American Veteran Makes an Impact in Local Community
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, in 2016, there were currently 20.4 million veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Roughly 2.5 million veterans served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 6.8 million living service members from the Vietnam War era, 7.1 million from the Gulf War era, 1.6 million from the Korean War, and around 770,000 World War II veterans are still living. Since the draft ended in 1973, our all-volunteer armed forces account for roughly less than 1% of the population. Are you a veteran that served in a foreign conflict? The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization dates back to 1899 when the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection veterans wanted to secure rights and benefits after serving.
Senior Living Link was able to talk to Dale Pack who served as post commander this past year for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2666 in Hillsboro, Oregon. Pack served for the United States Marine Corps from 1967-1970 during the Vietnam War. He has spent the last six years being involved with his local post and he hopes to continue his involvement at a statewide level. Post-2666 is a very active post and alongside with their local VFW Auxiliary post (Dale's wife, LeeAnn is the current president), they try to make a great impact in their community. Some of their recent activities include:
-Visiting their local elementary school and giving a presentation in regards to Flag Day which included flag folding techniques, details and history of the flag, and military service.
-Collecting gently used goods for the community warehouse that helps veterans in need of household items including blankets, towels, small appliances, dinnerware, etc.
-Memorial Day Ceremony honoring those who sacrificed their lives for our nation
-Serving as an honor guard for military funerals
-Buddy Poppy distribution. The poppy, as revered from the poem, In Flanders’ Fields from World War I, is the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. The poppy represents the blood shed by American service members.
- Participating in various recruitment, volunteering and seasonal events in their community
Dale also volunteers his time to go to his local VA hospital and spend time with patients who sometimes have had zero visitors because they are far away from family. Dale explains that some VA hospitals have their own specialties, such as in nearby Portland, Oregon, where the specialty is oncology and patients may have traveled across the country for medical care.
Joining your local VFW post or any other veteran community is a way to find comradery and spend time helping others. If you have recently moved into a senior living facility in a new community, try reaching out to your local veteran community, as it serves as a common connection and a way to meet new friends. Dale also mentions that his post encourages all veterans from any time period of foreign conflict to join and be active members. He encourages anyone with questions about joining, or if your local VFW Post needs ideas or helps for recruitment to reach out to him through his post's Facebook page: Martin J. Ryan VFW Post 2666. We are grateful to the service members and families that have served and currently serving in our armed forces and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
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