BEDFORD, Ohio - Bedford VFW Post 1082 is fighting to keep its doors open after 80 years of serving as a gathering place for men and women of foreign wars in the community.
Veteran's of Foreign Wars Post 1082 was once a thriving hall for veterans in the Bedford community. Now, older soldiers like, Joe Gales, are fighting a new war: keeping the doors open. He said it is important for the community to preserve the post.
"Because we are the veterans that preserved your freedom over the years and still doing it, past, present, and future," he said.
Gales said many of the veterans of the Korean War and World War II have passed away, so they need new members. They are hoping recent war veterans will come in and help take the reigns.
"We're trying to keep the club going so we can have a place for them and do things for them when they come back," said Gales.
According to Gales, many African-American Vietnam War soldiers didn't join the post after they came home from the war. Now, he said the hall is extending a hand, asking them to join. He knows first-hand as he is one of the first African-American holding an office in this post. Their new commander, also African American, is Willie Adams. He was sworn in back in March.
"Things have changed and the VFW is welcome to all veterans of foreign wars, and we do have some veterans that not from foreign wars that's part of our lodge," he explained.
Gales said they need help with community service projects like visiting the Veterans' Hospital to look after heroes who've served. They also spend Easter and Christmas giving toys and baskets to children in need in the surrounding communities.
"We're trying to preserve a historical place that building in VFW Bethel Post 1082 was established in 1939 and that's a long time," said Gales.
Social member Greg Yusko's dad helped start the lodge. He volunteers his time helping out at the lodge with fundraisers and charity events.
"Being a social member, I have the respect for all the men that served in service and gave their life and went to wars for us," he said. "They went and fought for us that's why I think the VFW itself is exactly what it should be. They went and did what they did for us and they come back and a lot of times they don't get the respect they deserve."
Gales said they are accepting donations to help save the lodge through The Survivors Justification Partners Incorporated on their website www.sjpinc.org .
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