Resource Highlight: VFW

Resource Highlight: VFW

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, or VFW, is a name recognized by most Americans. What’s less known is the longevity of their contribution to veterans and their families. The VFW started in 1899, making them the oldest veterans’ organization in the country.

After the Spanish-American War, many veterans came home sick or wounded with no avenue for medical care or pensions. They were left to fend for themselves after faithfully serving their nation. Local organizations started forming to help veterans secure benefits for their service and eventually began banding together with similar organizations around the country. Chapters started in Colorado, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and quickly gained traction on a national level. The VFW was a driving force behind the establishment of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and they continue to lobby on a local and national level for issues that affect veterans and their families.

Today, the VFW has chapters in every state, and 49 overseas chapters in 12 countries and two territories. They serve as a place of community for veterans and their families, as well as offer services that help veterans access the benefits and honors due to them after faithfully serving our nation. In 2020, they helped over 110,000 veterans submit new VA claims. The VFW serves active-duty members as well; they have given grants to almost 11,000 families facing financial hardship, with over $12.2 million awarded since 2004. They also serve the communities they live in by offering scholarships, recognizing teachers, volunteering in classrooms, and encouraging patriotic programs for youth. VFW members contribute over 3.3 million hours of community service in their communities annually as well.

Many American towns have a VFW, and the Black Hills are no exception. We have eight posts here in the hills:
  • Post 3312, 1202 11th Ave., Belle Fourche
  • Post 3442, 721 Mount Rushmore Road, Custer
  • Post 5969, 10 Pine St., Deadwood
  • Post 5807, 18645 Youngberg Rd., Newell
  • Post 1273, 420 Main Street, Rapid City
  • Post 5860, 3102 E Fairgrounds Loop, Spearfish
  • Post 2730, 1507 Jackson St., Sturgis
  • Post 9120, 23330 Sage Creek Rd., Wall

Whether you’re on active duty, transitioning to civilian life, a veteran who misses the camaraderie of serving, or a family of a service member looking for support, your local VFW is a great first stop. Their motto is “no one does more for veterans,” and their actions show they believe in every word.

You can learn more about the VFW and its benefits by visiting the national VFW website or contacting one of the local chapters listed above.