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VFW Magazine January 2018 : Page 28

VFW Posts Provide Relief During California Wildfires As w i ld fi r e s ra ge d alon g t he coast o f Cal if orn i a i n Octob e r, VFW Posts t h rou gh out t he stat e prov i d e d r e l ief i n t hei r commun i ti e s. Gl e nn Ross, command e r o f VFW Post 1929 i n P e taluma, Cal if ., op e n e d hi s Post f or 12 days as a s he lt e r f or d i splac e d m e mb e rs o f t he commun i ty. Ross, w h o s e rv e d i n t he 1991 P e rs i an Gul f War as a tank e r w i t h t he 2nd Armor e d D i v i s i on, sa i d t he Post h ad “ t he s e cond lar ge st e vacuation f ac i l i ty ” i n t he c i ty, h ous i n g 430 p e opl e . Ross sa i d t he r e was no dama ge i n P e taluma, but “e v e ry -body kn e w som e body ” w h o lost a h om e or a bus i n e ss i n Santa Rosa, rou gh ly 20 m i l e s nort h . W he n t he Post’s s he l -t e r clos e d, Ross sa i d, t he r e w e r e f our p e opl e r e ma i n i n g , and all o f t he m h ad ot he r h ous i n g arran ge m e nts. Jul i a Sutton, Post 768 command e r i n W i ndsor, Cal if ., s e t up he r Post as a “ c e ntral h ub ” f or suppl ie s and d i str i bution to a ffe ct e d ar e as. T he Post, accord i n g to a r e port Sutton subm i tt e d to t he D e partm e nt o f Cal if orn i a, coord i nat e d d i s -tr i bution w i t h V ie tnam V e t e rans o f Am e r i ca and AMVETs. “ W i t h t he r e sourc e s w e h av e g at he r e d, w e w i ll b e o ffe r -i n g ass i stanc e to our local e vacuation c e nt e rs, as w e ll as run -n i n g r e sourc e s to ot he r v e t e rans bu i ld i n g s, ” Sutton stat e d. For mor e i n -d e pt h cov e ra ge o f VFW’s r e spons e to t he Cal if orn i a w i ld fi r e s, r e ad t he January / F e bruary 2018 i ssu e o f Checkpoint at https://www.vfw.org/news-and-publica-tions/checkpoint. A California Army National Guard crew chief watches from a hovering UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter as water is released from a bucket firefighting system onto a wildfire in northern California near Santa Rosa on Oct. 12, 2017. VFW Disburses More Than $250,000 2493 staff member Kelly Witmer and Post 556 Commander Ron Etheridge. One member of Post 4709, Mike Eshenbaugh, waded through knee-deep waters in Spring, Texas, near Cypresswood and Interstate 45, to help residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey . “I’m a veteran,” Eshenbaugh said. “That’s what veterans do.” A veteran’s counselor for the Texas Veterans Commission, Eshenbaugh served in the Army from 1992 to 2001 with tours in Bosnia and Saudi Arabia with B Btry., 43rd Air Defense Artillery as a Bradley linebacker crewmember. “I just wanted to help out in any way I could,” Eshenbaugh said. Dave Raborn, commander of VFW Post 2019 in Mount Airy, N.C., said his Post opted to take donations for hurri-cane relief in Florida and Texas because “that’s what we’re supposed to do.” His Post also partnered with Post 9436 in Pilot Mountain, N.C. Raborn, who served in Vietnam (1967-68) with the Air Force’s 3rd Security Police Squadron as a security policeman, said the Post, along with other partners in town, started collecting donations in early September. But still, he said, “we wish we could do more.” VFW Jun i or V i c e Command e r -i n -C hief Doc Sc h m i tz ra i s e d $ 57,605 i n support o f VFW’s e m e r ge ncy r e l ief f und at hi s con fe r e nc e i n Kansas C i ty, Mo., i n S e pt e mb e r. T he f unds w i ll ass i st troops, v e t e rans and t hei r f am i l ie s a ffe ct e d by h urr i can e s Harvey, Irma and Maria . VFW’s Unmet Needs pro g ram also h as ass i st e d mor e t h an 500 v e t e rans a ffe ct e d by t he h urr i can e s, d i sburs i n g $ 192,400. As o f lat e Octob e r, VFW national he adquart e rs was r e c ei v i n g about 100 appl i cations w ee kly, accord i n g to L i nda F e r g uson, mana ge r o f sp e c i al pro g rams and proj e cts at VFW national he adquart e rs. CALIFORNIA NATIONAL GUARD PHOTO ÔIT WAS TOTAL DEVASTATIONÕ The Pennsylvania contingent was in Texas for one full day, and Stewart showed them the affected areas. “We went into River Plantation sub-division, which starts out high and dry and drops to the river bottom. And they still build houses in there,” Stewart said. “[The road] dropped off one hill on River Plantation Drive and within 100 yards of going down that hill, it was total devas-tation.” The Pennsylvania Post members want-ed to take photos, so, Stewart said, they stopped in front a house, not knowing whose it was. “A lady comes out of the house, and I went over to introduce the guys from Pennsylvania,” Stewart said. “The first thing she did was grab me around the neck [in gratitude]. She had been at the Post and got supplies and got food when her house first flooded.” Windsor said that was “the defining moment” of the trip. “I knew in my heart and my soul that Post Outreach T he f ollow i n g Posts, D i str i cts and D e partm e nts ar e just a sampl i n g o f t h os e t h at contr i but e d i n t he a fte rmat h o f h urr i -can e s Harvey , Irma and Maria . Post 9934 ( Dana Po i nt, Cal if . ) Post 3166 ( L i b e ral, Kan. ) Post 7272 ( B e ll i n gh am, Mass. ) Post 6692 ( Rus h C i ty, M i nn. ) Post 12124 ( M e r i d i an, M i ss. ) Post 610 ( S i dn e y, N e b. ) Post 2813 ( Woods i d e , N.Y. ) Post 2019 ( Mount A i ry, N.C. ) Post 4203 ( Rock i n gh am, N.C. ) Post 845 ( Down i n g town, Pa. ) Post 556 ( York, Pa. ) Post 2493 ( Mt. Wol f , Pa. ) Post 152 ( Nort h K i n g stown, R.I. ) Post 1836 ( Lu fki n, T e xas ) Post 7108 ( San Anton i o, T e xas ) Post 4474 ( W h arton, T e xas ) Post 9192 ( K i ll ee n, T e xas ) Post 4709 ( Conro e , T e xas ) Post 8790 ( Houston, T e xas ) Post 8787 ( Austin, T e xas ) Post 6008 ( H e w i tt, T e xas ) Post 12058 ( Kyl e , T e xas ) Post 12160 ( S i nton, T e xas ) Post 6386 ( In g l e s i d e , T e xas ) Post 7473 ( Elsa, T e xas ) Post 4815 ( San Anton i o, T e xas ) Post 430 ( Canyon, T e xas ) D i str i ct 20 ( San Anton i o, T e xas ) D i str i ct 9 ( Amar i llo, T e xas ) D e partm e nt o f Alaska VFW o f O hi o C h ar i ti e s 28 • VFW  • JANUARY 2018

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