Faced with declining membership, the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in South Elgin decided to merge with its counterpart in Carpentersville, whose officials said they welcomed the addition.
"I was sad that we had to merge ... because of all these years of community and the veterans," said Ray Bachewicz, last commander of South Elgin VFW Post 2327. "But when it came down to a matter of which way to go (merge or fold), I believe the merger was the best thing for all concerned."
Bachewicz said a majority of members voted in July for the post to join Carpentersville VFW Post 5915. The merger was approved by Carpentersville's membership, as well as state and national VFW officials, he said.
There were about 40 members, only a few of them active, and meetings took place at the South Elgin Lions Club, he said.
Following the merger, South Elgin members could decide to join any post of their choosing, said Bachewicz, among the founding members of the post formed in 1982.
The Carpentersville post has its own building with rental hall at 301 Lake Marian Road, where members hold monthly breakfasts, spaghetti fundraisers, football parties and more.
The post had about 120 members before the merge, Commander Conrad Helland said. It will celebrate its 60th anniversary next month.
"I thought it would be a good move," Helland said. "I've known (Bachewicz) for a long time because of being post commanders, we ran into each other at times. His post had just become inactive and they had a smaller post (and) they didn't really have a home."
The South Elgin post could merge only with a post within its Illinois VFW district, the 5th, which also includes West Dundee, Hampshire and Elgin -- which put up its building for sale. Bachewicz declined to say why its membership picked Carpentersville.
When the South Elgin post was founded 35 years ago, there were more than 30 posts in its district. They are now down to 20, Bachewicz said.
Four VFW posts consolidated last year in Illinois, when the total number was 314, state officials said.