POST NEWSLETTER JUNE 2016
The Newsletter has taken a back seat in getting written because of my priorities as your Commander and the lack of someone to assume the responsibility since Alex Neil, our Quartermaster and Judge Advocate relinquished this duty almost 2 years ago. I reassumed the position as Commander August 2015 for the 2015-2016 year when Commander Mike Turner had to resign for work reasons. It has been decided to continue a Newsletter, but on the Website. All members of the Post can contribute to it by sending articles of relevance, and their biographies with pictures to Marc Gold. Our new Newsletter Editor is Marc Gold, our Webmaster. He has done an outstanding job with our website. Please visit the website www.vfw7142.com frequently to get an update of what is happening in the Post, to include our meeting minutes, new Comrades, deceased Comrades and our financials.
Well I’m back for 1 more year as your Commander as of the election in April 2016. My main goal for the Post is Recruitment and Retention. Without increasing our membership with active participants, our Post, like many others across the nation will close. This would be a travesty and a dishonor to all the Veterans, especially the World War II veterans, who made the VFW STRONG and a FORCE to be reckoned with the Legislatures in protecting Veterans benefits (Active and Retired) and the monitoring of the VA healthcare of our comrades.
MESSAGE to NON-MEMBERS WHO MAYBE READING THIS WEBSITE:
For our active and recently discharged Military Men and Women Veterans who have been deployed to combat areas, we need you to keep this elite organization alive. It has taken the Vietnam Veterans a long time to join the VFW from their time of discharge, but they have found support, comfort, healing and a purpose to give back to their fellow brothers and sisters in arms. This is an organization to perpetuate the living by honoring the dead. We are all busy with life, family and work, but can you spare one hour for a meeting once a month and a little time after to socialize. Albeit, we are not a drinking club, as the VFW has been portrayed, but in meeting at the Elks Lodge, some do partake in a little libation after the meeting to listen to one another and share when needed. Women Veterans - I will assure you that you are treated like ladies and very much appreciated and honored by the 7142 Post members. I can attest to this as being one of the two women for the past 8 years and the first woman Commander. These men are truly my brothers and family.
As of this date, we have 124 members, including one new member in the Post. Most of them we haven’t seen and many live out of the area. Comrade Keim, Membership, Quartermaster Neil and I are working with National to make our rosters accurate. We have 17 members that have renewed their membership. Sadly we have 18 members who are unpaid and 11 of which have expired memberships. We have had 4 members who are deceased this year. Our usual meeting attendance has been 12-15. Financially, our Post is very solvent. We continue to provide donations of $29,000 annually for Veteran’s Needs, Widows and Children’s Home in Eaton Rapids, Michigan and Pendleton Wounded Warrior Semper Fi, San Clemente Community Organizations that support Veterans and Veteran’s families (see our donation list posted on the website). We are also sponsors of the Pendleton Boy Scout Pack, Girls Scout Troop, the Valley Forge Naval Sea Cadets at Pendleton and the 1st /4th 2nd Platoon RAIDERS at Camp Pendleton.
Active participation has been low for our events. We had an official Flag Disposal Ceremony to honor not only the Flag of our Country, but to say thank you to our First Responders for Patriot’s Day. Three months’ preparation went into this program, held on a field at the Vista Hermosa Park. Two American Legion comrades from Tustin helped with the Flag Burning process and lent us their burners. Police, Fireman, and Paramedics were present. The Naval Sea Cadets provided the Honor Guard and two Cadets to perform the Flag Cutting for the ceremony along with a Girl Scout from Camp Pendleton. The local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from San Clemente also participated. We had 13 comrades from our Post participate in the ceremony. Irving Slater one of comrades in his nineties and wheel chair bound was one of the 13. The audience was comprised of family members of the scouts, friends of mine, and family members of our comrades participating.
For our Buddy Poppy drive during Memorial Day weekend, we were at four local stores, staffed by only one comrade each shift, some doing two or more shifts. This mighty group and the Naval Sea Cadets who participated as well, raised $6,061.50 with our total for 2015-2016 is $11,220.50. This was $1220.50 greater than what was budgeted for. Our next Poppy weekend is in honor of Veterans Day November 12-13, 2016. Will you be there???
As stated earlier, as Commander 2016-2017 it is my goal to bring life back to the Post. There is work to be done to let the community of San Clemente and the City Council know that we are here and that we all need to fight for Veterans. Our benefits are being cut, our military is still engaged in 14+1 years of conflict with multiple deployments and their hands are being tied by the new rules of engagement. Our young enlisted families are living at the poverty level. We need to use our membership to get strong again in Washington. Our children are in need of education about our flag and the role our veterans play in our democracy and why we celebrate Patriots Day, Veterans Day, Loyalty Day, Memorial Day and the 4th of July. We are all busy, but can’t we all give one hour to attend the meeting, and a couple hours to help with Buddy Poppies and maybe another hour or two to attend our events. Events proposed for the Fall are showing of 2 documentaries at the San Clemente Library: “Is Anybody Listening,” dealing with PTSD, and “The Lioness,” the personal story of the first women in Combat positions in Iraq. If each of us would attend our meetings and bring another Veteran to join that wants to participate, we will be strong, work lighter for all. Please don’t let apathy kill our Post.
