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VFW Post accepts national honors

VFW Post 10818 of New Richmond continues to pile up the hardware.

Just weeks after being honored as the top performing post in the state of Wisconsin, the local VFW organization picked up several national awards at the national convention in Reno, Nev.

Commander Dave Green received a letter of commendation on behalf of the local group, which was named an "All American" post for 2011-12. A total of 138 posts in the United States were named "All Americans" for 2011-12, but New Richmond was in the top 10. Green was presented a commander's "red hat" signifying that New Richmond is one of the top 10 posts in the nation. Each local VFW member will soon be presented with an All American pin that they can proudly display on their uniforms.

"It's a bit overwhelming," Green said of the long list of recent honors. "We set our goals to becoming an All State post and we made All American. I'm pretty darned proud of our post."

A big part of the post's success can be attributed to the membership drive conducted over the past year by their veteran members. The post now boasts 289 members, with four more potential applicants being considered presently.

The post started with 223 members in early 2011, with a goal of reaching 247 in 2012. The group far exceeded their initial expectations.

"There was no one person who could have done this on their own," Green said. "We worked together as a team. Many hands make a big job small."

Green said some of the credit belongs to former Post Commander Gory Berg, who set a high standard for future commanders and was named an All American commander in 1998-99.

"He pretty much set the pace," Green acknowledged. "I followed his work ethic and it's just blossomed since then."

VFW member Merlin Kosmosky attended the national convention along with Green to help celebrate the post's recent successes. The two also picked up an "Award of Excellence" for the post in honor of its recent "Suicide Prevention" project, which was organized by VFW member Bob Aufderhar. The nationally-recognized program focused on mental health challenges for veterans who return from battle.

"Bob Aufderhar led the charge on the program," Green said.

Post 10818 isn't resting on its past success, now that they've achieved national stature, Green said. More new programs and membership efforts are planned to continue to keep the organization strong.

One thing that has definitely helped the local VFW is its new home at the Community Commons complex. The group meets regularly at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month, but now they have a space that they can call their home on a permanent basis. Members can often be found at the VFW offices throughout any given week.

Community Education Director Cheryl Emerson said the VFW Post has become a valuable partner in the Community Commons facility in New Richmond. Not only are the members willing to help with maintenance items that come along at the Community Commons, they also support the efforts of other organizations housed in the community complex.

"I've learned a lot about the VFW since they joined us," Emerson explained. "They epitomize the meaning of community service. It's been a joy to have them here."

Green said the VFW members feel like everyone in the Community Commons is one big family.

"It gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside," he said. "They take care of us and we take care of them."

Emerson said that feeling of family carried over when the VFW started picking up the pile of state and national awards.

"We're all very proud of them and all they've accomplished," she said.