|Wauneta’s VFW post holds a lot of history and service to community|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 31 May 2012 13:27|
By Sheri Hink
The Wauneta Breeze
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 7996 has been active in Wauneta since 1978. The group’s size has diminished since they started but the current members are still out there advocating for veterans, their families and the community.
Wauneta’s VFW post now has 26 members. Dennis Pfeiffer serves as quartermaster, Carl Williams as commander and Lavern Denker is the first vice president. Loyd Christner is also a very active member of the group.
The VFW has many activities throughout the year. This past weekend, they assisted the American Legion with the annual Memorial Day program.
The group also hosts a number of fundraisers throughout the year at football and basket ball games. The money raised helps support their many programs and scholarships.
The group gives scholarships to area youth, they make donations to Special Olympics, the veterans home in Grand Island and the local fire department. They also use money they raise to help the families of veterans when they are in need.
The yearly scholarship is given to a Wauneta-Palisade graduate, this year’s winner is yet to be determined.
Two years ago the group raised money to purchase new American flags to be flown on Wauneta’s streets. These flags are now used on all nationally recognized holidays.
Local VFW history
Carl Williams, VFW Post 7996 Commander, says there’s a lot of history within the Wauneta VFW founding member list.
Leland DeHart, one of the founding members, completed 50 missions during World War II. The founding member list is a source of pride and reverence for local members. Even Williams, who is not a Wauneta native, beams with pride when reading through the list of founding members.
Williams said that Junior Knotwell was a “mover and shaker” for Wauneta’s VFW for years. “He was a veteran’s veteran,” said Williams.
“I enjoyed working with Junior, I learned a lot from him. Junior was the commander of the local VFW. When we lost him we lost a lot,” he said.
Williams also spoke of William Jeffries, who served as the Chase County Veterans Service Officer and how he had done so much for local veterans.
History of National VFW
The origins of the national VFW group can be traced back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection started local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service.
The groups eventually banded together and later became known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Initially chapters were formed in Colorado, Ohio, and Pennsylvania but quickly gained momentum.
By 1916 membership had grown to 5,000; by 1936 membership was almost 200,000.
Since then, the VFW has been an instrumental voice in establishing the Veterans Administration, creating a GI bill for this century, development of the national cemetery system and the fight for veterans exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam and those diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome.
Now, VFW membership has grown to 2.1 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliary.
Series on local service organizations and clubs
This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting service organizations and community clubs in the Wauneta area. The purpose of the series is to inform the public of what local organizations are doing for the community and how they can help.
At the end of the series, Breeze readers will be asked to vote for their favorite organization or club. The organization or club receiving the most votes will be given a $50 donation to use towards the project of its choice.