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Post 10818 wins third straight All State, All American award

A procession of veterans from VFW Post 10818 march into the Paperjack Elementary gym with the American flag as part of a program on Friday, May 2. (Photo by Jordan Willi)

For the third year in a row, New Richmond VFW Post 10818 and Ladies Auxiliary received All State and All American honors for the work the group has done in and around New Richmond.

“We were just one of four posts in the state to receive the All State Honor this year,” said Vern Loehr, Post 10818 commander for 2013-14. “In order to make All State you have to meet certain requirements to achieve that and exceed them as well. You also need to be All State in order to be considered for the national All American award, which we were also able to win this year.”

This is the third year in a row that New Richmond VFW Post 10818 has made All State, and it is the third year they have made All American as well.

In addition to winning the other two awards, Post 10818 also took home the Community Service Award.

“The Community Service Award is a very prestigious award that is given to only two posts in the state of Wisconsin,” Loehr said. “It is an indication of not only the quantity of the activities that we do in the community, but also quality of those activities. It is a very honored award and we are even given money by the state to go down to the national convention to receive that award.”

The All State award was announced in mid-May, while the All American award winners were announced around the beginning of July.

“I don’t believe that any other post in the state of Wisconsin has won the All American Award three years in a row like we have,” said Ken House, who is the current Quartermaster of Post 10818. “For a town of less than 9,000 people, this is a very supportive town.”

Post 10818 is one of more than 400 VFW posts in the state of Wisconsin and consists of 390 members from New Richmond and the surrounding communities. The group is active throughout the year from taking part in local Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies to ringing bells for the Salvation Army during the holidays.

“With our post, it is not just the active officers who are being active within the group, it is our whole membership that comes to the plate when it comes to the many community projects we do,” Loehr said.

According to Loehr and House, posts around the state and throughout the country are seeing declining numbers as more and more veterans from World War II and the Korean War pass away every year. However, that is not the case with Post 10818 due to a concerted effort by the post’s leadership to actively recruit new members from more recent conflicts.

“One of the things that a lot of posts are seeing right now is a decline in membership because World War II vets are far and few between and that is also happening with Korean War vets as well,” Loehr said. “However, our post has been able to demonstrate that that is not something that has to happen. We already, just two years ago, looked at the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and pursued their membership. So today, we are proud to say that we have a membership of about 55 percent of veterans before Iraq and the other 45 percent are from after that.”

Currently, Post 10818 is negotiating to have all three memorial moving walls — the Vietnam Wall, the 9/11 Wall and the Canadian Wall — brought to New Richmond for Loyalty Days next year, which is scheduled to take place from April 25 to May 2 at Freedom Park.

“We are looking to bring in representatives from every VFW post in the state of Wisconsin along with other veterans groups,” House said. “For sure, we will have the Vietnam Wall here during that event, but the others are still in the process of being approved to bring to New Richmond.”

Upcoming activities planned by Post 10818 include taking part in multiple Veterans Day programs, including programs at St. Mary School, the New Richmond Senior Center (Nov. 6) and the annual Veterans Day Program at the New Richmond Middle School (Nov. 7) and St. Croix Central schools (Nov. 11) as well as hosting a Santa Claus Party for the families of veterans and assembling and delivering gift baskets to shut-ins.

“In my opinion, the Community Service Award is probably as big if not bigger than any of the other awards,” Loehr said. “I think that is because the criteria for it depends not only on quantity, but quality of what you do in the community. But it also represents the many different members that play a role in those activities.”

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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