2021 Texas VFW Winter Magazine

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Official Magazine of the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars

p16 M I D - W I N T E R C O N V E N T I O N Omni Hotel Corpus Christi & USS Lexington

INSIDE Community Highlights

Pearl Harbor Day


Operation Enduring Freedom

Mid-Winter Convention


Recognition of Women in the Military

Voice of Democracy/ Patriot’s Pen/ Teacher Awards

Veterans Day


Texas Legal Proudly Serves Veterans.

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Thank You for Serving Our Country.




Hurricane Relief, 100th Birthday Celebrations, Homeless Veteran Initiatives

State Commander’s Column


Community Highlights


Start of Operation Enduring Freedom


Community Highlights


12 Veterans Day Around Texas


Pearl Harbor Day Remembrances


Mid-Winter Convention Highlights

18 Voice of Democracy Top Ten Winners

19 Voice of Democracy First Place Winning Essay


21 Patriot’s Pen Winners/First Place Winning Essay


Recognition of Women in the Military

Veterans Day Highlights from Around Texas

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Voice of Democracy 11-22 Place Winners/Teacher Awards

22 Texas VFW Foundation Update 23

Texas VFW BBQ & Chili Team Upcoming Schedule


Christmas Community Highlights


United States Veterans Service Dogs


What We Do, Who We Are, What We Stand For


Texas VFW Membership Application


Texas VFW Post 8904, Center, Remembers Pearl Harbor Day


Mid-Winter Convention Highlights

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Texasvfw.org > News > Calendar



• Operation Enduring Freedom

2021 Annual Convention

• Recognition of Women in the Military

Send Community Highlight stories and photos to terri@texasvfw.org for magazine and Facebook consideration. Thank you for your submissions.

• Signing of the WWI Armistice • Veterans Day • Pearl Harbor Day

ON THE COVER Texas VFW holds its 2021 Mid-Winter Convention at the Omni Hotel, Corpus Christi, Texas, and for the first time ever holds its Awards Banquet aboard the USS Lexington. Left photo: Texas VFW Honor Guard gets photo bombed by Jr. Vice Commander Lynn Toomer. Right photo: Front and center are Commander Dick Shawver and Auxiliary President Ramona Henson at their reception held at the Omni Hotel.

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SERVING VETERANS SINCE 1899 What Does the Texas VFW Offer You?

Camaraderie with Fellow Veterans • Community Networking & Involvement • Remembrance Programs • Full Time Support of Today’s Service Members • Programs for Families and Youth • Full Time Watchdog on Capitol Hill and at the Texas Legislature • Free Representation in VA Claims • An Award-Winning Magazine Contributions: Letters, manuscripts, stories, materials or photographs are welcomed, but cannot be returned unless sender provides SASE. Texas VFW will not be responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and drawings. Submission of articles and letters implies the right to edit and publish all or in part. Please send your comments, suggestions, and ideas to: Texas VFW, PO Box 14468, Austin, Texas 78761 or email to terri@texasvfw.org. Opinions expressed herein are those of the writers and not to be construed as those of the publisher nor as official views of the Texas VFW, the National VFW or any of its agencies, unless otherwise made manifest by writers or spokespersons acting on behalf of the foregoing. Advertising of products and services herein does not imply endorsement or approval of the Texas VFW. Advertising is accepted on the premise that the merchandise and services are accurately described. Ads that contain fraudulent, deceptive or misleading statements or illustrations, or in the opinion of the Texas VFW News may be offensive, are not knowingly accepted. If you encounter noncompliance, please tell us. For information regarding: Unit reunions, general orders, taps, District meetings and other topics, please visit www.texasvfw.org. Join us on Facebook for up-to-date information, photos of VFW events and breaking news relevant to veterans. Flippable online version of this magazine is available at www.texasvfw.org/news.


https://texasvfw.smugmug.com (See photos and videos from past events here.)

The Official Publication of the Department of Texas, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Texas VFW News (USPS 008-177). Periodicals Postage Paid at Austin, Texas and additional mailing offices. Subscription price is $30.00. Published four times per year by the Department of Texas, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., 8503 North IH-35, Austin, Texas 78753 Volume 75, Number 3, © FEBRUARY 2021. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Circulation Dept., VFW, 406 W. 34th St., Kansas City, MO 64111. Members Change of Address: Forward address changes to: Data Entry, VFW, 406 W. 34th St., Kansas City, MO 64111. Be sure to furnish your old address, also your Post number, when requesting change to new address. To ensure accuracy, please clip and enclose your present address as printed on a recent copy of the Texas VFW News magazine. Advertisers: Electronic Media Kit available at www.texasvfw.org/news, or request one from terri@texasvfw.org. Dan West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Editor Terri Sheets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Graphic Designer/Co-Editor Wyonda Laurence/Kim Foster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Proofreaders Department Headquarters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (512) 834-8535

2020-21 DEPARTMENT OFFICERS Commander Adjutant/Quartermaster Sr Vice Jr Vice Judge Advocate Surgeon Chaplain Chief-of-Staff Inspector Immediate Past Cmdr Data Mgmt Specialist Assistant Adjutant Assistant Quartermaster Deputy State Inspector Deputy State Inspector Deputy State Inspector Deputy State Inspector Deputy State Inspector Deputy State Inspector Officer of the Day National Council Member

3893 3413 4816 10429 3278 6796 4008 2059 1475 3278 10427 4443 9078 2775 6970 8551 7835 3892 3278 3413 3413

Richard “Dick” Shawver Dan West Norman Macey Lynn Toomer Keith King Gerard “Jerry” Greene Allen “Al” Lowe Robert Martinez, Jr. Roy Grona Keith King John M. Jowers Angel Ramirez Wayne Cooley Kevin Bost John E. Shipley Glenn J. James Eddie L. Terry Anson Booker James Masters Lonnie Garza Dan West

