As it turns 100, VFW looking to recruit a few good members

ContributedVeterans of Foreign Wars Post 519 distributed custom 100th anniversary coins to those attending a centennial celebration earlier this month. Commander Ben Lewis, standing, presented the first coin to the post’s oldest living member, Dallas Schull, a World War II veteran, seated.

GROVE CITY – As the Cpl. Claire Van Eman Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 519 in Grove City marks 100 years, club leaders are hoping that new members join the organization.

There are about 100 members right now, though they’re not all active, said Jim McClelland, post adjutant.

Some of the older members who served in World War II and the Korean War are passing away, so it’s time to build up membership with younger veterans who can help lead the club. 

“That’s nationwide,” McClelland said of the issue.

The VFW is a service organization that gives back to the community, and its members are veterans who served in combat overseas.

There are also social members – some of the VFW’s income comes from bar and food sales – and an auxiliary group, which organized the anniversary celebration.

Post 519 has had several different homes over the past 100 years. It was at West Main and South Broad streets in Grove City, where Dunkin’ built restaurant a few years ago.

The VFW used to share a building there with the American Legion at one point, McClelland said.

In 1947, the VFW moved up West Main to a spot that used to be the site of the old Ketler home. Its most recent use was Rite Aid.

The VFW opened its current location at 220 Blair St. in 1992; the property was once a broom factory.

McClellend, who served with the Air Force during the Vietnam War, has been a VFW member for about 10 years.

He got his start with the VFW after being asked to carry the flag as part of the Honor Guard in a parade.

And while the VFW is known for participating in events like parades, most of their work is behind the scenes, he said.

Along with the American Legion, local VFW members place flags on veterans’ graves across Mercer County for Memorial Day.

They also donate funds to youth organizations, take part in school programs, and talk to students about what it means to be a veteran.

Being part of the VFW is a continuation of military service, and the members are thankful for community support, McClelland said.

“You’re part of something that’s much bigger than yourself,” he said.