Reaching out into our communities is vital to our organization; developing relationships with community leaders, media, schools and local civic groups greatly assists our post in achieving the VFW mission. Our current Community Service activities include the following:
We Talk on Eagle 101.5 Radio Every Week with a Military Monday Interview
It started over 3 years ago with informal drop-in visits by then Commander, John Facchinetti, visiting the local Eagle 101.5 radio station in Gaylord to discuss VFW activities on the air with Mike Reling, the weekday morning host. This periodic activity has evolved in to a weekly 8 AM Mondays time slot titled, "Military Monday" where post members and area veterans visit and share service experiences, and VFW projects and activities. This sharing alerts community members about upcoming VFW events, and shares interesting military experiences.
We Award College Scholarships to High School Seniors
Annually the Post awards college scholarships, each worth several hundred dollars to children and grandchildren of veterans in Otsego County who submit applications and meet evaluation criteria. These are awarded each spring at our annual Scholarship & Tributes Dinner.
We Participate in the Patriot's Pen and Voice of Democracy Competitions
Annually every Fall the Post participates in this national competition for middle school students. A patriotic topic is determined by the National VFW organization, and essays are submitted by middle and high school students from several county schools. Essays are evaluated by a Post/Auxiliary Committee, and winners are given a cash award. Top entries are then forwarded for district, department and national evaluation where additional monitory awards are possible.
We Host the Annual Scholarship and Tributes Dinner
Annually every Spring the Post and Auxiliary hold this event for several purposes; first to honor area Veterans who passed away during the previous year in which the post provided burial military honors. A white rose is presented to each family and as each name is announced, a bell toll sounds. All winners of our scholarships are also honored and given their awards that night. Military recruits and new recruiters are recognized, and all veterans of the Post and community are acknowledged.
We Support the Forgotten Eagles
This group of veterans raises awareness for POWs and MIAs during their annual August 3-day motorcycle ride where they visit 83 Michigan counties. The Post greets the riders in Gaylord, and provides a donation for the advancement of their programs.
We Participate in Patriots Day Golf Weekend
Every Fall we support the Annual Patriots Day Treetops Golf Weekend fund raising event to benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation. This organization uses its proceeds to support educational scholarships to families of veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice, or were wounded during their service to our country. Our Post provides an Honor Guard performance to open and close this event each Labor Day weekend.
In addition, each year, a designated VFW member participates in the golf tournament. Donations from individuals are made in the amount of $10 increments on behalf of each golfer playing in the event. Fundraising during this event also includes selling raffle tickets by Post and Auxiliary members; all prizes in this raffle are provided by the Treetops Resort. Proceeds from both the VFW Participant donations, and the raffle are divided between the Post and the Folds of Honor Foundation.
We Support Camp Trotter
We Support the National Home for Children
This children’s camp is on the west side of Michigan and is run by the VFW Department of Michigan. At no charge, the camp provides veterans’ children ages 7 to 12 with 1-week summer camp experiences from July through mid-August. Children come from across the United States to experience swimming, boating, sports and campfire activities. Educational activities combined with fun include science, art and nature taught with patriotism, courage and self-reliance. For more information, check this Department web site
This 472-acres site provides families of veterans and military personnel with a nurturing community to support their personal growth and development. Founded in 1925, it became a place for families to stay together even when their serviceman didn’t come home. It was a concept suggested by the Military Order of the Cootie and supports the concept of "Honor the Dead by Helping the Living”. It is located near in Eaton Rapids just south of Lansing, MI. From its single farm house beginning, the facility now includes a campus with playgrounds, park areas and single-family homes, a community center and gymnasium, child care, a guest lodge and chapel. Families interested in applying can find an application on their web site as noted above.
We Support the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight Program
Since 2005 a group of dedicated volunteers have arranged and implemented a Spring and Fall trip for WWII veterans to visit their memorial in Washington DC. That first year, 12 such veterans were piloted by 12 volunteer retired military pilots. It all began due to the inventive idea of Earl Morse in Ohio… a retired Air Force Captain. In the first year, 137 veterans enjoyed this one-day, guided trip to visit the WWII memorial. The program has grown to over 127 hubs in 41 states; over 99,000 WWII veterans have now enjoyed the impressive WWII memorial in Washington DC.
Whenever a flight is scheduled from Michigan (Traverse City or Grand Rapids), our post encourages interested WWII veterans to apply. Post members may accompany as guardians on the trip since each veteran is given such an attendant. The Auxiliary helps provide supplies needed for the event such as transportation, toiletries, snacks, bedding, etc.
We Support the Quilts of Valor (QOV) Foundation
We partner with the Quilts of Valor foundation to accomplish their goal to cover all physically and psychologically wounded service members with a freedom quilt… honoring them for their sacrifices for our country. The concept was started by Catherine Roberts of Seaford, DE in 2003; now there are groups across the United States. To date, 175,859 quilts have been made and awarded to United States veterans; that is amazing!
The Gaylord group meets once a month at Delphine’s Quilt Shop and makes about 10 quilts per year. Once the top is sewn together, volunteer "long-arm” quilters sew the top, batting, and back together on their big machines. The quilts are generally 60” x 80” and come with a coordinating pillow case. Quilts are then presented to veterans in Otsego County. Members of the Post and Auxiliary always attend the presentation of these quilts to congratulate recipients. Donations are always needed for their ongoing quilting projects to buy fabrics (red, white and blues!) and quilting supplies (call Delphine’s to donate). For more information, go to: govf.org/newsletters/
We Ring the Red Kettle Bell for the Salvation Army
During July and December, the Post and Auxiliary partner with the Salvation Army to "adopt and kettle" and ring the bell at a local retail location for a day to help in their fund raising.