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The Veterans of Foreign Wars 120th National Convention and Auxiliary held their annual convention July 20-24, at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Among the 27 Iowa attendees were members of the VFW Post 2208 and Auxiliary Waverly, Darrell and Joann Blasberg, Scott McDonald and newly-elected Department of Iowa Auxiliary President Kathryn McDonald and Ben McDonald.

William J. “Doc” Schmitz of New York was elected and installed as the VFW Commander-in-Chief as the new leader of the 1.2 million members of the VFW, comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from all five branches of the armed forces. The veterans organization recently announced its first increase in membership numbers in 27 years. The convention drew approximately 10,000 veterans and family members. The mission during the convention was to approve new national priorities to guide the VFW in its advocacy for veterans and business efforts throughout the year.

After serving a total of seven years on the National Council of Administration, the last three years on the Budget and Finance committee, Darrell Blasberg did not seek re-election to the National Council. Installed as the new Iowa Council representative was Carol Whitmore of Post 9127 Des Moines, past Department of Iowa VFW Commander.

Installation was also held for the newly-elected 2019-2020 National Auxiliary President Peggy Haake of Hawaii. President Haake will be visiting Iowa at Post 2208 Waverly the evening of Oct. 3. Auxiliary members in the area are welcome and encouraged to attend her visitation.

Following the VFW convention, the annual National Military Order of the Cootie Convention was held July 25-28, also in Orlando. The Cootie organization is an Honorary Degree of the VFW. Members visit our veterans in hospitals, nursing homes or wherever they may reside. The Cootie motto is “keep ‘em smiling in beds of white.”

Darrell Blasberg, of Waverly is the Grand of Iowa of the Military Order of the Cootie and Paul Arnold, of Harlan, is the Ninth District Supreme Commander of the five-state area, which includes Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota. They are both members of Pup Tent 69 of Waverly.