A lot happened through my mom, who was a member of the Goshen VFW for 60 years. She was a life member of the auxiliary. As a kid, I grew up in the old post; they tore it down when they built this new one. Before I became a member here, I used to help mom ring bells for the Salvation Army and sell poppies and things of that sort when Everett’s was still over at Linway Plaza.
Then they made an auxiliary for people who were not veterans to join. I joined through my father, who was a World War II veteran of the European Theatre. I was able to become more and more involved. I’m now a junior vice-chairman of the auxiliary. There are probably pretty close to 300 people in that group.
We sell Buddy Poppies, which helps the veterans in our local community. We raise money through different activities throughout the year. The auxiliary does a golf outing every August that is a major fundraiser for us that helps with our efforts to support our veterans and local community. We donate to the Goshen Fire Department and Police Department. In the past, we’ve bought flags for Goshen Community Schools. We do a Youth Activities Day, where firefighters and police officers do demonstrations.
In November, we usually help the Salvation Army ring bells for their fundraising. We help with the Memorial Day parade. And we usually try to help with things for Veterans Day, of course. The auxiliary also does a broasted chicken dinner the third Friday of every month. There’s a group of us that cleans, marinates, and hand-breads the chicken, and then we cook it ourselves. We’ve been doing that a good 10 years or better.
The money we raise through Buddy Poppy sales is used for our veterans who need assistance. Maybe they don’t have enough money to do this or do that. We can help them out with small contributions to help offset some expenses – medical needs or getting them to a VA hospital or something of that sort.
There’s been attrition through the years. I’m not even certain there are any World War II veterans left who are members of our post. They’re just about all deceased. We’re losing our Korean War veterans, too, unfortunately. We have a fairly decent amount of Vietnam veterans. Very few Afghanistan or Iraq service members, but we do have a few.
Through volunteering at the VFW, I get the enjoyment of giving back to the community. Veterans sacrificed a lot to give us what we have today; it’s kind of about what we can do.
Writing, editing, and photography by Scott Weisser and Neil King
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