Pam Dudding Contributing writer
On September 1, Kevin Jones, the Department Commander of National Headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), in the Washington office, wrote William (Billy) Lee a letter commending him on a new appointment as National Aide-de-Camp to Commander-in-Chief Hal Roesch.
Lee’s Virginia State Commander Eric Mallett recommended him for the honorary appointment because of his “outstanding service to Posts and your department, going above and beyond the call of duty.”
A VFW Aide-de-Camp serves the National Commander and State Commander in promoting the VFW Department and National programs.
Lee has been a member of the VFW since 1992. He was Senior Vice-Commander for Post #4491 for three years, has served as commander for five years and District 6 Chaplin for three years.
“This is an honor to be appointed Aide-de-Camp, but it just shows how hard our post has been working,” he said.
Lee served in the United States Marine Corps and was in 2nd Battalion 3rd Marine regiment, in Paris Island, Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton in Vietnam in 1968-1969.
“Our post has been an All-State Post for the last three years,” he added. “We have a chance to become an All-American Post for the first time ever this year.”
To accomplish that, the VFW is encouraged to continue to be “active” in their community.
Some of the things they are asked to do are:
- Have a minimum of one entry in each of the students Voice of Democracy and Patriots Pen to advance to District judging
- Each member purchase at least five Buddy Poppies
- Hold a fundraiser with the proceeds going to Veterans and Military Support Program Services (a minimum of $100)
- Add eight more members to their roster, both men and women who have served. They currently have one lady in Post 4491 and welcome others who qualify.
In addition, they have a list of items they are to meet for All-State. Post:
- Must meet their 100 percent membership quota by May 8, 2021
- Quartermaster must be bonded
- Must have been inspected and reports sent to State Headquarters by deadline
- Commander, Senior Vice Commander or Junior Vice Commander must attend each District meeting and the School of Instruction
- Commander must send Post members or Post Officers to state recruiting school
- Audit reports must be turned into state headquarters via guidelines
- Must purchase 500 Buddy Poppies per 100 members or fraction thereof
- Must donate to Department Virginia Veterans Foundation
- Must submit necessary reports by deadline dates
- Must participate in at least two of: Voice of Democracy, Patriots Pen or Teacher of the Year
- Must submit a Community Service Record Book
Some think that these groups only meet, eat and enjoy one another’s company. The VFW asks their members to continue their duty to their country by being active in their community.
The local VFW Post 4491 has been exemplary in showing their love, support and care for Craig County, serving in a long list of ways. They shared that they will continue as long as their physical health allows them. “Membership is important because when we go to lobby Congress, we can let them know how many votes we have,” Lee said.
To qualify to be a member of the VFW, one must be a citizen of the United States, have received an honorable or general discharge or be currently serving in the armed forces.
Lee noted, “You must also have received a campaign medal for service in a war, campaign or expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters or a Veteran must have received hostile fire or imminent danger pay or served in the republic of Korea for 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days.”
The Craig Valley VFW “needs members badly” as they shared their current members are getting older.
“We need new members to help in the community and help get legislation passed,” Lee said. “If you are busy and say I can’t be at meetings, your membership still helps Veterans issues get passed in Congress.”
Lee added, “The things the Veterans now have is because the VFW is at the Capital (located across from the Capitol) every day fighting for the rights of us Veterans.”
“Please help us get more number and help Craig Valley Post #4491 get All-American Post for the first time,” Lee and other members emphasized.