Five Questions: Commanding Presence
Q: The flags are now flying in front of the post at the new memorial and the memorial itself seems to be progressing. When will it be finished?
A: The short answer is as soon a possible. I can't give an exact date, but I would certainly like to see it completed this summer. When it's 95 percent done, we'll set a date for a dedication service.
We've had a lot of volunteer work and donations and have been fortunate in the support we've received from people like Monte Freeman of Freeman Concrete Construction.
Q: How are you raising money for the memorial?
A: We still have our brick sale. Right now, people can get a personalized inscribed brick for $40. When we lay the interior, we will raise the price to $50. That's a motivation for people to buy the bricks now, and it's less work before we lay the interior because we won't have to go back and remove a blank brick and replace it with a personalized brick.
To order a brick, people can certainly stop by or call the post at 585-1100 or download an order form from our Web site at www.vfwpost6654.org.
Q: What will the memorial look like?
A: We're going to have cast white stone masonry. We're going to have service emblems, or some people call them seals, for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. On the side columns will be a VFW emblem and on the opposite side a POW/MIA emblem. Those bronze emblems are already purchased and were our biggest expense. We do need to order the lettering that wraps around the wall.
Q: The De Soto post seems to be thriving in an era when many local veterans’ posts are struggling. What accounts for your success?
A: For the second year in a row, we've meet or exceeded our goal of 100 percent membership from the year before.
Our recipe for success is reaching across generational lines. We don't have a problem as some posts do with older members passing on leadership to younger members. And we have growing and active Men's and Ladies Auxiliary.
Q: It appears to be a very active post.
A: We work the programs of the VFW to get out in the community. In addition to all the other things the post does, De Soto is the only post (in Kansas) to achieve 100 percent in membership and complete the 10 category 1 programs established by the state VFW, for example Voice of Democracy Scholarship, Patriot Pen essay contest and nominating a Teacher of the Year, Firefighter of the Year and others.