by Gene H. Theroux,Past Commander American Legion Post 124, Commander The Sons of The American Legion Squadron 124, Chairman Post 124 Americanism Committee
WESTFIELD – This past Friday evening, American Legion Post 124 opened its doors and hosted the 72nd consecutive annual spaghetti dinner to benefit the March of Dimes Foundation .
Members of the Westfield High School National Honor Society volunteered as servers for the guests. Ed Dougherty, the March of Dimes Executive Director for New England, spent a moment with the students and shared with volunteers from Westfield High School the history of the March of Dimes and the significance of when the Post 124 Spaghetti Dinner originated during the time that Polio was an epidemic and had afflicted thousands of citizens across the United States.
The March of Dimes is celebrating their 81st anniversary of helping parents of children afflicted with life threatening illnesses. This traditional Benefit Dinner started in 1947 by a group of WW II Post 124 veterans to combat the dreaded polio disease. Gene Theroux, Past Commander of American Legion Post 124, said that they are proud to say that Post 124 is the longest third-party consecutive fundraiser for the March of Dimes in the country. The American Legion will be celebrating its centennial on March 15, 2019 and the Westfield Post 124 received its charter on July 17, 1919.
The original Post members, Westfield Veterans who started the tradition 72 years ago, were former State Representative Anthony Parenzo, after whom WSU’s Parenzo Hall is named, Alfred Calagari, George Hickson, John “Tux” Murphy and Joseph “Nookie” Calagari.