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Coal City VFW charter commemorated

Published: Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014 9:07 a.m. CDT
(Jessica Bourque -
VFW Post Commander Charlie Brown and Irene Shepkoski, Head of Reference for the Coal City Public Library, look over the names included on the post's original charter signed 90 years ago. Shepkoski is compiling obituaries for each of the VFW post's founding members to include with the display.

COAL CITY – For a 90-year-old piece of parchment, the Coal City VFW's original charter looks pretty good.

Considering the charter was tucked inside post member Frank Spinozzi's garage for the last four years, it looks even better.

"Is this really the original? You've doctored it all up," a surprised Spinozzi said Wednesday, after seeing the charter for the first time since its restoration.

The VFW St. Juvin Post 1336 had the document refurbished, making it ready for public display. The charter was signed in March 1925 and includes names of each founding member, written in calligraphy.

Members of the St. Juvin Post gathered Wednesday at the Coal City Public Library where the historic document was placed on display. The library will house the charter indefinitely as part of the library's local history section.

The library's head of reference, Irene Shepkoski, is compiling a book of obituaries and articles about each of the original St. Juvin Post members who signed the document. The book will go on display with the charter, so the public can read about each of the founders.

"It'll share with the community the links they may have to these families," Shepkoski said. "A lot of these families are still in the community."

St. Juvin Commander Charlie Brown said that was why the post wanted the charter displayed publicly – so community members could connect with their heritage.

After the post sold its Coal City building about four years ago, the charter and a few other significant documents were stored away.

Last year, post members began saving money for the document restoration and framing, intending to find it a new home.

"We got together and decided the library would be a great place to keep it," Brown said.

The improved charter is now preserved with an acid-proof matte and is framed with museum-grade glass.

Shepkoski said the charter will hang on the second floor of the library, among other local, historical artifacts.

"It's just an interesting view into the past," Brown said. "You don't get to see things like this very often."

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