19151 Valley Drive, Flint, TX 75762 8503 N IH-35, Austin, TX 78753 16907 Caldwell Pointe Ct., Humble, TX 77346 937 Behrens Ct., Crowley, TX 76036 2406 Belmeade St., Brownwood, TX 76801 10523 Ferguson Rd., Dallas, TX 75228 1 Roy Bean Dr., Belton, TX 76513 314 Shadwell Drive, San Antonio, TX 78228 2204 S. Ong St., Amarillo, TX 79109 2406 Belmeade St., Brownwood, TX 76801 8503 N IH-35, Austin, TX 78753 8503 N IH-35, Austin, TX 78753 8503 N IH-35, Austin, TX 78753 165 Greathouse St., Vidor, TX 77662 905 Schuettig Rd., Poteet, TX 78065 235 Primrose Road, Freeport, TX 77541 5700 Westview Ct., Tolar, TX 76476 122 East Iowa Dr., Harker Heights, TX 76548 7800 FM 2125, Brownwood, TX 76801 2555 Smokey Creek, Schertz, TX 78154 8503 N IH-35, Austin, TX 78753

DEPARTMENT VETERANS COUNSELORS Houston — Terry “Mike” Eshenbaugh Waco — Katina Cryer

281-825-6749 254-326-8130

terry.eshenbaugh@tvc.texas.gov katina.cryer@tvc.texas.gov





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DISTRICT POST COMMANDER 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 24 25 28 29 30

2772 2775 1406 2427 8800 8932 6873 2466 9173 5873 688 9191 8878 880 4692 10712 9313 9174 7835 4403 6284 10427 4694 4376

Katie Baillio Robert LaFleur James E. Briggs Stephen E. Biehl Gregory P. “Greg” Brannan Henry Escobedo Melvin Harper Stephen “Steve” N. Evans Jose “Joe” Vargas, Jr. Larry D. Levy Andrew Camplen Carlo S. Davis Carl G. Lilly Michael S. Caballero John E. Velasquez Loren F. Pogue Henry “Paul” Lester Armando P. Gonzales Duane P. Shepard John F. “Jack” Mageluzzo Melvin “Mel” R. Parker David “Dave” A. Walden Christopher B. Davis William J. Fuzi


412 E. Shephard St., Denison, TX 75021 3528 Whippoorwill St., Orange, TX 77630 1056 Magnolia Lane, Cedar Hill, TX 75104 28314 Hardin Store Road, Magnolia, TX 77354 105 Canyon Dr., Canyon Lake, TX 78133 2106 Meadowgrove Dr., Corpus Christi, TX 78414 4709 Oak Knoll St., Abilene, TX 79606 5504 75th Street, Lubbock, TX 79424 10436 Tomwood Avenue, El Paso, TX 79925 7490 Daniels Chapel Rd., New Boston, TX 75570 PO Box 688, Boerne, TX 78006 3205 Eagle Ridge, Harker Heights, TX 76548 433 Bryan Road, Sunset, TX 79270 4410 Ave. P ½, Galveston, TX 77550 4988 Winding Creek, College Station, TX 77845 PO Box 96, Pharr, TX 78577 2589 FM 1751, San Augustine, TX 75972 106 Moon Valley St., San Antonio, TX 78227 1713 County Road 321, Glen Rose, TX 76043” 1003 N. Benavides St., Port Lavaca, TX 77979 5305 Clinton Avenue, Odessa, TX 79762 4309 Silverhill Dr., Lago Vista, TX 78645 262 Private Road 5245A, Mexia, TX 76667 15356 County Road 2501, Eustace, TX 75124

STATE COMMANDER’S COLUMN A s u c c e s s f u l M i d -W i n t e r C o nve n t i o n h as c o m e t o p as s Firstly, I would like to thank AQ Dan West and the Austin staff for a fantastic Mid-Winter. To be able to put this event together on such short notice was amazing. A lot of the prep work was done at home due to the Travis County guidelines. Except for the room problems, which the AQ had no control over, everything ran very smoothly. The Voice of Democracy banquet was the best one I’ve been to in over twenty years — and everything associated with the USS Lexington and the banquet went on without a problem. Again, thanks to Dan and the Staff for a great Mid-Winter! The Commander in Chief stated in his remarks that the 2019-2020 team was blindsided by the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and weren’t prepared for it. The 2020-2021 team knew about the virus, knew what we were getting into, and we still accepted the positions that we were elected or appointed to. However, some of us are using COVID-19 as an excuse not to do the work that needs to be done. In the by-laws it reads that we are to “Preserve and Strengthen Comradeship among its member,” “To Assist Worthy Comrades,” “To Perpetuate the Memory and History of our Dead” and to Assist their Surviving Spouses.” How may I ask are we going to do this when we are hiding behind the COVID-19 virus? The Commander in Chief asked a

question at the Council of Administration meeting and it was “who are you held accountable to?” It’s not me as your State Commander or the Line Officers, nor is it the District Commanders. The answer is: you are accountable to yourself. We need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves “Am I doing the best that I am capable of doing?” As for me, I know I’m not doing the best I can do and that will change over the next 5 months. COVID-19 will no longer be used as an excuse not to do the work we need to do. I know that there are still hot spots in the state of Texas but what are we doing to help them? Are we making phone calls to our Veterans and checking up on them and helping when needed? It’s time to start thinking outside the box and adapt and overcome. Comrades let’s start moving forward, working “Together as One” and show the world that “No One Does More for Veterans than the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars.” May God Bless each and every one of you, May God Bless our Troops, especially those in harm’s way, and May God Bless the United States of America.

Yours in comradeship,

Dick Shawver Commander’s and President’s Reception at the Omni Hotel, Corpus Christi, held Thursday, January 21, 2021. Commander Shawver (center) poses with his line officers: Sr. Vice Commander Norm Macey (left) and Jr. Vice Commander Lynn Toomer (right).

