VFW Post 3873 History
A proud group of World War I and World War II veterans came together on January 9, 1944 to bring the VFW to Naperville. Immediately after establishing the post, the charter members voted to adopt the name of a native Napervillian, Judd Kendall.
Lt. Oliver J. "Judd" Kendall was killed in France during World War I on the eve of the crucial battle of Cantigny. Captured by the enemy while leading a patrol, Lt. Kendall would not disclose any details about the upcoming offensive even under the threat of death. His willingness to accept death rather than compromise the safety and success of his fellow soldiers was a major factor in this first major American victory of the war. His selfless action has been an inspiration to the people of Naperville and particularly to the members of this post ever since.
In 1997, then Junior Vice Commander Lew Breese initiated a recognition project to research the identity and history of our post namesake. The result of his endeavors revealed that Lt. Judd Kendall was a World War I hero deserving of national recognition. On Memorial Day in 1997, eighty years after his death, The United States Army posthumously awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart and World War I Victory Medal to his hero who was captured by the Germans and never divulged important information to his captors. Since then he has also been awarded the POW medal.
Lt. Oliver J. "Judd" Kendall
Membership in Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 has grown from the original 31 men in 1944 to over 700 men and women whose service spans all the nation's conflicts from Iraq and Afghanistan to World War II. This dedicated group of people continue to be involved in a variety of programs which serve veterans in this area, promote patriotism and an understanding of our history in our schools, enrich the community and provide opportunities for our members to come together socially. We are very proud of the programs we provide to our veterans, our schools, our community, and our members.
In the early 1960's the post moved from an old structure located just west of the train station to a new building on a gentle slope over looking the west branch of the DuPage River two blocks west of Centennial Beach on Jackson Avenue. An expansion over the years added to the space and functionality of the facility. The two-story building has a large upper level used for post meetings and public functions and is available for rent for private parties. With a full kitchen and seating for up to 250 people for meals, this room features a terrific view of the river and the Riverwalk.
We run a weekly Friday night fish fry during Lent and one week prior, which attracts many townspeople. The ground level entrance is on the north side of the building facing Jackson Avenue. The lower level, with ground level access on the south side is reserved for members only. It contains a canteen open daily, card room, and committee meetings room and business office.
The convenient location, extensive hours and friendly atmosphere make the canteen a very popular stop for members when out running errands, strolling the Riverwalk or just on the way home from work. You know you are always among friends. Post and auxiliary members are given a key card for easy entrance to this level and visiting VFW members and their guests, as well as prospective members are encouraged to ring the buzzer for entrance.
Our members over 700 strong are a true cross section of the Naperville area. Like the representation of the military in combat areas, our members are mostly male but we are proud to have an increasing number of women veterans. Our members come from all walks of life, all branches of the service and all conflicts. Some are native Napervillians but many have moved here from across the country. They have found the post offers a unique opportunity for a strong circle of friends and they quickly feel part of the community. The common bond our members share, no matter which conflict, which branch of service, or where they are from makes for a wonderful sense of camaraderie which cannot be duplicated.