Veterans of Foreign Wars
Firestone Post 3383
Firestone VFW Post 3383 was chartered on October 20, 1935 in a small store room on S. Main Street, near Long Street. Fifty Nine(59) members took the new member obligation and became charter members of Firestone VFW Post 3383. The Post was named Firestone due to the large number of charter members being employees of Firestone Tire & Rubber Company. Firestone VFW's first Commander was Jack Givens. Since its' inception Firestone Post has had 56 Commanders, 7 having served more than one term.
In January of 1936 the Firestone VFW Ladies Auxiliary was chartered. The Ladies Auxiliary's first president was Marion Hocker.
In 1947 the Firestone Post purchased the property along W. Waterloo Road which included a picnic grove adjacent to Nesbeth Lake. Much of the land next to Waterloo Rd. was marsh land and not suited for immediate building. The property was bought for $48,000 and comprised of a little over 40 acres, much of it marsh land at the time. The Post with it's connections to Firestone Tire and Rubber arranged to have much of Firestone Plant 1 and 2 (witch were torn down in the 50's & 60's) buried on the property adjacent to Waterloo Rd. Although 2/3 of the land has been sold over the years, some lost through imminent domain, the Post still owns over 14 acres today. Little would anyone have thought back in 1947 that the remaining 14 acres would be worth well over 1 million dollars today. Not bad for swamp land!
Later that same year in October of 1947, Firestone Post members assisted in forming the Dads of Foreign Service Veterans Post No. 20. The first President elected was Dad Tom Higgs.
From its early days Firestone Post Members were instrumental in forming and holding together the Joint Summit County Council and Firestone Post Degree Team. Then beginning in the early 70's the Degree team was renamed the Firestone Post Ritual Team. The Firestone Post Ritual Team went on to win over a dozen 1st place Ritual Competitions, more then any other unit, at the State level. Due to prohibitive costs and many of the members not being able to secure the time off from their jobs, National Honors stayed just out of reach of our championship team. However in August of 1988 everything seemed to come together and the team went on to National Competition and won 1st. place in the National VFW Ritual Competition. Firestone Post has always supported and maintained a Burial Team. The Burial Team has had only one purpose since its inception, to grant those that served honorably in our nations military the honor of a Military Burial Service. Our Burial Team has performed as many as 275 Military Funeral Services in a single year. Many units in our Post have come and gone. Thankfully we still have our Burial Team.
Going back to the late 1950's Firestone Post and its Auxiliary Units were growing faster than expected and there now came a need for a Post Home that belonged to the members of Firestone Post. Now was the time to build on the property that was bought back in 1947. What some had referred to as swamp land, back when the property was bought, would now become the Posts' site for it's new home. In March of 1959 the corner stone was laid and a little over 4 months later the new building was ready for occupancy. Firestone Post and Aux have always supported and sponsored various youth groups and organizations. In Dec. of 1960 Sons of the VFW Unit 114 was chartered and became a valued addition to the post. A Jr. Girls Unit was chartered in Feb. 1961 which did many things to aid the Post and Auxiliary. Over the years along with the Sons of the VFW and the Jr. Girls the Post has also sponsored Boy Scout Troops, Cub Packs, Senior and Jr. Baseball and Soft Teams. In the late 80's the Post started sponsoring the Super Kids Classic of The Soap Box Derby in Akron and still sponsors the event today. Then just after the beginning of the new millennium our post started helping in sponsoring the Naval Sea Cadets, a group that encourages American youth to develop seagoing skills and teaches them patriotism, courage and self-reliance.
In 1963 a picnic shelter was built at the lake property. Then just a short 6 years after the original Post Home was built, it became necessary to enlarge the building due to the rapidly growing membership. So 1966, an addition was completed to satisfy that need.
The Post through the "Robert Combs Cancer Fund" and the Ladies Auxiliary with their "Cancer Aid and Research Program" has donated 10's of thousands of dollars to Cancer Aid & Research over the years. In late December of 2003 Firestone Post lost one of it's most beloved members, Past Department Commander and Quartermaster of our Post, James Comedy. Jim will be missed but never forgotten by his many comrades and friends. During the Department Convention in June 2004 a resolution was passed to rename the Robert Combs Cancer Fund to the "Robert Comes/James Comedy Cancer Fund" in honor of Jim's chairmanship of the program for many years. Looking out for our hospitalized veterans is one of our most important obligations. Our Post and Ladies Auxiliary have always made sure our Hospitalized veterans were not forgotten. Visiting Brecksville VA Hospital on a regular basis and also hosting Brecksville visits at the Post Home every year is one of Firestone Post and it's Ladies Auxiliary's most important Programs.Firestone Post members have served the Veterans of Foreign wars at all levels of the organization including Council, District, Department and National. We are particularly proud that majority of our Post Commanders were named All State Post Commanders.In 1989 the Post was again experiencing growing pains and thus plans were put into motion to remodel and expand the current facility. So on April 18,1990 along with over $150,000 in the bank, the Post secured a loan in the amount of $300,000 for remodeling and a new building addition. The remodeling would include a new kitchen, a store room, and enlarging the rental/dining hall. Also a new set of restrooms, a coat room, and new south entrance would be added. The new paid off in the Spring of 1995, just over 4 short years after its inception. Other improvements made to Post 3383 during the 1990's were an outside pavilion and a wood deck at the Post Lake Property. Also the old indoor pavilion was remodeled and new restrooms were built. In 1994 back at the Post Home the last major improvement made was the addition of a meeting room and office, off the south entrance. Back at the lake property in late Summer of 2003 a new outdoor bandstand was completed.
In 2004 the Post, with the newly chartered Firestone Post Men's Auxiliary, added another valuable asset to our organization. The unit was Chartered on January 7, 2004 with James E. Thomas as its 1st President. When one looks back on all the accomplishments of Firestone Post let us remember that none of it would have been possible without the dedication of the men, women and children of the Post, Ladies and Men's Auxiliaries and Dad's Unit.