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Texas VFW Post 1406, Dallas Commander Reggie Williams, Comrades Kennard Bowen, Percy Green, Jr., Victor Spencer, Richard Batiste, and Henry White, along with over 120 members of the community, participate in a 100th Birthday celebration for Army Specialist Leonard Jackson on October 21, 2020, at the Aya Senior Village Living Facility, Dallas, Texas.

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Commander Williams presented Jackson with a U.S. Flag and a framed Veterans of Foreign Wars Certificate for Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service in furthering the Aims and Ideals of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States of America. Specialist Jackson served under the command of General Patton and has no living relatives. The Post adopted him and promised to be there for him in any capacity needed moving forward. VFW Post 1406 says it was a “true honor” to help celebrate Specialist Jackson’s 100 years of life and his service to our great country and to be able to spearhead this special community project.

Texas VFW Post 12178, Weslaco

After Louisiana was hit severely hard by back to back tropical storms in October 2020, Texas VFW Post 12178, Weslaco, members stepped up to collect thousands of dollars worth of donations and goods over a two-week period, providing over 200+ hours of work and traveling over 2,000+ miles to Louisiana and back to deliver loads of food, household goods, water, cleaning supplies, masks, sanitizer and bedding.


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Thank you to Texas VFW Post 4746, Weatherford, for the contributions to your community!

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Texas VFW Post 4746, Weatherford Maria S. Sexton, Adjutant and Service Officer, assists in the coordination of a 100th Birthday “Drive By Parade” for a WWII Navy Veteran Mrs. Myrtle “Tippy” Foster who turned 100 years old on December 23, 2020. Other veteran organizations from the area helped with the planning and were invited to attend. Commander Pat Clark, Auxiliary President Amy Clark, Post and Auxiliary members were in attendance. Photo credits Rick Irving and Comrade Maria Sexton.

The Post launches an initiative to assist Comrade Andy Morales in his efforts to help homeless in the communities of Weatherford and River Oaks, Texas. Post and Auxiliary members gave over $1,000 in donations by providing blankets, socks, sweaters, food and many other items. Comrade Morales logged in over 60 hours of outreach for this effort. He is a 9-year veteran of the US Army and served several stints overseas. In his retirement, he felt a calling to reach out to the homeless. Andy is an encouraging and inspiring member of not only the Texas VFW but of the community.

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Start of


Texas VFW Post 3895, La Joya Post members gather for lunch in observance of the Start of Operation Enduring Freedom followed by a game of Trivia Pursuit.

Texas VFW Post 1406, Dallas Commander Reggie Williams joins other District 3 VFW leadership in honoring and commemorating Operation Enduring Freedom. L-R: District 3 Commander James Briggs, Past District 3 Commander Keith Kelm, VFW Post 1406 Commander and current District 3 Jr. Vice Commander Reggie Williams, and State Surgeon and VFW Post 6796 Commander Gerard Greene. Seated is District 3 Sr. Vice Commander and current Post 7843 Commander Ricky Williams.

Texas VFW Post 10376, Marble Falls Members of the Post and its Auxiliary meet with younger members of the Post to listen to their experiences in combat. A number of discussions were enjoyed. Many thanks to the younger members for sharing their stories. Soft drinks and sandwiches were served.


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Texas VFW Post 6719, Raymondville Members remember the Start of Operation Enduring Freedom with a moment of silence.

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Texas VFW Post 8526, Rio Grande City

Post Commander speaks with youth about his involvement in Operation Enduring Freedom.

To celebrate Veterans Day, CEO of Hometown Hero, Lukas Gilkey, invited local DAV and VFW representatives to come out and visit its facility for a check presentation of $25,000, split 50/50 between both critical organizations. The funds are earmarked for veterans assistance through the Texas VFW Foundation.

A Congressional Veteran Commendation presentation was given to Texas VFW Adjutant/ Quartermaster Dan West on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, by U.S. Congressman John R. Carter, 31st District of Texas at his Round Rock, Texas office. Congratulations, Dan!

Texas VFW headquarters receives a donation of 200 bottles of hand sanitizer from Blizzard, a gaming company who hires veterans. Thank you for your generosity!

Fuller Named Leander “Citizen of the Year” Mitch Fuller of Texas VFW Post 10427, Leander, and former member of the Texas Army National Guard receives the Leander Chamber of Commerce “Citizen of the Year Award” in a ceremony held on October 8, 2020, in Leander, Texas. Mitch works as a Senior Consultant for J.L. Powers and Associates, currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Leander Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and represents Williamson County as an Ambassador for the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). Congratulations! (article courtesy of the National Guard Association of Texas).

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Recognition of WOMEN in MILITARY SERVICE O C T O B E R 18

Texas VFW Post 2195, Allen Commander Pete Hersom honors “Women in Military Service Day” with a short presentation at the Army National Guard Armory in Wylie, Texas, to members of H Company, 949 FSB.

Texas VFW Post 7873, Pottsboro Texas VFW Post 3892, Harker Heights Comrade Lynda Nash, Life Member and Women’s Veterans Committee Chair, shares the history of female veterans in the United States Military.

The Lake Texoma Post holds a joint program between members and Auxiliary for its Recognition of Women in the Military program. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing, the program was held outside at the entrance to its Post home.

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Texas VFW Post 12178, Weslaco The women veteran members from the Post celebrate Recognition of Women in the Military by visiting the women’s veteran area of the War Memorial in McAllen, Texas, and read the contributions of past service women including the Women’s Army Corps.


