Local VFW Post displays ‘exceptional commitment’

Kevin Boozer Staff Writer

August 28, 2013

RIDGEWAY — This July the Veterans Foreign Wars Post No. 8346 and Ladies Auxiliary of Ridgeway received the Veterans of Foreign Wars Outstanding Community Service Post Award.

This year 68 posts from across the nation received the award. The Ridgeway chapter placed first out of the 66 posts in South Carolina and received recognition at its National Convention in Kentucky. The post performed 6,057 hours of community service and provided $10,880.59 in funding toward that work.

Those hours were among the 11.9 million hours of community service, valued at over $263 million performed by VFW volunteers in the last year.

Post 8346 sent packages to active duty soldiers from this area and placed flags on the graves of area veterans for Memorial Day. The operation at Fort Jackson cemetery involved placing 2,000 flags on the graves and then removing the flags the following day. Members also attended the Veteran’s Day program hosted by the Fairfield County School District.

The group is 124 veterans strong.

“Any eligible veterans in the area are welcome to come join us and help with these projects,” VFW member Bob Levangie said. “Veterans can enjoy comradeship with others that served. We also have a Men’s and Women’s Auxiliaries that are for family members of those that served.”

VFW 8346 offers weekly line dancing classes, exercise classes twice a week and monthly dances. The dances and exercise classes are open to the public. In the fall the VFW hosts weekly turkey shoots for youth. They give out Christmas baskets, make visits to the elderly and to veterans and provide transportation for veterans to receive medical care if needed.

The group recently extended its building to provide room for a pool table, Wii gaming and a dart board. They hope to hold tournaments there in the future. It the past they also have provided children with a fun day and once had Santa delivered via helicopter.

“Through our community service program, we help build a better, stronger, America and we fulfill our commitment to serve America’s veterans and their families,” said John E. Hamilton, commander in chief of the VFW. “This Post has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to their community. Their exemplary service is an example to citizens across this great nation.”

The Ridgeway VFW hours of operations are from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. After Sept. 13 the building will open Saturdays, too. Members of the public can attend if a VFW member sponsors them. To become a member of the VFW or of the Women’s or Men’s Auxiliary, contact Commander Bill Walker at 803-526-2388.

Worldwide there are over 2 million VFW members and auxiliary members located at approximately 7,300 posts.

In addition to community service effort, the VFW assists veterans and their families to obtain veterans’ entitlements and other service for the well being of those serving on active duty in the National Guard and Reserves.