VFW repeats as state's top post
When VFW Post 10818 was named the top post in Wisconsin last year, Commander Dave Green said some people told him the service agency got lucky.
But now that the organization has won the All State Team designation for the second year in a row, Green said the naysayers were proven wrong.
"I was pretty excited," Green said of the honor that was announced June 14 at the state VFW Convention in Green Bay. "It was my ultimate goal to do this two years in a row, and we did it. It's one heck of an honor."
State VFW officials select the winning post annually, based on documented activities ranging from fundraising to community service projects to youth development efforts.
Green said the local veterans organization knew that it qualified as one of the top 10 posts in the state, but they didn't know they were in line to take top honors again.
In the end, however, they blew away the competition. Usually the state VFW recognizes the top two or three posts for their efforts. This year, however, New Richmond's successes were so much more than anyone else's that just one award was presented, Green said.
The local post continues to ramp up its community involvement, hosting special educational programs and donating funds to various non-profit organizations. They also work hard to support veterans and veterans' families, as well as advocate for veteran's programs on the local, state and national level.
The Post's "Welcome Home Veteran Program" has grown through the years and been copied by other posts. The program mission is to "welcome home" all veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and all other conflicts around the world.
The post has also hosted "Suicide Prevention" programs providing help for returning soldiers and their families as well.
"Our success comes from going back to the basics of what the VFW was designed for," Green explained. "We focus on helping veterans and families, and being part of the community."
One impressive statistic is related to recruitment. VFW Post 10818 went from 287 members last year to 355 members this year, Green said. That boost in membership came a year after the post went from 223 members to 287.
"We've been going gangbusters," Green said.
In recognition for his individual effort, Green was again presented with the "Captain-All-State" award, which goes to the commander deemed to have the most outstanding record for the year.
Also like last year, Green was notified that he would receive the national "All American Post Commander" designation for a second year.
Quartermaster Ron Ebert also was honored as "All American Quartermaster" for the second year in a row.
If that wasn't enough, Post 10818 was notified that it was ranked as the 14th most successful post in the nation over the past year. Last year the post was in the top 10.
"We're still on the upper end of the food chain," Green said with a laugh. "It all goes back to our dedication to our members."
As Green approaches the end of his two-year term as commander, he said he's ready to take a little bit of a break. But he will remain pretty involved in veterans issues for years to come.
Green is helping with the development of a special veterans camp located in Dairyland, Wis. Some 14 acres have been donated for use as a veterans camp, where 10 cabins and a lodge will be constructed and offered for use by veterans and their families.
Veterans will also have access to about 700 acres of land for cross country skiing, hunting and other outdoor activities, Green said.
The VFW meets at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month. The entrance to their office space is on the west side of the Community Commons building.
The new incoming commander for the VFW is Vern Loehr, who takes over July 1.
Green said he's confident that the VFW will continue to prosper even under new leadership.
"I feel very good about Vern and he wants to continue with many of our programs," he said.