VFW dedicates new post home
As they served, so do they continue.
Saturday morning, members of the Tonganoxie Veterans of Wars Post 9271, along with about 200 others in attendance, celebrated the dedication of the organization's new post home.
As part of the ceremony, Jefferson Lawson, state commander of Kansas VFW, presented the chapter with a new copy of its charter. Lawson noted that the post's earlier charter was destroyed in the May 11, 2000, tornado that struck Tonganoxie.
"Take better care of this one, boys," Lawson quipped.
It's the comradeship
Being a veteran outlasts the time spent in the military, Lawson said.
"The comradeship we knew while we were in the service is born anew here in the post, as we join together as veterans to serve our communities," Lawson said.
And, a strong VFW post should continue to be strong, he added.
"When the troops come home from a war, all they see of the VFW, all they know of the VFW, is what they see and hear -- at the VFW post," Lawson said. "And as you welcome these people, remember the most important rule of public relations: You only have one chance to make a good first impression. One chance. If you miss that chance, you'll miss a new member."
As state commander, Lawson said, there are two events in which he takes great pride.
"One is the mustering of a new post," Lawson said. "And the second is the dedication of a new post home."
Both, Lawson said, show a community "that the VFW is alive and well and getting stronger every day."
The Rev. Rick Lamb, who gave the invocation, said the VFW's new post home is only one of the many benefits the VFW has provided.
The new post home, and the adjacent VFW Memorial Park, emphasize the VFW's strong presence in Tonganoxie, Lamb said.
Larry Meadows, post commander, said the new building finally means the VFW has a home of its own. For at least 15 years, members had met in the community room of Mutual Savings. Although they appreciated Mutual's hospitality, members longed for a permanent headquarters.
"Over the years I have heard several older members say I sure would like to see a post home before I die," Meadows said. "I was pleased that some were able to see that very thing happen."
The official groundbreaking ceremony was held on a chilly day in November 2000.
Meadows and other VFW members thanked the Tonganoxie area community for its support, and specifically named individuals and businesses that helped with the construction and establishment of the VFW park and post home.
The 140-member-strong organization has banded together to fund its projects. Fund-raisers ran the gamut from mowing lawns to working concession stands and holding garage sales.
Harold Denholm, treasurer, noted that, much because of the members' hard work, not only is the chapter's post home completed -- it's also paid for. Denholm then presented a $9,211 check -- the final payment on the building -- to Bill New, chairman of the board of First State Bank and Trust. Elmer Tanking completed this part of the celebration by setting fire to the chapter's mortgage statement.
Teamwork is the key
Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Lawson praised VFW members, as well as the members of the women's auxiliary, for their ability to work so successfully together.
"It's not easy running a good post," he said.
"Every year we see a few dropouts. Those which succeed do it through good leadership, good participation, dedication and strong comradeship. ... Whether it's VFW work or supports, teamwork is the key to success."