SAN ANGELO, Texas --
This year marks the 112th birthday for the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, and the organization recently elected a new National Commander-in-Chief whose first direction was to, "Tell everyone who we are and what we do."
As the local post commander, I intend to do just that.
We have a rich and colorful history dedicated to the well being of our country's veterans. The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when the veterans of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service. Many arrived home wounded and sick. There were no medical care or veterans' pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves.
In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations with what would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum. By 1915, membership grew to 5,000; by 1936, membership was almost at 200,000.
Since then, the VFW's voice has been instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, creating a GI Bill for the 20th Century, the development of the national cemetery system, and the fight for compensation for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with the Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, the VFW won a long-fought victory with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded educational benefits to America's active-duty service members, and members of the Guard and Reserves fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The VFW also has fought, and will continue to fight, for improving VA medical service centers for women veterans.
Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam War, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials, the VFW became the first veterans' organization to contribute to the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial in 2005, which opened in November 2010.
Annually, the 2.1 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliary from 7,600 posts worldwide contribute more than 11 million hours of volunteerism to their local communities each year.
WHAT MAKES THE VFW DIFFERENT
To qualify for membership into the VFW, you must have served in a combat zone. This requirement separates us from all other veteran organizations. We are combat veterans!
ABOUT YOUR POST
Post 1815 located at 125 S. Browning St. in San Angelo was mustered into the VFW on April 22, 1930. Our current membership is comprised of 391 veterans, who have served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Grenada, Iraq and Afghanistan.
We have a large meeting hall used not only for dances on Saturday nights, it is also available for gatherings such as wedding receptions, parties and meetings. We have a fully equipped kitchen with stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, ice machine, pots and pans. We have two fully stocked canteens available for immediate use by patrons, a covered patio, outside grills, and horseshoe and washer pits.
There are annual membership dues, but that gives you membership at any of the 7,600 posts worldwide, and memberships can be transferred from one post to another. Post 1815 is open seven days a week. Life Membership varies with the age of the person. There is an installment plan available through National VFW.
We have VFW community programs active throughout the year ranging from volunteer awards, patriotic and Americanism awards, law enforcement, emergency medical service, firefighters to Scout of the Year. Member volunteers are always needed.
FMI: Call the Post 1815 commander at (325) 655-6550, (325) 650-0660, or email email@example.com