VFW: Uniting American Heros

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VFW: Uniting American Heros

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Since the beginning of 1899, the Veterans of Foreign Wars has been a nationwide non-funded organization of charity and support, helping veterans and the community as a whole.

“Since I was about 18, I’ve been a member of the VFW, so it’s been 30-something years since I’ve joined. My dad was one of the first members there, my mother was a founding member of the charter,” Auxiliary President Carol Sreinocher said. “It’s family, at the VFW.”

Here, in Tomball, the VFW throws numerous dinners and events to raise money for veterans and their families, as well as veterans who are homeless. Alongside this, they also have many annual competitions for students to gain scholarships.

“A lot of us go to different schools and participate in their veteran programs, tell a little bit about what they did in the military,” Air Force veteran Mike Lavender said.

This year, students are eligible, between grades 9-12, to earn up to $31,000 in scholarships. Students compete for the scholarships, earning money on the way, in state and national competitions involving patriotic writing and art.

“One [of the scholarships] is to draw or paint , the other is to write a letter of why you love America,” Sreinocher said. “In May we have our yearly award ceremony, where we invite people to receive scholarships.

Next week, the VFW will also be hosting their annual Boo-B-Q Cook Off on Oct. 11-12. The event is a barbeque cook-off competition, showing off the different recipes of many local family barbeques.

“It’s for breast cancer and we’ll donate and raise money for that,” Sreinocher said.

As well as their many events and support to the community, the VFW also needs many volunteers and helps out students who need volunteer hours. At any event, students are able to stop by the VFW before hand to accept volunteer hours, whether helping out at the Boo-B-Q Cook Off or at any of their numerous community garage sales.

“If you come out, volunteer for something, then you can get credit for school,” Sreinocher said. “ROTC from El Campo High School come out and help serve the veterans, for the community, but anyone can volunteer.”

One of their most memorable events are the Buddy Poppy Drive, held on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, a fundraiser based on a WWI story about a Major and a Commander, established to bring awareness for Disabled Veterans of America, or DVA’s, along with raising money for veteran support by accepting any donations offered.

“At a Buddy Poppy Drive, we stand up there and we have the little buddy poppies made by disabled veterans, and we just hand them out as a remembrance of the veterans that have passed away,” Sreinocher said. “We’ve been doing that for a long, long time.”

The story of the Buddy Poppies began with the poem called In Flanders Fields, where a Commander and a Major were in WWI and while fighting alongside one another, the Commander was shot down. So, the Major buried his teacher, the Commander in a field, in the middle of the night. When the sun rose, the Major realized that, in fact, he buried the Commander in a field of wild poppies, later named Buddy Poppies.

“I wear this buddy poppy in memory of my fallen comrades in all the wars I went to,” former poppy chairman Leo Scott said. “I hand out the buddy poppies to say that you, too, are remembered.”

For more information about anything surrounding the VFW in Tomball, go to vfwpost2427.org or just scan the QR code.

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