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Candidate for Department of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars

2021-2022 State Chaplain Angel Ramirez, a Gold Legacy Life Member of the Highland Hill Post 4443 in Austin, Texas, was hired as State Assistant Adjutant at the Department of Texas VFW Headquarters on March 1, 2020. A VFW member since 2013, Comrade Ramirez served as Post Judge Advocate, Post Adjutant, Post Surgeon and District Adjutant in District 28 from 2015-2018. He has also served as the Veterans Assistance Program Coordinator and National Certified Service Officer at the Texas VFW Foundation from March 2013 to March 2020. Angel has been a VBA accredited VFW Service Officer since 2015. Comrade Ramirez also was appointed National Aidede-Camp Special Recruiter 2015-2016, National Aide-de-Camp 2018-2019 and National Aide-de Camp 2020-2021. Comrade Ramirez served in the United States Army from 1977 to 1997. He earned the Army Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation

Medal 4th Award, Army Achievement Medal 3rd Award, Army Occupation Medal, National Defense Medal, Korea Defense Medal, Noncommission Officers Development Ribbon with Numeral Number 2, Overseas Ribbon 2nd Award, Expert Field Medical Badge, Sharpshooter Pistol Badge, Expert Marksman Badge with Rifle, Expert Marksman Badge with Grenade. He is married to Elisia Ramirez from Austin, Texas and has two children and two grandchildren who also reside in Austin, Texas.

Why am I running for State Chaplain?

“Servitude and Humanity; I love helping people. I live by the mantra of ‘Duty, Obligation and Responsibility.’ Every day, I wake with the intent of helping veterans and their families. I am my ‘brother’s keeper’ and want to inspire others to do the same.”

Remember to treat others as you would like to be treated. “Don’t Criticize; Inspire!”

Supporting Our Veterans

“Neighbors Helping Neighbors” Insuring Texas Homes, Farms, and Ranches Since 1901 1-800-792-3084 rvos.com W i n t e r 2 0 2 1 Te x a s V F W M a g a z i n e


VETERANS DAY November 11

Texas VFW Post 1806, Beaumont Chaplain Timothy Winburg explains the meaning of Veterans Day to this inquisitive young man.

Texas VFW Post 8397, San Antonio

Texas VFW Post 9313, San Augustine

Members honor veterans at a Veterans Day Ceremony held at the Post.

Members set a wreath at the Veterans Monument at the San Augustine County Courthouse in honor of Veterans Day 2020.

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Texas VFW Post 6873, Abilene

The Post celebrates Veterans Day at the Abilene Texas Veterans Day Parade.


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Texas VFW Post 5872, Fairfield

Texas VFW Post 7104, Brenham Members and guests gathered for breakfast at the Post in remembrance of Veterans Day. Commander Ben Seeker and Treasurer Chace “Ski” Krzenski were interviewed by local radio station KTEX 106.1.

Post members met in front of the Freestone County Courthouse to honor our nation’s veterans. The Post Commander, Roger Brooke, opened the Veterans Day ceremonies by welcoming the community members in attendance and addressing the purpose of the occasion. The Post Quartermaster, Arne Henderson, delivered brief comments on the symbolism of the red, white and blue colors of the U.S. Flag and praised the men and women of this community and throughout the nation who answered our country’s call to military duty and served as the “strength of that flag.” He further noted that the VFW membership in Fairfield and throughout the nation includes men and women who have served overseas in many wars under the U.S. Flag to preserve American freedoms. In conclusion, he stated that those who serve in the military may well

be considered the “true guardians of freedom, justice, and equality.” The Post Chaplain, Morris Keeton, gave a heartfelt prayer and at the end of the ceremony, the Post Commander stood the membership at attention to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. Flag which marked the end of the ceremony. On the same day, several of the Post membership participated in a Veterans Day parade in downtown Teague. They rode on a Veterans Float from the Veterans Memorial Park in Teague to the downtown area and back. The float made several stops along the way to present small U.S. Flags to citizens and onlookers along the route. They were greeted by enthusiastic applause and shouts of “Thank you for your service.” H

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Texas VFW Post 8248, La Marque Post members read the Proclamation and discuss what was in the minds of our leaders during this event. In attendance were Post Commander, Senior Vice Commander, Quartermaster, Two Trustees, and a host of veterans.

Texas VFW Post 12024, The Woodlands Commander Barbier presents a Pearl Harbor Day reading via Zoom meeting December 7, 2020. Members in attendance were E. J. (Pat) Barbier, Everett Ison, Alan Atkkins, Don Viningre, Ronald Peters, Jim Bolin and Harlen Thornhill.

Texas VFW Post 7207, Alpine The Post attends a Pearl Harbor Day program following the regular Post meeting on December 2, 2020. Pictured are District 25 Commander Melvin Parker, Post Commander Omar Parara, Adjutant Robert Polanco, Quartermaster Roger Amis and Judge Advocate Ambrosio Valles.

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Texas VFW Post 6719, Raymondville Post members remember Pearl Harbor day with a short moment of silence at the Post and also pay tribute to U.S. Navy veterans by visiting the cemetery.


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Texas VFW Post 8552, Del Rio The Post holds a Pearl Harbor Day ceremony welcoming all veterans, family, and the community. Taps was played, a prayer was given, followed by a reading on Pearl Harbor Day. Everyone enjoyed a meal together afterwards.

2020-21 Texas VFW Mid-Winter Convention

January 21-24, 2021

Photos from the convention and awards banquet are available for free download at https://texasvfw.smugmug.com


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by Dan West, State Adjutant/Quartermaster

Adapt, overcome and improvise…again and again. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Texas VFW out of its usual Mid-Winter Convention location in Austin, Texas — and with only two month’s notice to find another location — they were fortunate enough to have obtained a booking at the Omni Corpus Christi for the Mid-Winter Convention as well as aboard the USS Lexington for its Awards Banquet which recognizes Teachers, Patriot’s Pen Winner and Voice of Democracy Scholarship Winners from across the state. In attendance were National Commander-in-Chief Hal Roesch and National Auxiliary President Sandra Onstwedder who provided inspiring speeches about the importance of what the VFW and Auxiliary does every day to help support veterans in communities across America and overseas. In addition to the National VFW guests of honor, there were also five out of state guests in attendance who were given a little taste of what Texas VFW hospitality is all about. Unfortunately, two days before the start of the event the government commandeered 135 of the rooms for first responders fighting on the front lines against COVID-19. Whereas this was recognized as an understandable necessity, many of its members had long-standing reservations for those rooms and it created quite the chaos in trying to secure overflow locations and last-minute shuttle transportation. When asked about the hotel room situation State Adjutant/Quartermaster Dan West said “Blame cannot be pinned on any one person for what happened, but I will take sole responsibility for ensuring it doesn’t ever happen again. My sincere apologies to those who were displaced or misled about their room availability.” With over 700 people in attendance, Nueces County and the City of Corpus Christi required the Texas

