VFW post getting upgrade

Published 12:03 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Lunenburg Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9954 is expanding its post to make accommodations for a more diverse group of veterans. Member and State Membership Chairman Tom Hines said the post has discussed the expansion since he joined five years ago. The plan is to build an addition to the post’s building, adding a second meeting hall for more activities.

Construction will likely begin in February and finish in June, Hines said. The post awarded a contract for the project to Lewis Welding and finalized details with the company Nov. 30.

The post, chartered in 1949, has put away a little bit of money each year hoping to continue meeting obligations and pay for expenses such as this one. The addition will use drywall rather than the current hall’s wood paneling and a higher, 9-foot ceiling. The goal is to complete the work for less than $85,000.

“I don’t think we’ll go over (that),” Hines said.

Once completed, both halls will be available to rent, with the additional possibility of two groups renting the facilities on the same day, as there will be separate entrances to each room, Hines said.

“The community is so supportive of us,” Hines said, even though the post has not

asked for donations.

He said the post always draws good crowds when it hosts fundraising events such as stews and yard sales. Hines said he was proud to share some of the ways they use that money to make a difference in veterans’ lives, such as helping to reduce veteran suicide and bringing programs to local schools.

Hines said the reason the post has decided to move forward with the expansion is because currently the building consists of only one hall — in order for the auxiliary and post to have meetings on the same night, there needs to be an additional room.

This expansion will do just that. The additional 920-square-foot hall will be placed near an area used now as an entryway.

“We’re trying to make the post more accessible to younger crowds,” Hines also said, mentioning that, on a national level, the VFW has transitioned to a gender-neutral organization.

Now, women veterans are welcomed in the post and their spouses are invited to the auxiliary, which is no longer referred to as the “Female Auxiliary.”
Because the auxiliary is helping to fund the project, the post invited it to a business dinner to show support.

“We feel like we’ll be a better post by having the auxiliary involved with our essay contests and in the schools,” Hines said. “It will benefit the post by working together.”

He said while many posts are slower moving forward to accommodate younger veterans, “this post sees it as an opportunity to incorporate the younger veterans.” Hines said he hopes this renovation will make the post more attractive to young veterans and their families.

“If the younger veterans don’t join a veteran’s association down the road, they will be looking to the elected officials to take care of their benefits,” he said.

Hines said the post has not asked for the community’s help with funding this project, but that anyone interested in donating to the VFW Post 9954 is welcome to do so.

Those interested in making tax-deductible donations can contact Claude Tomlinson at (434) 696-2966 or mail the donations to P.O. Box 85, Victoria, VA 23974.