The original Charter President of Post 105 was Floyd Grainger. Post Charter members in 1919 were called President until the 1st annual American Legion Convention, when the title was changed to Commander in honor of the President of the United States. Mr Grainger served for many years on the Post Executive Board and was an active leader in the City of Redwood City, serving on the City Council for many years and 2 terms as Mayor.
Bob Bruce was another member who worked tirelessly for the Post. He was the Post Adjutant for many years, keeping track of meeting minutes and Official Post Records and membership. Bob instituted the Bingo operation as a fund raiser for the Post's charitable efforts including Jr. Baseball, Sea Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, Salvation Army to name a few. Another person who was very active in all Post social events and worked tirelessly in all programs was Norm Page.
Leo Crawford was a WWII pilot who was shot down and crippled for life, he was distressed that the FAA refused to re-issue his pilots license. Mr Crawford went on to serve as the State Commander of the American Legion and was the West Coast Manager for Red Devil Fireworks and negotiated the original contract for Disneyland. When Safe and Sane Fireworks were dotted all over California, Post 105 had the largest stand of fireworks and all proceeds from the fireworks applied to our American Legion Jr. Baseball program. Mr. Crawford and Post 105 were also instrumental in establishing Redwood City's, Outstanding Citizen Award, of which Mr. Crawford was Chairman.
One of Mr. Crawford's assistants with the Outstanding Citizen Award was Post member COL. Mitchell Paige, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. COL Paige served as an advisor to several American Presidents and was very active in the Medal of Honor Society. Redwood City named it's Outstanding Citizen Award to returning Desert Storm Veterans, COL Paige presented 9 returning servicemen with their medal. In 1999 the first wing of the California Veterans Home was complete and named for COL Paige. COL Paige and his wife Genevieve gave me a personal tour of the facility, even before it was open to attendees.
When I began the steps to becoming Commander, Vince Truscelli was the Commander. He was a WWII Veteran and former Redwood City Police Officer. He was also an active member of the Redwood City Senior Services and spent many hours in that effort. In later years Mr. Truscelli was the Chairman of the Outstanding Citizen Award Committee.
Another leader was First Vice Commander Joe Paynter, a Korean War Veteran and former POW. Mr. Paynter worked the membership program of Post 105 and almost achieved the coveted goal of 1000 members(968). Mr. Paynter served as District Commander (County), State Sergeant at Arms and Department Vice Commander. He later became Grand Chef de Gare of the 40/8 an Honor Veterans group that used to run their locomotive in parades and children's parties.
I was the first Vietnam Veteran to be Commander of Post 105. One of the social events at the time was a dinner honoring WWI veterans. As a young pup in the organization and due to the fact that WWII was over for over 25 years, I determined that both WWI and WWII both should be honored. It didn't make me very popular with the membership! Most members felt they were not old enough to be honored. I served as Post Adjutant for 23 years, District Commander, Department Sergeant at Arms and and have become a leader at both the State and National levels of the 40/8.
Since I moved to Southern California in 2000, Post 105 leadership has transferred to Mr. Romie Bassetto. From the evidence I see, Romie is a leader with progressive ideas and will lead Post 105 into the next 100 years. I commend him for his foresight and leadership and I urge all members of Post 105 to embrace those projects that will ensure the future of this great Post.
May God Bless you all!
Joe Donovan, Past Commander, Redwood City Post 105