Members of the Oelwein VFW Blaisdell Barnes Post attended the Department of Iowa District 9 fall meeting on Saturday. Johnson’s restaurant in Elkader was the venue for the meeting. Representatives from district posts, as well as the Ladies auxiliary component, were present.
Patrick Kelly, Dale Steen, Neal Reichardt, and Jeff Hughes of the Oelwein VFW post attended.
After enjoying a buffet-style meal, members met in an open session where they received a report from the auxiliary and conducted a raffle prize distribution. The regular post members and auxiliary members separated to conduct their respective business meetings.
District 9 Commander Virgil Thorstenson brought the business meeting to order at 1 p.m. He introduced the guest speaker, Ron Leber – the Iowa Department VFW State Jr. Vice Commander.
Mr. Leber spoke on several issues and concerns. He agreed with the need to work on getting new members, then went on to discuss plans for the upcoming October 22-25 state convention and encouraged all present to attend. Mr. Leber concluded with an appeal to help replenish the state-level disaster relief fund as well.
Members passed a resolution to give $200 to the state-level disaster relief fund. The funds will help other local VFW posts that suffered damage during the derecho storm in August.
Members received a report from Bernie Maiers of the New Vienna VFW post 7736 regarding the Voice of Democracy essay contest program. The contest allows interested high school students to earn a college scholarship by submitting an essay on a specified theme for the year. As District 9 Coordinator Mr. Maiers helped individual posts in the district to promote the contest among area high schools. Individual posts assist contestants as they progress through the different levels of competition. The selected state-level winner advances to the national round.
Mr. Maiers has worked with the VOD program since 2015 but decided to step down this year for health reasons. Jeff Hughes of the Oelwein post volunteered to take over the work as district coordinator. He will be working closely with local post chairpersons in the months ahead in their efforts to promote the contest among schools in their respective areas. They want students to be aware of the opportunity that exists to win scholarship funds for attending college.
District meetings are held three times a year in January, April, and September. District officers use these meetings to take care of outstanding business and update VFW posts on programs and events taking place in the region. Eleven posts comprise the 9th district.
The next district meeting will take place on Jan. 9 next year. The meeting time and location will be determined later.