When Al Wickham set out to find pictures of the former commanders of Waupaca’s VFW Post 1037, he thought the hardest one to find would be a photo of the post’s first commander.
That is because Harvey Peterson served as the local post’s first commander in 1945, and Wickham could not find anyone who had a picture of Peterson.
However, after an article about Wickham’s efforts ran in the County Post West, he received a picture of Peterson.
“One of his daughters lives in San Diego but still gets the paper. She saw it and sent a picture of her dad,” Wickham said.
The picture of Peterson was one of six he received since the article ran in December of 2010.
“We were looking for 12 photos. Now, we’re down to six,” he said.
The six past commanders Wickham continues to search for photos of are John M. Larson, Robert Sommerfeldt, John Chalstrom, Walter Webster, Fred Weidenhoft and John Miller.
Those who have pictures of these past commanders are asked to call Steve DeHamer at 715-256-9362 to make arrangements.
DeHamer assists Wickham with the framing aspect of the project.
Reprints are made of pictures they receive, and the originals are returned.
Wickham’s reason for starting the project several years ago is a simple one.
He wanted to honor the past commanders.
“When I joined the post, there was a blank piece of construction paper with snapshots of a few more recent commanders. I thought they were more deserving than that,” Wickham said.
Today, frames filled with pictures of past commanders hang on a wall in the post’s hall.
Ten 5-inch by 7-inch pictures fit in each panel, numbered so those who look at the pictures see the names of the commanders and the years they served.
In addition, they have frames for future growth.
DeHamer said it is an honor to be a part of the project.