VFW to implement COVID-19 Health Safety Protocols requiring every person attending to wear a mask, social distance and wash hands frequently while inside the Omni Hotel and also while aboard the USS Lexington. 99.9% of all attendees complied with the health safety protocols and everyone enjoyed themselves even after they were reminded (ad nauseam) to wear their masks while seated. “Adapt, overcome and improvise” as the Marines say, is what the organization and members were forced to practice in order to be able to conduct business and to keep the Texas VFW moving forward. Members of both the VFW and Auxiliary did a great job at adhering to the guidelines. The Awards Banquet was thrown a last-minute curve ball because of COVID restrictions that forced the seating for over 500 guests to be spread out from one hanger bay into two hanger bays leaving a large group sitting in the “back 40.” They also had to change the usual “plated and served” dinner to a “cafeteria-stylecome-get-your-plate-one-table-at-a-time” presented on the very best Chinet plates ever made. Additionally, Texas VFW staff was presented with trying to connect several Voice of Democracy students via Zoom on unfamiliar equipment while encountering a few technical difficulties. Definitely not what the group or attendees are used to for a state banquet — but in the end, everyone survived, got to eat a great meal and were able to still recognize amazing teachers and students. Everyone had good things to say about being aboard the USS Lexington and what a truly special evening it was. Texas VFW would like to thank the tireless efforts of the USS Lexington staff as well as the Omni staff for helping make this an event to remember. H

Carlos Sustaita (center) officially retired from the Texas VFW after 15 years of service as the State Assistant Quartermaster. He served on the front lines in Vietnam as a Mine Sweeper with the 82nd Airborne Division. A special sword was presented to Carlos.

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2020-21 Texas VFW Mid-Winter Convention

Voice of Democracy Top Ten Winners

This year, 1,787 students participated in the Voice of Democracy program. $187,140 in awards were given plus $52,439 in expenses for a total spent on the program of $239,579.

(Joined via Zoom) 1st Place | $10,000

Jacqueline R. Halldorsson

2nd Place | $8,000

(Joined via Zoom) 3rd Place | $7,000

4th Place | $6,000

V-Sweeps Scholarship

Texas VFW Foundation Scholarship

Grace A. Ross

Allyssa E. Standifer Department of Texas VFW Scholarship

Per Stirling Capital Management Scholarship

SPONSOR District 20, Post 8541 San Antonio, Texas

SPONSOR District 2, Post 1806 Beaumont, Texas

SPONSOR District 12, Post 3990 Paris, Texas

SPONSOR District 9, Post 2466 Lubbock, Texas

6th Place | $5,000

7th Place | $5,000

Ethan M. House

Ashley Nicole Chavez

Thomas “Doc” Howard Post 3359, Garland, Texas, Memorial Scholarship * SPONSOR District 5, Post 7110 New Braunfels, Texas

District 17 Scholarship SPONSOR District 4, Post 12075 Humble, Texas

Emily S. Hill

5th Place | $5,000

Rory Isabel Dulock

Camp Bowie Post 708/Auxiliary Scholarship * & Robert O. “Bob” Pugh Memorial Scholarship * SPONSOR District 1, Post 1922 Gainesville, Texas

8th Place | $4,000

9th Place | $3,500

(Joined via Zoom) 10th Place | $3,500

Hannah G. Moreno

Tristan Baumgardner

Zachary M. Courreges

SPONSOR District 8, Post 7767 Breckenridge, Texas

SPONSOR District 30, Post 6635 Grand Saline, Texa

SPONSOR District 10, Post 9173 El Paso, Texas

Texas VFW Motorcycle Group Scholarship

VFW Post 8541 AuxiliaryDistrict 20 Scholarship

Adobe Walls VFW Post 1789-Borger Scholarship*

*Denotes perpetual scholarships


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Voice of Democracy Essay 1st Place Winner (2020-21) Jacqueline R. Halldorsson “I s T hi s t he Coun t r y t he Founde r s En v i s ione d ?” THE AMBITIOUS “AMERICAN EXPERIMENT” began nearly 250 years ago at the will of a dozen wig-wearers with a craving for independence, and has since persisted into our present pursuit of liberty, equality, and justice. As we navigate the complexities of modern politics, it is easy to wonder if we have strayed from our founder’s ideals. Is this really the country the founders envisioned? To answer this question, we must consider what exactly these men had in mind for their young country. While these fellows surely were no strangers to disagreement, there are a few common values they all sought to exemplify in the budding nation. Chiefly, the founders sought a country immune to tyranny. With a hefty list of grievances against King George III, these men wanted to decentralize and limit the power of government to prevent the rise of a dictatorship. To ensure this, they instituted a separation of powers with checks and balances. Some argue that this has restricted the scope of government beyond consequential impact, leading to constant gridlock and unreliable social programs. Others would say this has not been emphasized enough, with the position of president growing to encompass overwhelming power and trivial celebrity status. Another intention of the founders, as eloquently asserted by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, was to establish that “all men are created equal.” Yet as we all know, this widely quoted phrase was not truly meant to encompass all people, excluding slaves, women, homosexuals, and other minority groups. The fathers emphasized popular sovereignty and representation, but only to the extent that wealthy and welleducated white men could maintain positions of power. Their so-called inalienable rights certainly became alienable when a black man could be considered the chattel of plantation owner in the South.

