Veterans of Foreign Wars organization supports veterans, families through efforts

The+proceeds+from+Veterans+of+Foreign+Wars%27+monthly+Saturday+breakfast+buffet+go+to+supporting+local+veteran+programs+in+the+Huntington+area.
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Veterans of Foreign Wars organization supports veterans, families through efforts

The proceeds from Veterans of Foreign Wars' monthly Saturday breakfast buffet go to supporting local veteran programs in the Huntington area.

The proceeds from Veterans of Foreign Wars' monthly Saturday breakfast buffet go to supporting local veteran programs in the Huntington area.

Blake Newhouse

The proceeds from Veterans of Foreign Wars' monthly Saturday breakfast buffet go to supporting local veteran programs in the Huntington area.

Blake Newhouse

Blake Newhouse

The proceeds from Veterans of Foreign Wars' monthly Saturday breakfast buffet go to supporting local veteran programs in the Huntington area.

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Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars attempt to help those who have sacrificed their lives for their country with their monthly Saturday breakfast buffet, with all the proceeds going to support local veteran programs in the Huntington area.

The transition from coming back from a war zone can be overwhelming for many of those who have sacrificed their lives for their country, which is why the VFW continues its numerous programs that provide support for those who have served overseas. Over the years, VFW auxiliaries, which are made up of immediate family members of combat veterans, have raised a total of $4.6 million in aid to veterans, active-duty military and their families in all 50 states.

Linda Smith, president of the VFW 9738 Auxiliary, has made it her goal to help those individuals in as many ways possible. 

“A lot of people think the VFW is just a bar for old people, but these programs allow us to show them that it’s not,” Smith said. “Everyone who is here at the VFW has joined to help our veterans. You are doing this work for your family members who have served, and you have a personal connection with it.”

Smith said she has a deep connection to those who have served in combat after her boyfriend lost his life in the Vietnam War when he was 18 years old.

“Our motto here at the VFW is ‘uncommon support for unwavering heroes,’ and that is what we do,” Smith said. “We support our veterans, because without them, we would not be able to vote, we wouldn’t be a free country and we wouldn’t be able to say what we want to, whether it is right, wrong or indifferent.”

One of the major projects that VFW posts across the country support is the National Home for Children.

Founded in 1925 for children who lost their parents in combat, the National Home for Children expanded to helping not only children, but veterans and their families as well. Recognizing that the effects of war can last for generations, the National Home for Children provides housing, education and basic needs free of charge to those who have experienced trauma overseas for up to four years.

“All of their needs are met, and they have numerous programs on-site in the community to help in any way they can,” Smith said.

Currently, the VFW in Huntington has 210 members, one of which is John Carpenter, a Huntington resident and U.S. Army combat veteran.

“This post does a great job at building a community of veterans. Patriotism, Americanism and loyalty to your country are all a major part of this post,” Carpenter said. “They are a bunch of veteran organizations, and they are all different in their own way, but our organization is really an extension of our military service. It’s an honor to be a part of it because the VFW does quite a bit of good for the community.”

One issue that the VFW is currently focused on is suicide prevention. A 2018 report published by the Department of Veteran Affairs shows that an average of 20 veterans commit suicide each day in the United States, with 14 out of the 20 never receiving treatment from the VA. 

“We are trying to help as much as we can with suicide prevention,” Smith said. “We have to work for our veterans to try and make their lives a little easier. They have put their lives on the line for us, and the least we could do is help them with the things that they need.”

Blake Newhouse can be contacted at [email protected]

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