MANY PEOPLE think that when veterans leave the military, they are done serving. In Manchester, they couldn’t be more wrong. This past year, VFW Post 10904 earned its fourth consecutive All-American designation – an award given to those posts that outstandingly serve their veterans and their community. Retired Navy Chief and commander of the Manchester post Kimberly King said that the local VFW performed far beyond the requirements of a rarely achieved award.
“Last year, for example, our state had seven posts out of 89 that earned the title. This year, they’ve had 13 out of 89,” King said. “[Our district] finished in first place, nationally, in our division.”
The requirements for the designation include submitting essays to two essay contests, and an optional category of Teacher of the Year. Instead of the minimum one in each category, the Old Stone Fort VFW submitted 84 total entries for the essay contests, and three for the Teacher of the Year category. All three teachers won at the district level, and one at state. The biggest achievement, however, was in community service.
“They also consider how much work and volunteer hours and money you’re providing to the community, and we really blew that out of the water,” King said. “We had almost 6,500 hours reported.”
“The post also donated over $62,000,” King said, “and is doing much better than average for posts around the country.”
One big thing that the Manchester VFW does is put on all patriotic events in the county, aside from the Fourth of July. They have also partnered with organizations like the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans, and they support everything from retirement homes to scouting programs. King said one of the reasons veterans work so much is because of their continued desire to serve – even after retirement.
“Your heart still wants to serve your country badly, cause none of us are very old when we stop doing this,” King said. “Well this allows us to continue that in a different form or fashion by partnering up with the other veterans or people that served, and then collectively we go out and do things in the public.”
King said the camaraderie of a VFW post is very important, because that is something many get used to in the military. Any veteran is welcome to join.
“We’re there to support each other,” King said. “It could just be family needs, or your family is sick, or there’s a funeral… it’s a lot of things.”
The connection, both within the post and with the community, has allowed it to blossom. This past fiscal year, post 10904 won the VFW National Award of Merit, the Department of Tennessee Community Service Award, and its fifth VFW Department of Tennessee All-State Award. Those are only a few of the many awards it has won since its founding in 1990. For more information or the complete list of awards, the Manchester VFW post can be found online at www.vfwpost10904.com. GN