O’Fallon VFW Post 805 receives national recognition


Post 805 receives VFW National Outstanding Community Service Post award at the VFW National Convention in Kansas City on 23 July 2018. Front row, from left, Post Commander Ed Martinez, National Commander Keith Harman, and Post 805 member Claire Bandy. Back row, from left, 2017-2018 Illinois Department Commander Jeff Hastings and Post 805 Senior Vice Commander Chad Crawford (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – The national organization of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the United States proudly announced Sgt. Charles A. Fricke VFW Post 805 has been selected as a 2018 National Outstanding Community Service Post.   

Additionally, Post 805 was designated as a VFW “All-American” Post for 2017-2018.

Representatives of VFW Post 805 travelled to Kansas City, MO July 21-25 to receive these awards during the 119th VFW National Convention. The prestigious VFW National Outstanding Community Service Post award is given in recognition of the highest standards of dedication, service and support a VFW Post shows for its community.  The All-American Post designation is given in recognition of outstanding execution of VFW Veterans and military service programs, community involvement and achievement of the highest membership recruitment goals.  

As one of 6,400 VFW Posts throughout North America and the European and Pacific continents, VFW Post 805 was in a highly-select group of less than one percent of VFW Posts to receive the National Outstanding Community Service Post award (63 total); and one of only three percent of all VFW Posts to achieve All-American status (199 total). Post 805 and its Auxiliary were commended for volunteering in excess of 3,000 community service hours and directly disbursing over $25,000 on programs, projects and community service efforts in the VFW 2017-2018 year; and providing an additional $60,000 of In-Kind donations to the local community.

Post 805 organized the St Louis region’s largest VFW Post-sponsored “First Responder Banquet” designed to recognize the top law enforcement professionals, firefighters and emergency medical services technicians in the community; conducted their fifth Annual .1K Fun Run event which attracted 489 registered race participants and raised $11,000 directly in support of the VFW National Home for Children; and conducted their annual “BaconFest” event which raised over $5,000 exclusively designed for distribution as monetary assistance to worthy individuals within the community to help pay for rent, bills, clothing or food.  

They were also recognized for fostering Patriotism and Americanism in local classrooms by organizing competitions in the VFW National Voice of Democracy; Patriots Pen; and Teacher of the Year programs; as well as supporting local participation in the VFW Scout of the Year program.  

Post 805 also served as a significant Community and Civic Center for the St Louis Metro-East region, Saint Clair County and the City of O’Fallon. They continually hosted and partnered with multiple community/civic organizations and clubs on their charitable efforts and contributed significantly to those causes themselves. Among these efforts, Post 805 partnered with the Scott POW/MIA Council to plan, organize and conduct its annual POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony, which is widely regarded as one of the longest-tenured and best run programs nationally. 

Notably, award justifications included the wildly-successful conduct of Post 805’s unique, year-round “Veterans Integration Program” (VIP). The VIP Program is designed to warehouse and deliver gently-used furniture donations to Veterans-in-need and other worthy individuals within the community.  In addition to working within the community to identify and deliver furniture items to worthy recipients, Post 805 worked closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs “VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families” (SSVF) program which is designed to identify and assist worthy Veterans in need of furniture during short-term crisis’ or as part of rehabilitative efforts to restore self-sufficiency and dignity. The unique Post 805 VIP program received and delivered furniture and household items twice a week on average, and provided 54 individuals or families with various types of furniture and household items in the VFW 2017-2018 calendar year. In nearly half of those cases, the program provided full households of furniture, needed household items and medical equipment, including two motorized wheelchairs valued at $8,000 each. All of the furniture and household items were provided and delivered free-of-charge and became the personal property possessions of the assisted individuals. Beyond conducting projects and programs designed to help those in need, O’Fallon Post 805 Honor Guard is recognized as one of the most highly-respected and sought-out units in the St Louis metropolitan area having volunteered over 500 hours supporting 29 formal ceremonies and funerals with great distinction while enhancing the dignity and honor of the planned events and occasions.    

Upon being recognized, Post 805 Commander Ed Martinez stated “I am extremely proud to accept both of these awards on behalf of the VFW Post 805 membership and our Auxiliary. None of this would be possible without the overwhelming support of the O’Fallon community that supported us as we organized and conducted our events and program efforts. We are always pleased to be able to help fellow Veterans and others in need within the community and we are grateful to be able to recognize the outstanding First Responders; Students; and Scouts within our community.  We are also very thankful to all those in the local community who helped donate vast amounts of furniture items for use in our VIP Furniture Program”.   

Jeffrey Hastings, VFW Department of Illinois Commander for 2017-2018, and also a Post 805 member, stated “Congratulations to All-American Post 805 for a stellar performance this past year. Post 805 has consistently exceeded expectations on all VFW programs and involvement within the community. Their selection as a VFW National Outstanding Community Service Post is a rare and prestigious honor for any VFW Post and is certainly well-deserved”.   

VFW National Commander Keith Harman, who recently paid a visit to the membership of VFW Post 805 said “Since 1899 community service has been a tenet of the VFW, and the tireless work and dedication VFW Post 805 has displayed is a perfect example of the support and impact the VFW provides to communities across the globe”.