equal rights for all people. It is such an unfortunate trick of fate that our current struggles against racism, sexism, xenophobia— and all the other -isms and -phobias you can list—are inexorably intertwined with our country’s deeply rooted, exclusionary history. Lastly, the founders wanted an adaptable government. While they couldn’t possibly imagine the invention of the iPhone or the popularity of a hip-hop musical about one of their lives, these men were wise, forward-thinkers in creating a flexible institution. The “living document” upon which our government is founded is the longest-lasting, most successful Constitution in the world due to its ability to be amended. Nowadays, it is commonplace to become overwhelmed with the constant political discourse and debate in the news. However, the discordant nature of American politics is embedded into our country’s framework. Back then it was Federalists versus AntiFederalists, now it’s Democrats versus Republicans, liberals versus conservatives. This battleground of opinions and the necessity of compromise, whatever your opinions of it may be, is a result of the founder’s anticipation of a changing world with changing attitudes. So, is this country what the founding fathers envisioned? Well, in many ways yes, but in many others, no. From political parties to foreign neutrality to the size of the military, this game of would they/wouldn’t they could continue forever, with compelling arguments for both sides. We can never truly know how our founders would feel about their experiment today, and even so it surely would not be a unanimous opinion. But to be honest with you, I’m uninterested in this game of hypotheticals. More relevantly, I think we should be asking ourselves the following: Are we working towards creating a country our future generations can be proud of? Will they revere us for our audacity and insight the same way we regard the founding fathers? And most importantly—Is this the country we envision for ourselves?

Nowadays, we strive for equality far beyond the founders sought. Americans take great pride in our diversity, and work to ensure

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2020-21 Texas VFW Mid-Winter Convention

Voice of Democracy 11th-22nd Place Winners Aubrey L. Miller of Rockport

Daniel A. Hernandez of McAllen

Madison M. Jones of Fort Worth

Post 3904 – Rockport, District 6 $3,000 Stewart-Wendell VFW Post 3904 Scholarship

Post 8788 – McAllen, District 18 $1,500 VFW Auxiliary Post 8790, Houston Scholarship

Post 8235 – Fort Worth, District 21 $1,000 James “Jeff” Clark Scholarship

Jordan A. Smajstrla of Boerne

Abigail M. Hunt of Dallas

Jacob K. Wachsmuth of Shiner

Post 688 – Boerne, District 13 $3,000 West Brazos VFW Post 8551 and Auxiliary-Sweeny Scholarship & District 16 VFW Auxiliary Scholarship

Post 6796 – Dallas, District 3 $1,000 Paul Hayslip Memorial Scholarship, Spring Branch VFW Post 8790

Post 6209 – Shiner, District 24 $1,000 USAF Chief Master Sgt. Amos Hastings Scholarship

Ivey A. Bassham of Colorado City

Cole R. Wheeler of Lampasas

Post 2676 – Windthorst, District 15 $2,000 RVOS Scholarship

Post 8539 – Lampasas, District 14 $1,000 District 4 Scholarship

Post 6797 – Post, District 25 $1,000 Past State Commander M. John Knapp Scholarship

Hailey B. Routson of West

Tanner C. David of Bellville

Post 4819 – West, District 29 $2,000 Jerome & Irene Henze Scholarship, VFW Post 9213 & Auxiliary

Post 6522 – Bellville, District 17 $1,000 Dallas – Love Field VFW Post 7471 Memorial Scholarship

Patricia K. Castanon of Palacios

Kassie M. Plotts of Groveton

Post 2438 – Bay City, District 16 $1,500 Department of Texas VFW Auxiliary Scholarship

Post 6899 – Trinity, District 19 $1,000 Sidney Pierce VFW Post 4476-Taylor Scholarship

Cade M. Salisbury of Lubbock

Rachel I. Schroder of Coupland Post 6115 – Elgin, District 28 $1,000 VFW Post 10428, Kingsland, and its Auxiliary Scholarship

Smart/Maher Citzenship Teacher of the Year Every year the Texas VFW recognizes an Outstanding Classroom Teacher for Grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. These teachers are selected from nominations received from Posts and Districts throughout Texas. The state winners are then forwarded to National VFW for competition at the National Level.

Grades K-5 Winner

Grades 6-8 Winner

Grades 9-12 Winner

Heather Marie Kaldis

Esther Millette

Ronald Castro

Brenham Elementary, Brenham, Texas Post 7104, Brenham, Texas, District 17

Eula Secondary School, Clyde, Texas Post 6873, Abilene, Texas, District 8

YES Prep Academy – White Oak, Houston, Texas Post 8790, Houston, Texas, District 4


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Patriot’s Pen Essay 1st Place Winner (2020-21) Kate A. Kunkle

“What is Patriotism to Me?” PATRIOTISM IS A VALUED IDEAL IN AMERICA. It symbolizes the respect, love, and passion we have for this country. Patriotism is everywhere; it is in words, in writing, in movement, and in song. We love our country, and we want people to know it. That is why patriotism is valued. Patriotism is honor. It is honor for your country, for your soldiers, and most importantly, it is honor for your home. We show patriotism all the time. When we pledge allegiance to our flag, that is patriotism. When we stand for a moment of silence, that is patriotism. When we sing our nation’s song, that is patriotism. And we do it to honor and remember the men and women who died for their country, for they are true patriots. That is why patriotism is honor. Patriotism is confidence. Confidence that we will come together as a nation, to face any task, to fight any fight, in order to keep our country and our freedom. No matter what happens, we will always be with one another. We will always have a connection

with our home. This is how I know that we have one of the strongest nations in the world. We have bonded with each other, and our land. That is why patriotism is confidence. Patriotism is chosen. We make a choice to honor those who have chosen to fight for our nation. We choose to pledge allegiance, we choose to stand for a moment of silence, we choose to sing our national anthem. All of these things that we do to show respect for our country are done by choice. We do these things to tell people “I am proud to be an American”; to show that we won’t forget the men and women who died to protect our freedom, and those who continue to fight to defend our way of life. We choose to honor and show gratitude for this nation’s founders, for their wisdom and vision in preserving our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why patriotism is chosen. This is what patriotism means to me.

