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Furthermore, the federation has supported actively progressive candidates for elective positions, and the results prove that the Range area representatives in the state government as well as in the United States Congress form a strong, progressive group of lawmakers."

The Virginia Finnish American Club was born in February 1933, when a group of Finns gathered at the Co-op headquarters to discuss the serious unemployment situation. The first officers elected were Alfred Buckman, chairman; Otto Heikkinen, vicechairman; Andrew Tiikainen, secretary; Väinö Lindholm, assistant secretary; William Anderson, treasurer. The executive committee also included Ivar Frasa, J. W. Huhtala, V. M. Kaukonen, William Markkula, Väinö Sulin and Charles Tamminen. Membership grew rapidly, reaching over 500 at one point. (In 1954, according to Wessman, membership was circa 300.) The Virginia club quickly became the region's largest and most active civic club. In the 1950s it still had some 18 to 20 different committees, involving at least 150 persons, interested in various aspects of civic, community affairs. At that period, Herman Kortesoja was chairman of the club, O. H. Wessman, secretary; Matt Moilan, treasurer.

Finns in Municipal Posts

Of the many Finns who have served in responsible positions, mention should be made first of Emil Ahola, who was appointed postmaster of Virginia in 1940 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Ahola has been a member of the American Legion, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Vic Koski, Ernest Luoma and Charles Penttilä have been in county (St. Louis) positions. In the municipal field, it is impossible to give a complete list, but several have served in the city council, beginning with Conrad Mattson, who was first elected in 1904 and served three terms. After him there have been William Ketola and Fred J. Moilan (Moilanen). The latter has also served as assessor and has been in numerous other posts. Later councillors have included Henry Tenhunen, William Markkula, Wilfred Lofback and Jack Luoto, who was in office for almost 20 years. More recent men include Melvin Mäki and Royal Maryland. In other positions, J. W. Huhtala has been city attorney and John Alexon has served on the hospital board. On the school committee there have been Ivar Frasa, Mathew Matson and, as chairman, Lydia Ahola. Lawyer Gust A. Koski has served as legal advisor to the committee, and Dr. John Räihälä as school physician.


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