VFW celebrates 25 years in Tonganoxie
Tonganoxie VFW Post 9271 has maintained 100 percent membership every year but one during the last quarter-century.
To have 100 percent membership, the post must have at least the same number of members as the previous year. That’s saying something if you ask one of the post’s founders, Larry Meadows.
“Stuck with the post when it didn’t have enough money to buy an American flag,” Meadows said about the post’s humble beginnings during a special ceremony Saturday.
The group was celebrating its 25th anniversary Saturday in Tonganoxie with a social hour, lunch and a ceremony in which several people were recognized.
Plenty of laughs were shared during the ceremony, as Meadows would fire off one-liners and others would respond in kind.
Meadows spoke about the Ladies Auxiliary and what an important role the group plays in VFW activities.
“If it weren’t for them, we’d be eating bologna sandwiches,” Meadows said.
Displays, pictures and a slide show were showcased for all to see how the post has grown through the years.
There was a social hour and then a meal of hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, cole slaw and dessert.
After the meal, Meadows led the way in presenting certificates and plaques.
The Tonganoxie City Council was presented a certificate for its work with and for the VFW.
City Administrator Mike Yanez thanked the VFW for the award and its members’ service to the country, noting that the veterans have their “footprints all over this town and footprints all across this world.”
Names of deceased charter members then were announced: Morrison Ditty, Floyd Freeman, Dale Freeman, CJ High, Robert Kolman, Donnie Kraus, Chuck Laramore, Ransley McNulty, John Murray, Fred Needham, Harry Pathiakis, Harold Putthoff, Thomas Robb, Bill Robb, Phil Robbins, Charlie Scott, Orbal Smith, William Stephenson Jr., Richard Tinberg, Wayne Turner, Cecil Vinyard, Gordon Wasson, Jim Watson, George White and John White.
Meadows spoke about the various members who had passed, including McNulty, who served in the Navy.
“If not for his ship, we would not have won World War II or the Korean War,” Meadows said.
Stories and accolades continued on, as plaques were presented to Bill New, Bill Geiger, Boy Scouts, Mark Himpel, Jack Willis, Jim Crane and Sam Wiles.
Meadows spoke of the Himpel family’s contributions, as Bo Himpel and Margie Himpel received several honors from the VFW. Margie was married to the late Jack Himpel, a VFW member who also was Bo’s brother.
The VFW member then spoke about the land where the current VFW Park now exists being an eyesore in 1989. But Meadows and New saw the land as having potential for a park. With First State Bank and Trust, New and the bank played integral roles in making the park and the VFW Post Home a reality.
“We all know that Larry tends to exaggerate,” New said in response to Meadows’ glowing remarks about New’s contribution, words that drew laughter from the crowd.
The VFW Post Home was completed in 2003 and an addition was built a few years later. The mortgage statement for the addition was burned as part of a final ceremony Saturday.
Before the statement went up in flames, the VFW lastly recognized businesses and business owners. Recognized Saturday were Jim Gambril, Charlie Ussery, Jack Cronemeyer, Mike and Lisa Reischman, Clint Slawson, Finney Robbins, The Mirror newspaper, Tonganoxie City Council, the Himpel family and the Shoemaker family.
Certificates also were presented to these individuals: Sam Lobb, Bo Himpel, Ed Slawson, Jim Herrstrom, Jerry Bretthauer, Barry Hoffman and Jerry Paul.