This year, 7,057 students participated in the Patriot’s Pen program. $59,540 in awards were given plus $15,247 in expenses for a total spent on the program of $74,787. 2nd Place Winner Bayley C. Pitts 8th grade, Round Top-Carmine HS, Carmine, Texas Post Sponsor: 5254 – La Grange District Sponsor: 28

3rd Place Winner Holden M. Smith 8th grade, Prince of Peace Christian School, Carrollton, Texas Post Sponsor: 6796 – Dallas District Sponsor: 3

4th Place Winner Auxiliary President Ramona Henson, State Commander Dick Shawver (far left), and National Commander in Chief Hal Roesch and National Auxiliary President Sandra Onstwedder (far right) pose with 1st Place Winner Kate Kunkle and her parents and sister.

Kaitlyn D. Van Holten 8th grade, Wylie West Jr. High School, Abilene, Texas Post Sponsor: 6873 – Abilene District Sponsor: 8

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“This fund is extremely important. It can be the difference between having a home and being able to provide for your family or being homeless and hungry.”



— Deidre B., US Army

Event Follw Up

The Texas VFW Auxiliary Heroes’ Walk was a tremendous success! You contributed over $2,000 in honor of your hero at Mid-Winter!

Program Reminders

The Texas VFW Auxiliary’s President’s Special Project this year is the Veterans’ Assistance Program through YOUR Texas VFW Foundation. Assisting qualifying veterans with basic living needs, this program assists veterans and their family with direct financial assistance to help prevent homelessness, disconnection, repossession, and/or cancellation. Please remember to donate prior to year end to earn credit for participation in this program. For more information, visit www.texasvfw.org/foundation or email us at foundation@texasvfw.org.

Did you know?

The CARES Act provides that even if you cannot itemize on your 2020 taxes, you can still take a deduction for up to $300 in charitable contributions? Did you know that if you can itemize, the limit has been lifted if you can list out all cash charitable contributions? Please consult with your tax preparer for more on how this can help you on your 2020 taxes and how a donation to the Texas VFW Foundation may qualify.

Last Quarter Snapshot

$28,084 in assistance for the quarter ending December 31, 2020, for 19 veteran households including 33 dependents.

Th a n k You!

Thank you to our corporate/ individual donations for 2020: OVER $1,000: Eugene & Kathryn Beyer David Cook Veteran Energy

OVER $500: Ron & April Wolf

OVER $250: BBVA Compass Bank William Bell Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union Robert Defoe Frontstream Kimberly F. Harris Norma Hutchins Jones Lang LaSalle Orange Grove RV Park Association A special Thank You to all who donate through AmazonSmile, PayPal, eBay, FaceBook, your employer, and other online/employee platforms!

We appreciate you!

The Texas VFW Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) Public Charity. The Veterans’ Assistance Program is available to any Texas veteran with an honorable discharge, widow or immediate family member thereof, regardless of where or what time they served. Your charitable contribution could be tax deductible. Talk to your tax professional about how contributions to the Texas VFW Foundation could help.



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Post 4816, Porter TX, Chili . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Feb. 12-13 Department Homecoming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 11-13 Levelland Pro Rodeo BBQ Cook-off . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 26-27 Our Heroes Wear Combat Boots, Tomball, TX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 9-10 Bexar County Jr. Livestock Show, BBQ Cook-off, San Antonio, TX . . . April 23-24 Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate Smokedown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May 14-15 Veterans Memorial Gulf Coast Cookoff, Galveston, TX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . May 28-29 Smoke in the Pines | BBQ | Livingston, TX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . June 25-26 For more information please contact Eddie Terry 817-776-1973 or Shawn Terry 817-776-1830


Texas VFW Post 6111, Arlington, members were busy late last Fall with food drives and blood drives to assist those who are in need in their community. OUTSTANDING!

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Texas VFW Post 12075, Humble VFW Post 12075 Senior Vice Commander Lisa Ward brought 670 coloring books to Magril Pre K/ Kindergarten purchased and donated by the Post so each child could receive a Christmas present.

Texas VFW Post 7108, Helotes The Post along with TX MG Unit 30 participate in a Wreath Laying Ceremony at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery on December 18, 2020. Past Commander Knowles Atchison, Sr Vice Commander Bernie Bridges, MG #30 Chairman Daniel Carpenter and Boys Scout Troop 351 helped distribute and lay out the wreaths on Veterans’ grave sites.

! g n i d n a t Outs

Texas VFW Post 4746, Weatherford Texas VFW Post 4746, Weatherford, participate in placing over 675 Wreaths at Memory Gardens Cemetery for Wreaths Across America Day. Over 15 Posts with Auxiliary members and their families participated in the event.

District 16 — Reba Carlson District 16 Auxiliary President poses with Navy Recruiters at Michael E. DeBakey VA Hospital after delivering several hundred cards that were collected for the veteran patients. Also in attendance was Mike Potter from Post 4474, Warton.


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United States Veterans Service Dogs would like to introduce Andrew Camplen as its Director of Client Services. Andrew is a USAF Desert Storm veteran and graduated with USVSD Service Dog Sebastian in August, 2019. Andrew is here to assist veteran applicants through the entire application process, training week, and beyond. His contact information is below.

! m a e t e h t to e We lcom

USVSD’s Mission United States Veterans Service Dogs was created for and is dedicated to helping veterans return to a new “normal” by training and placing quality service dogs with veterans. These specially-trained dogs provide support to mitigate the effects of mental and physical capabilities.

