Not Just a Ticket to Europe…

photos by Jeff Sweeney

photos by Jeff Sweeney

by Hillary Flack

Amvets 79.JPG

I began going to AMVETS Post 64 for lunch about a year ago with co-workers.  Not only is the food awesome and inexpensive, the people were fun to hang around and gab with during our lunch breaks.  One day the bar manager asked us if we knew of anyone who would be interested in tending bar on a part time basis.  I found myself raising my hand…ever so slowly!  When I accepted the two nights a week position, I was a little hesitant at first considering I’d never tended bar before in my life!  Then I thought to myself, “How hard can it be?  A beer here, a Chivas and water there…piece of cake!  What a great way to fund my long-awaited trip to Europe!”

Since I began my part time gig (Thursday nights and Saturday days), I’ve found out some interesting facts about this all-American organization in this all-American city.  American Veterans of World War II was the first WWII organization to be chartered by Congress in 1947.  Since then, the original charter has been amended to admit as members not only active or honorably discharged veterans from WWII but, those who also served in different eras, along with a Ladies Auxiliary group and Associate members.  Members of AMVETS are committed to devoting free time to brighten the lives of hospitalized Vets, they also provide assistance to those who wish to finish their education by awarding scholarships.  Help is just not for veterans.  Each year, AMVETS Post 64 makes Christmas baskets which are distributed to families in need, nominated by members.  AMVETS has also provided monetary support to national monuments such as the USS Arizona memorial, the Statue of Liberty and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

AMVETS Post 64, located at 237 NE Monroe Street, has a very rich history.  The building was originally completed in 1916 and operated as the Duroc-Jersey Record Association.  Some Peorian’s still refer to it as the Duroc Building.  Other notable users: University Club, which was a prestigious men’s organization, Manual Arts Press Publishing Company, Felt & Tarrant  Manufacturing Comptometer School and Dickinson Secretarial School.  The building has been owned by Post 64 since 1969.

Amvets 30.JPG
Amvets 57.JPG

To get a more personal feel for what this organization means, I asked several members why they joined, what they like about the club and what they want to see happen in the future.  Most of the members, who are Vets, said they joined for the sense of community and welcome they received after serving their country.  Many of these men and women have been coming here for years.  They continue to come for the sense of camaraderie and friendliness (and cheap drinks)!  When asked what they would like to see for the future, the answers were almost unanimous- younger people to join as members.  This organization needs new members to keep the legacy going.  Post 64 is also waiting for their license for the gaming machines, which should be happening sooner rather than later, to help bring in needed revenue to continue their philanthropic endeavors.

As for my thanks (the least I could do for this wonderful group of people), is spreading the word.  So please, Peoria, come in and enjoy a fantastic lunch or after work drinks with friends at AMVETS Post 64.  And tell them Hilary sent you.
Hours of operation: Tuesday through Friday- 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Lunch is served Tuesday through Saturday, 11-2
AMVETS Post 64 is located at the corner of Fayette and Monroe at 237 NE Monroe.
Their phone is 676-9458.