A ceremony dedicating the new Salem Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 12154 was held on Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Loch Haven Lake reception hall.
Veterans and their families along with Salem City officials attended the ceremony, which was led by VFW State Commander Doug Keller. Veterans lined up, placing a hand on the shoulder of their comrades, as they swore to uphold their oath.
“We’re always looking to get new posts and new members,” said Keller, who made a trip from Staunton to officiate. “That’s the life blood of the VFW.”
David Perkins, post commander, fought to form the post in Salem. For now, the group of 35 members will meet at the Salem Public Library until a more permanent space is located.
There was a post in the area years ago, but due to a lack of new members, was shut down. Perkins, who served in Iraq, is bringing younger members into the mix, especially those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He remains optimistic about the post’s future.
Perkins said the main focus of the post will be community service opportunities, especially helping fellow veterans in need. On a national scale, the VFW has been responsible for protecting the rights and improving healthcare of veterans.
In October, Perkins and other members of the group banned together to form the post, spreading the word by any means possible.
Aside from community service, Perkins said the post will provide an opportunity for those who served to feel a sense of comradeship, similar to what they experienced in the military.
“Spending a lot of time on base, you don’t know a lot of people, but over time they get to be a lot like family,” Perkins said in October. “We’re trying to foster that.”
State officer Ken Wiseman was also in attendance at Saturday’s event, and will guide the new post over a period of six months to make sure it is up and running smoothly.
“National require that a mentor is assigned,” said Wiseman, who served in the navy. “I have served as a commander and as a finance officer for posts big and small, so they asked me to stay on as a mentor.”
Anyone who has served his or her country during a time of combat is eligible to join the VFW.
To join or to learn more, contact Perkins at [email protected] For more information about the VFW, visit vfw.org.
“We’re a post now,” Perkins said. “This has been about five months coming, and today was it.”