MEEKER I The Veterans of Foreign Wars organization traces its roots back to 1899, when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many arrived home wounded or sick.
There was 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 200,000.
Since then, the VFW’s voice had 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 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 National Guard and Reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The VFW also has fought for improving VA medical center services for women veterans. Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials, the VFW in 2005 became the first veterans’ organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in November 2010.
Annually, the nearly 2 million members of the VFW and its auxiliaries contribute more than 8.6 million hours of volunteerism in the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and National Volunteer Week. From providing more than $3 million in college scholarships and savings bonds to students every year, to encouraging elevation of the Department of Veterans Affairs to the president’s cabinet, the VFW is there.
Simply put, the VFW strives to do good things for deserving people; our veterans, their families and their communities. From local grassroots ideas to national influence, we work every day to make a difference; it’s our strength as an organization. And, with each individual membership, we only grow stronger.
Locally, your VFW Post No. 5843 and its Ladies Auxiliary is a service organization to support our community and all veterans, whether they are members of the VFW or not. Here is a list of some of the things your Meeker VFW Post does on an ongoing basis:
Helped design, raise funds for, and install our beautiful Veteran’s Memorial of a modern-day soldier in front of the county courthouse with the help of local donations and our county;
Provides several different scholarships to our youth within the community;
Participates as an Honor Guard at funeral services of any veteran and at sporting events;
Supports the Meeker Classic;
Helps educate our children on patriotism and flag etiquette;
Administers grant money for veterans’ travel to hospitals and medical facilities;
Provides medical equipment which we store and donate for use to anyone in the community; and
Assists veterans who are in need.
Meeker VFW Post No. 5843 will be leading our July 4 Range Call Parade at 10 a.m. on Friday, and we invite any veterans from all services to march or ride with us. Please let us know if you need to ride in the parade as we will have several decorated golf carts available.
This year, the parade will be led by our Honor Guard followed by our Ladies Auxiliary and by veterans in golf carts who are no longer able to march with us. Next will be a veterans group on motorcycles from the Denver area who call themselves “Iron Warriors.”
Contact post commander David Cole at 878-5326 or senior vice commander Dennis Terp at 878-5526 for further information about the parade and membership. We sincerely appreciate the ongoing support of our community.