In 1947 the VFW was formed in Ticonderoga with William Gregory as commander. Other veterans active at the time were Richard Hill, Bob Gilbert, Louis DeFebbio, Tom Malaney, Clifford Tobin, Ralph Dunkley, Alfred Fosie, Hayden Wallace, and Dr. Rudolph Martin. This group met at the armory on Champlain Avenue.
During the next few years, they had a basketball team which, according to newspaper articles, were beat more often than not. Clifford Tobin became Essex County Service Officer for the VFW in 1949. Many send-off parties for soldiers were held and of course they always marched in parades as a very proud group. In 1949, the WWII marker was erected at the Black Watch Library with 14 names on the plaque. This was similar to the existing WWI memorial.
Direct community involvement has always been and will continue to be a VFW priority. The benevolence of the VFW and its auxiliaries extends well beyond the realm of veterans helping veterans. Annually, VFW and auxiliaries donate more than 13 million volunteer hours of community service. VFW members are mentoring youth groups, helping in community food kitchens, volunteering in blood drives and visiting hospitalized veterans. Others are helping veterans file compensation claims or are "voicing their vote" with elected officials.
VFW's community service programs are designed to encourage service and increase civic pride, which ultimately enhances education, improves the environment and ensures the availability of health services for our nations veterans. VFW's citizenship education program is designed to stimulate interest in America's history and traditions and to promote citizenship, civic responsibility and patriotism. VFW's youth scholarship programs provide more than $3.5 million in scholarships to our nation's youth. They include Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen youth essay contest and Scout of the Year.
The VFW's partnership with the Boy Scouts of America includes sponsoring of mor than 1,200 scouting units with 40,000 members across the nation. VFW's safety program encourages VFW posts and auxiliaries to conduct programs in home, auto and bicycle safety, as well as programs dealing with drug awareness and substance abuse. The VFW national home for children is a community development in a family like environment that is home to orphaned or single parent children of VFW or Ladies Auxiliary members. The home, which was established in 1925 on 160 acres in Eaton Rapids, Mich., emphasizes the values of education, good work habits and sound moral character.
Whether providing scholarships to the nation's youth or helping veterans receive the entitlements they have earned, the VFW is there to honor the dead by helping the living.
This series of articles is compliments of Ticonderoga Heritage Museum, located in the 1888 building at the entrance of Bicentennial Park.