CAMANCHE — Veterans of Foreign Wars is the largest veteran combat organization in the world, honoring more than 2 million members of all branches of the military, worldwide.
To increase membership numbers and develop a stronger local VFW organization, Camanche Post 9664 recently completed an extensive outdoor renovation to the building located on Ninth Avenue in Camanche.
VFW Post 9664 Commander Glenn Williams lead the efforts of the renovation project and cannot express enough the gratitude he feels for all of the support and volunteer work he received to complete the remodel.
“We’d been talking about working on this building for a number of years and because of a grant we received from the Home Depot Foundation we were able to purchase all the materials we needed,” Williams said. “The labor was all donated by members and other people in the community and I can’t say enough how thankful I am to everyone who was involved.”
In addition to Home Depot, other area business lent a helping hand to the VFW’s summer-long renovation project.
Bentler Equipment Inc. donated scaffolding for siding installation, DDC Construction of Clinton volunteered labor for the project, Senior Vice Commander Mike Fullerton brought in his fork truck and removed the deteriorating sidewalk and Mike Burburmahl replaced all the concrete completely free of charge.
The work Williams and his team put into upgrading the building, originally built before 1900, is to not only give the current members a place to feel proud of, but to also bring in a new generation of members who will carry on the VFW Post 9664 name.
“We are trying to clean up the image of the building to appeal to new members,” Williams said. “Some of the older members are starting to have trouble with their duties in the post so we need young guys from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars to keep us going.”
Williams, a 20-year retired Army veteran, has a strong passion for the VFW post and its mission to protect all the combat veterans who have served this county.
“Our mission it is to protect (their) benefits,” Williams said. “If it weren’t for this (and other) organizations we wouldn’t have any benefits left.”
The VFW protects those benefits by lobbying Congress and without high membership numbers those voices would not be heard.
“Congress isn’t going to listen to 50 members,” Williams said. “But they will listen to 2 million.”
Williams hopes the outdoor renovations is just the beginning for updating Post 9664 and has already started planning the next round of proposals to acquire more money for future renovation plans they have.
“Next we want to renovate the inside of the building,” Williams said. “We have to provide a place for veterans to go that looks halfway decent and feels like home.”