Tucked away on the far side of Tillicum, a stone’s throw away from American Lake, a small club bustles with activity. The Lakewood chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, VFW Post 2329, is always preparing for, decisively engaged in, or recovering from a fundraiser.
Many historically credit the national VFW, now over 1.5 million members, for helping to create the Veteran’s Administration, see the VFW implementation of what we now know as the GI Bill, helped elevate the Department of Veterans Affairs to the president’s cabinet, and given out $3 million in college scholarships and savings bonds every year, among a vast number of other accomplishments.
As posts go, Post 2329 is small, but no less busy. On a recent weekend, they held a fundraiser to benefit cancer and raised over $3,000. A few years ago, they began the tradition of lining over 100 flags along Tillicum’s Union Avenue, just outside of JBLM’s Madigan Gate every summer.
Tom Darnell has been Commander of the Post for 8 years. “Nobody else will take the job,” he half-heartedly laments with a grin. Later he admits, “I became Commander to help the Post, to further the VFW. I’m in a position to make things work, I want to help.”
Darnell wishes he could partner with more active-duty units. The volunteers of the Post fall-in for unit functions like barbecues for deployments, homecomings, or holidays. They provide the food, the cooking, and the clean-up so that troops can spend all their time with family members in a unit/community setting. He wants to establish long-term associations with the units and help personnel get whatever the Army cannot.
The Post also visits and assists veterans at American Lake Medical Center, Madigan Hospital, nursing homes and shut-ins through an Honor Society with the unlikely name of Military Order of the Cooties, an adjunct of the VFW, like the VFW Auxiliary. Darnell is very animated about the MOC, but says that those members are sworn to secrecy…
The Post welcomes all new members. For more info, go to; www.facebook.com/pages/VFW-Post-2329/521212084563146
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