Commander’s Blog: May 29, 2017

Another solemn observance for the Post and our country. I hope that you had the opportunity to celebrate the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters in arms. The Post held the ceremony at Pine Hill on Sunday of the weekend, then we helped the Township of Berwick with a firing squad on Monday. We had our stalwarts assisting with the ceremonies as always. But, in the last month, our membership has lost Herb Burgess, Ray Yori and Arlo Barton among others. I mention these members by name, as they were regular supporters of the Post, in word and deed. They came to the Post to buy a meal or a beverage, or helped in events like funerals, firing squads or meals. We are running out of these members, and soon we will not be able to conduct these support events. I know, I sound like a broken record. But until the next generation fills the ranks, I will keep sounding this alarm.

In addition, our clubroom manager will be stepping down at the end of the summer. We will need someone, a volunteer or otherwise, to step into those shoes to manage and run the club room for the Post. Contact the Post if you have an idea or can help out.

See you at the Post!

Commander’s Blog: December 7, 2016

I know it has been a while since I have written, but today has a couple important meanings. Today marks the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. The day the drew the United States into World War II, and a day that galvanized our nation against the Axis Powers.

I have been fortunate, through my travels, to visit Pearl Harbor, and the USS Arizona Memorial. It was a very moving experience. To stand where our Sailors, Marines and Soldiers were, I couldn’t imagine, as I heard one survivor say today, the living hell that was that calm island that day. I felt then, as I do now, an amazement at the strength and determination of our servicemen at Pearl Harbor, and those that served throughout that war, and those that followed.

Last summer, I had the chance to visit my Great Uncle Vernon Stockdale. Uncle Vernon was at Pearl Harbor that morning on PT-107. (No, it wasn’t that one, as he told me!) While his memory was failing, he was able to relate some of his experiences and feelings of the attack. Uncle Vernon served the duration of the war on PT-107, and retired from the service in 1954. Hearing those descriptions after being there further impressed upon me the importance of his service and that of those who served that day and after.

As we move forward, we have fewer and fewer Veterans that survived that day. Uncle Vernon died last year after his 100th birthday. Closer to home, our Post has had a bad couple of weeks. We have lost at least five members, including two past Commanders. Bob Barnett Sr, a Marine Veteran of World War II and of Iwo Jima, and Larry Naber, an Army Veteran of Vietnam and the Iowa State Patrol.

The combination of these events always reminds me of the importance of our organization, and our participation. As Commanders, these two played an important role as the symbol of the Post at the Post Home, and with the District and Department. In addition, they represented the Post when we honored members at Funerals and helping the Post with meals and fundraisers.

Help me and help the Post honor these and all Veterans through your acts and continued service. Tomorrow, I will have the honor to say the VFW rite of funeral for Bob Barnett, but sadly, our numbers of available members for the rifle detail has dwindled. Please check in with the Post to offer some time.

Thanks and See you at the Post!

Joe Johnson

Commander’s Blog: July 4, 2016

As long as you have elected me for another year as Commander of the Post, I thought it was time to start bugging you on a regular basis. Although it is here on the Post Website, for now, I will be reaching out to the membership directly via email and face to face when possible.

I have been saying in the newsletter for the last year that our volunteers are dwindling for meals and more importantly, our Honor Guards. Unfortunately, we are still not increasing our ranks on the Honor Guard. The importance of the Honor Guard cannot be understated. We as Veterans, and as members of the VFW, owe a debt to those members who served before us, as a measure of respect and to fulfill the duty we swore as members of the Military and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

I have been talking with some members of the Post, and I know that they are getting tired of me saying the same thing over and over. But we need to continue to encourage our membership to remain involved. The oath we swore was not rescinded when we left the service. The Brothers and Sisters in Arms that we serve with may have changed through the years, but our mission has not. We still can defend our Republic and our Constitution through our actions to our fellow veterans, be they members of the Post, VFW, or veterans in need.

Today, I was honored to preside over the Post Independence Day Observance. It reminds me again, the sacrifice that our veterans before me worked to provide me benefits as a veteran, and the freedoms to serve the country and my fellow veterans. I try to remind myself that without those earlier generations, some of the benefits we enjoy would not be possible.

While the attention our Veterans have received has not been even throughout our history, one this is for certain; the benefits have increased. And I ask you to ask yourself, would I be enjoying this, were it not for the efforts of our earlier Veterans? Can I do more to assist? Can I spare an hour or so every other month?

If you can, feel free to email me at the email on the Home Page. Call the Post. Come out and buy a meal or a drink. There are many ways to support the Post, VFW and fellow Veterans. I am not asking that every one do every thing… Find a niche, and come out to the Post.

Thanks, and see you at the Post.