• Kurt Fedewa

The Portland VFW

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, known as the “VFW,” have an important presence in Portland.

The purpose of the VFW is to provide an environment that supports all military veterans and their families, whether or not they participated in a foreign campaign. Any present or former service member is welcome, but to qualify as a member of the post generally requires actual military service in a foreign hostile or in a foreign combat situation.

David Reed is the present commander of the Portland post. David is a veteran of the First Persian Gulf War, known as Desert Storm. He was assigned to the Army’s 101st Airborne Division and served in the combat theater for seven months. He held the rank of corporal.

“I think that the VFW is a wonderful organization,” said David. “I wish that more former service members who are eligible for membership would join us. Once they do become members, they discover the valuable programs that we offer to them, such as Camp Trotter. Camp Trotter is a summer camp that is available to children of veterans. We also help ailing veterans to process claims with the Veterans Administration. We advocate for these veterans. Our key mission statement is that of ‘veterans helping veterans.’ It is the primary reason why our organization was formed,” he said.

Among its many activities, the post recognizes people in Portland who have done outstanding services for the community. This includes police officers, corrections officers, fire fighters, teachers, and even boy scouts and girl scouts. The post sponsors an area cub scout group. It participates in parades and in graveside services for service members and for former service members. It also furnishes flags and grave markers for members when they pass.

“Our most important activity this year was the benefit dinner we held to support the community of Mayfield, Kentucky, after the tornadoes struck there,” said David. “We raised over $3000 of support in simply one evening. I think that this says a lot about our community. I’ve been all over the world and I can honestly say that Portland is unique. One of the principal benefits to me of being involved in the VFW has been the opportunity to give back to Portland and to its veterans,” he said.

During this past year the post also erected a flag and flagpole at Veterans’ Memorial Bridge. The flag is incorporated with Splash Park, in a joint project with the VFW auxiliary and with the American Legion.

“I found this project to be particularly meaningful because it is dedicated to the children of Portland,” said David. “The flag is there to remind them of the freedom that this country helps them to enjoy. We want these children to know that they will continue to enjoy freedom if they remain vigilant as adults.”

The VFW and the American Legion offers its facilities for rent to the public for such occasions as weddings, funerals, and banquets. Renters do not need to be members of the post. The facility seats fully 200 people. The post also hosts breakfasts and dinners and these are open to the general public. Nine breakfasts will be offered this season, as well as eight burger nights and eight fish fries. A schedule of the breakfasts and dinners is available at www.vfw4090.org.

The Portland VFW/American Legion

1324 East Bridge Street

Portland, MI 48875

Telephone: (517) 647-4980

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