. Their rehabilitation program was even the inspiration for the Social Security system.

The American Legion has prided itself as being a force within each community they serve.  There are currently12,806 posts nationwide. They have raised money for emergency relief, scholarships, VA hospitals, community services, and to support the troops. Members have donated volunteer hours for the betterment of their communities – providing meals, cleaning highways, visiting hospitals, and supporting hometown troops stationed throughout the world. Their obligation to fellow veterans, active military, and first responders is unwavering.   

A commitment to children is one of the pillars of the American Legion with their most prolific program being American Legion baseball. Proof of the program’s success can be found in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown where 68 American Legion players have been inducted. There are currently over 3,500 Legion teams throughout the country, including seven teams in Monroe County. The American Legion also sponsors other children’s programs such as Scouting, Boys State, Shooting Sports, Oratorical Contests, and Vets in the Classroom, to name a few. 

Ferris Goodridge Post 330 would like to acknowledge the unwavering support offered by local government administrations of the Village of Spencerport and Town of Ogden over the past 100 years. The Post is grateful for the support and is looking forward to the next 100 years. 

For information on eligibility to join the Ferris Goodridge Post 330 of the American Legion, Sons of the American Legion, or the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, email fgpost330@rochester.rr.com or visit www.fgpost330.net or the Spencerport American Legion page on Facebook.  

Provided information and photos

Past Commanders (l-r) Don Sisson, Joe Marhatta, Mike Schwartz, Joe Laucht, Jerry Cunningham, Tom Eckler, and Jerry Smith. Missing from photo are Mike Ammering, Henry Dibble, and current Commander Scott Beale.

Past Commanders (l-r) Don Sisson, Joe Marhatta, Mike Schwartz, Joe Laucht, Jerry Cunningham, Tom Eckler, and Jerry Smith. Missing from photo are Mike Ammering, Henry Dibble, and current Commander Scott Beale.

A large number turned out to help Post 330 celebrate their centennial.

A large number turned out to help Post 330 celebrate their centennial.