BLESSING TO YOU AND YOURS THIS YEAR. CELEBRATE THE 4TH OF JULY KNOWING THAT THIS NATION WOULD NOT BE FREE AND WE WOULD NOT HAVE OUR INDEPENDENCE WITHOUT THE MILITARY AND THEIR FAMILYS’ SACRIFICES! BE SAFE AND KNOW THAT WE ARE HERE FOR EACH OTHER.
The Comrade's Corner
Bob Elton, US Army
Click the image below for our list of donations for the last 12 years
Did you know that approximately 12% of the United States Naval Academy's Class of 2019 are former Sea Cadets? The scoop from USNA is that 144 out of 1191 of this year's plebes are former Sea Cadets.
The Lighter Side
I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.
POST NEWSLETTER APRIL 2017
Our VFW Post has reached the last half of the fiscal year. Like most you, I ponder where has the time gone. Time is moving by much too fast. Nominations for new officers will be done at our March Meeting with elections of Officers for 2017-18 in April. I will not be running for Commander this year. We have new members in our Post that are more than capable to take the reins.
I thank Comrade Alex Carlson for his article for this newsletter. Alex joined this year and has hit the ground running like all good Marines. He has participated in all our events to include getting the Post represented at the San Clemente Fiesta along with Comrade Kevin Keim with the Ping Pong Toss. I’m not sure who had more fun the children, partying adults or our Comrades Wayne Greenleaf and Mike Wiechman. I can’t wait for next summer.
This has been a year of losses for our Post. We have had 10 deaths of members mostly from WWII, Korea and a one from Vietnam. One member who came to join the VFW late in life at 92 years of age, died 1 December 2016 at the age of 96. Leo Block was a WWII Navy Veteran, businessman, inventor, author and sailor. I had the honor of attending his Memorial Service and was amazed by his accomplishments and his humbleness. I had spoken with him many times after a meeting and he was so unassuming. His main focus was the needs of the Post and other veterans. Leo was born in Russian in 1920 and came to America with his parents to flee the Russian Revolution in 1923. His parents both died of illness shortly after he graduated from high school. With no means of support he joined the Navy in December 1941. Because he was under age and had no family to sign, the court had to act in his behalf. He chose the Navy because he wanted to learn about boilers and engines. He was stationed on the USS MacDonough in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. He was also in the battles of Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. After the war he attended USC on the GI Bill and became a successful engineer in the fields of boilers and furnaces. Leo was committed to this country and stayed in the US Navy Reserves. Leo wrote technical manuals, articles, and authored 3 books on his two passions Engines and Sailing. According to the members of the Dana Point Yacht Club he had the fastest boat and had seven patents for his inventions. Leo raced well in his 90s working the foredeck at 94 and worked out at a local gym with one of our Post Comrades Jerri Quinlan. He was a gentle giant that served this country well.
Alex’s message says it all, we need Veterans to lead and to support other Veterans. This can be done by joining the VFW and making us strong as did the WWII Veterans had done for so long. I think it is even more necessary with the events of the past month with the inauguration of a new President.
The protests have brought back very sad memories of a time of coming back from my year tour in Vietnam as an Army Nurse. I’m sure some of you had the same experience and became silent for years. It was a hurtful time for us who served in the military. As a 21 year old young woman who saw an idealistic life of the 50s come to a reality of death, dismemberment from a war and the disrespect for my service from my country I so loved, it was heart breaking. The recent demonstration in Washington with the burning of the American Flag brought back a memory of my first experience of a protest which happened again in Washington February 1968 after TET. I was dressed in proper civilian clothes of the day with gloves, hat and heels because it was unsafe to wear my uniform in public. My roommate and I were walking near the White House when we encountered a group of protesters burning the American Flag. I immediately asked them to stop and was pushed away, my military instincts kicked in and I kicked the guy in the family jewels with my 6 inch high heels and then pushed him over while I tried to put out the burning flag with my hat and gloves. A policeman arrived and escorted me to a police car. I was afraid I was being arrested but they said they were protecting the protestors from me and my roommate. They said we did what they wanted to do. There was no cell phone cameras, no media present at the time. I often wonder how it would have played out in the news today. I can only hope that those citizens of the U.S. who burn the American Flag aren’t educated in what the Flag stands for. We who have served and love our country know the sacrifices that have been made for Old Glory. We the Veterans – the VFW – American Legion need to educate the children and the citizens of this country about the Respect for our Flag and about Patriotism. Thus they forget that the right to Protest, to live in a Democracy and have protected rights under the Constitution was bore on the backs and lives of Servicemen and Women. If you are a Veteran – please join us in our Mission to Serve, Honor and Protect.