J.L. Smith wants to form a Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Red Oak, saying he strongly believes that would honor the many men and women he says should be remembered.
“I feel that it is very important to have a VFW post here, not only because Waxahachie and Ennis have their own, but because Red Oak deserves to have its own,” said Smith, a Red Oak resident. “Also, with the city’s growing population, we will need it with all the veterans coming home injured. With a local post, we can help support the families and brace up the community. Veterans will be able to have a place to engage with people that share the same interest and who have experienced the same thing. This post could also strengthen the community and make it a better place.”
A Vietnam War veteran, Smith serves as VFW District 3 commander over 16 posts including Dallas, Richardson, Balch Springs, Mesquite, Lancaster, Duncanville, Irving and others.
He also is a member of the Dorie Miller VFW Post 1406 in Dallas, where he’s served as commander for eight years.
“I’ve served as District 3 commander over these posts since July, which is how the idea surfaced of beginning a post here in Red Oak,” he said, saying he welcomes all veterans who are interested in lending a helping hand to get the idea off the ground.
“I recruited only five people so far who’ve shown interest in this, but it will take 25 qualified veterans with completed applications and line officers for the post in order to begin one here,” he said. “We will need support from everybody because it’ll help to strengthen the foundation on which it’s built. This will be an equal opportunity post opened to all veterans.
“There are a lot of veterans out there and we carry a lot of weight,” he said. “We have vets running around homeless and hungry and people need to take the initiative to correct this problem. If there are 100 people out there and I’ve helped one, I’ve done something. In a way, I consider this to be a ministry for me because I love my vets. I know what they’ve been through and what they are going through now.”
Organizers said they will consider naming the post after a serviceman killed while fighting in a foreign war.
“Yes, we would take suggestions for the new post but I would also like to see an all-state, No. 1 post with people who will work and are willing to put something back in it,” Smith said. “I would like to see people that don’t mind giving back to the community. I want to get it started with members starting the recruiting process.”
Membership requirements include people in the military service, with an honorable service and discharge, and acceptance of applications.
Anyone who is interested in helping form a post, has a suggestion for its name or is able to donate money for a building can contact Smith at 469-235-5347 or 972-617-6985.