In honor of Memorial Day, the Waxahachie VFW Post 3894 is inviting the public to listen to some testimonies and enjoy old-fashioned American hotdogs.
Since the post was established in the 1960s, the group has contributed to the orphan community in Michigan and locally. The VFW annually conducts flag retirement ceremonies with the Boy Scouts and recognized the young girls and boys at the Junior ROTC in Red Oak.
As the veteran community reaches out to the youth, they have a new message for the younger adults — enlist.
Bob Thomas is the elect-commander of the Waxahachie post. He served in the US Army from 1968 to 1971. Both of his granddads and uncles served and he figured it was his turn. Thomas was deployed to Korea and Southeast Asia.
“This is going to sound funny but before I joined I wanted to be John Wayne. When I got out, not so much,” Thomas admitted.
Thomas had his right-hand man, Ed Faught next to him while discussing the future of the Waxahachie post. Ed has been involved at the Waxahachie post for 28 years, while this is Thomas’s third year to be included.
Faught also served in the Army from 1969 until 1972. He went overseas to Vietnam as a helicopter pilot.
Even though Thomas is newer to the post, he was heavily involved at the VFW post in Pleasant Grove. He said the Waxahachie VFW is a little more active and hopes to bring more events and traditions to the Waxahachie post.
For Thomas, the VFW is a place to wind down and have a great conversation.
“It’s a great place to come and gather, and I’ve made some really great friends. I’ve only been here three years, and I’ve made friends that I really love,” Thomas admitted.
With the post under new command, Thomas would like to see memberships increase and gravitate toward a younger audience.
“What I’m hoping is that we can accomplish, and it’s a very hard task, we need new memberships, younger membership with men that will come out and volunteer,” Thomas elaborated. “Because these guys that have been up here for years and years and years, before I ever got to this place, they have toughed it out.”
As of now, the Waxahachie VFW has 162 members. Even though that might seem like a lot, Faught said the primary goal is to get those 162 members more involved.
On Saturday, May 26, members of the VFW placed flags at Lakeview Memorial Cemetery in honor of Memorial Day and will host the service on May 28. This would be the perfect time to see what the members of the VFW are all about.
“None of these guys talk about their experience in the service other than we all tell funny stories. But just being around other guys who have been there and done that makes a difference,” Thomas assured.
VFW members meet every first and third Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. to debrief and vote on loose ends. Thomas mentioned during the meetings is sometimes the only time he gets to see most members.
For those who might not have been in combat or are a civilian and never served in the military, the VFW operates a full bar, pool tables, shuffleboard and darts to everyone. On Friday and Saturday, they also host Bingo at 6 p.m. and 3 p.m. On the opposite end of the bar is a party room that is available for rent. Thomas said as of now it is booked every Saturday next month.
Thomas emphasized anyone is welcomed at the VFW.
“We call them guests and they have to sign in but anybody who comes by, we will make them a guest and make them welcomed,” Thomas said.
Thomas left the table with a message for the people in Waxahachie: “I’m one of those who doesn’t like to say ‘Happy Memorial Day.’ That’s not the deal. Memorial Day is in remembrance of fallen soldiers of people who gave their lives so we can have this conversation.”
Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450