HOW TO APPLY: https://www.usveteransservicedogs.org/apply-service-dog www.usveteransservicedogs.org | andrew@usveteransservicedogs.org | 210-269-4444

Michael John Foy Day for 2 0 2 1 - 2 2 T E X A S V F W S TAT E C H A P L A I N

• Continually promotes “ONE Team” theme • Retired United States Navy Veteran (33+ years — Federal Service) • Numerous positions held at Post, District, State, & National levels • Earned over 10,000+ hours of Volunteer Service • Ordained Minister & District 17 Chaplain (three times) • Joined the VFW in 1992 • Gold Legacy Life Member • Life Member of the National Home

• Life Member of the DAV • Post Commander (twice) • All-State Post Commander • J. T. Rutherford Award — 1998 • National Aid-de-Camp (three times) • State Homeless Veterans Chairman • Chairman for Americanism & Youth Programs (five times) • Veterans in the Classroom (five times)

FoyDay@aol.com | FoyDay@yahoo.com | Mobile (936) 697-8769 W i n t e r 2 0 2 1 Te x a s V F W M a g a z i n e


Texas VFW Post 6111, Arlington, celebrates the 100th Birthday of the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars with a veteran dinner and birthday cake. Camaraderie is an important element in our organization.













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MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION Please fill out the VFW Membership Application below and mail in, or sign up online at www.texasvfw.org > Home > Membership. Name:____________________________________________________________________Email:_ ____________________________________________ First Middle Last Suffix (Jr., Sr., etc) Address:_ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ City:_________________________________________________________State:_______________________Zip:_________________________________ Phone:_______________________________________________________Date of Birth: (MM/DD/YY)_ ___________________________________________ Military Service: p Air Force p Army p Coast Guard p Marines p Navy Current Status: p Active Duty p Veteran p National Guard/Reserve I served in: p Pre-World War II p World War II p WWII Occupation p 1945-55 (Europe, Korea, Japan) p 1945-90 (Berlin)

p Korean War 1950-54 p Desert Storm/Shield p Korea 1955 p Bosnia/Kosovo 1995 p Vietnam 1958-75 p Global War on Terrorism — p Expeditionary Operations Expeditionary 2001 1958-2003 (Thailand, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Haiti, Somalia, etc.)

p Afghanistan 2001 p Iraq 2003

Qualified recipient of: p Imminent Danger/Hostile Fire Pay p SSBN Nuclear Deterrent Patrol* *Period Covered:______________________________________________________(Required for applicants with no other reported qualifying service.) I would like to join the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars as a(n): p Annual Member p Life Member p Life 12 Mo. Install* ($45 Initial payment)


One-Time Payment

Initial Payment

11 Payments of

Through Age 30
























81 and over




Automatic Payment Plan Terms and Conditions: You authorize the VFW to initiate electronic debit entries or affect a charge by any other commercially accepted practice to your account set forth above for the payment of dues reflected on this application. You understand such charges may be made within 2-3 business days of payment due date. For installment payments, charges will be made on or around the 1st or 15th day of the month. This authorization will remain in full force until VFW has received notification from you of its termination or upon completion of the installment payments. Annual dues are subject to change. By completing this authorization, you acknowledge that you will only receive notice when the payment would differ by more than $10.00 from the most recent payment. Call VFW Customer Service at 1-800-963-3180 or write to VFW at: VFW, P.O. Box 119028, Kansas City, MO 64171 to inquire about or cancel a payment, or to report problems such as bank closures, lost or stolen account numbers, closed accounts, or unauthorized transactions. Cancellation requests must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Central Time ten business days prior to the scheduled payment date. If you are unaware of the charge date for your account, please contact VFW. If a payment is returned by your financial institution (e.g., due to insufficient funds, incorrect account information, closed account, etc.) The VFW will contact you at the address we have on file for you, explaining why the payment could not be processed, and providing alternative payment options. The privilege of making payments under this agreement may be revoked by VFW if any item is not paid upon presentation. You may have additional rights and responsibilities under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. Life Membership Installment Plan Terms and Conditions: The VFW Membership Installment Plan allows any VFW member/applicant to purchase a Life Membership by making an initial payment of $45.00 and (11) monthly payments. The member will be issued an Annual membership card at the time of enrollment. The member may elect to receive a monthly statement by mail or may set up a payment profile to make the monthly payment automatically using a credit/debit card or bank account. A payoff amount will be printed on each monthly invoice, allowing the member the option to pay in full. A permanent Life Membership card will be issued upon the completion of payments. The Life Membership fee is determined from the schedule using the applicant’s age on December 31 of the year in which the application is submitted. Delinquencies will be handled as follows: Up to 30 days – continue to bill; 31 to 120 days – delinquency can be corrected through make up payment(s) or plan end date pushed forward; More than 120 days – member is dropped from the Installment Plan, all monthly payments made to date, are applied to future years annual dues.

I attest by forwarding this application that I am a citizen of the United States, that I qualify for the VFW and that my Campaign Service was honorable, and that I have never been discharged under other than honorable conditions or I am still serving honorably in the armed forces of the United States of America. I further give authority to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States to verify my entitlement to membership in the VFW and that if no proof can be found or provided that I am subject to discharge from the VFW without refund. Signature:______________________________________________________Date:__________________________________ Amount $:____________________________ Include membership payment by check or money order (DO NOT SEND CASH) or pay by credit card: p Mastercard

p Visa

p Discover

p American Express

Credit Card Number: ________________________________________________________ Exp. Date: _____ _____ / _____ _____

Mail to: Texas VFW • P.O. Box 14468 • Austin, Texas 78761 | For questions call: (512) 834-8535 W i n t e r 2 0 2 1 Te x a s V F W M a g a z i n e


TEXAS VFW POST 8904, CENTER — The Post holds a Pearl Harbor Day remembrance at the Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the Historic 1885 Courthouse in Center, Texas. Program consisted of an Opening Prayer by Post Chaplain Travis Snider, Pledge of Allegiance by those in attendance, Post Quartermaster Larry Hume welcomed everyone and gave a presentation on the significance of the day, Memorial Wreath placed by Post Service Officer Richard Lundie and Taps played to close the program.Â