Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Donations Help our VFW Wahkiakum Post 5297

The local Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wahkiakum Post 5297, operates in Cathlamet. We meet on the first Tuesday of every month at the Cathlamet Fire Hall. Currently, there are 64 combat veteran members in the Post. We have about 270 veterans listed in Wahkiakum County. We believe there are many more veterans living within Wahkiakum County, but have not contacted us, and we would like to hear from you. As with most organizations, we have a hierarchy structure. We belong to District 16, which has a total of 7 posts in Southwest Washington. There are 560 members in the District. We then have the Washington State VFW or Department which has nearly 24,000 members. The VFW National Organization has 1,042,668 members and that is one of the main reasons the organization is so important. With over a million members, the VFW has a voice in Washington D.C. to help make things happen for all veterans. As the nation’s oldest major war veteran’s organization, VFW has an impeccable and longstanding record of service and stewardship. More than 4.5 million patriotic Americans, both members and non-members, entrust the VFW with financial contributions. Millions of volunteer hours donated by VFW members are used to help other veterans and their communities. Our mission is to foster camaraderie among United States veterans of overseas conflicts, to serve our veterans, their families, our communities, and to advocate on behalf of all veterans. Our vision is to ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great county. Locally, our Post seeks donations to help local veterans in need, to donate to local causes, recognize and make cash awards to local students, teachers, and first responders. Last year we donated $1,300 to various local causes such as, Girl Scouts, National Veterans Children’s Home, Wahkiakum County Search and Rescue, Cowlitz Stand Down for Veterans, Heroes of the Ballpark (attended by hospitalized and disabled veterans), Honor Flight (for WWII, Korea, and Vietnam veterans), Northwest Battle Buddies (Service dogs for combat veterans), Veterans Homeless Fund, USO, Special Olympics, and VMS (Veterans and Military Support).

We are heavily involved with our local schools. We awarded about $1,200 to winners of the Patriots Pen essay program for grades 6-8, and Youth Essay program for grades 3-5. There were no submissions for the Voice of Democracy for grades 9-12. Each year students are given patriotic themes to write about, the essays are evaluated, judged, and winners receive recognition and cash awards. All essay winners move up to District and State. The Voice of Democracy and Patriots Pen winners move up to National competition level, recognized and awarded cash awards. The National winner of the Voice of Democracy receives a $35,000 scholarship and Patriots Pen winner receives $5,000. In conjunction with the Youth Essay programs, we have a Teacher of the Year competition, but no submissions last year. We also educate our local youth about patriotism and respecting the flag. Prior to each Memorial Day Ceremony, we sponsor a middle school class to come out and plant American flags on veteran gravesites while teaching them about the importance of the special day. We participate each year in the Veterans Day Ceremony at each of our high schools and share our experiences with the students. Each year we receive candidates for recognition and awards in our Public Servant Awards Program. We select winners for Law Enforcement, 911 Dispatchers, Fire Fighters and EMT’s. Last year there was no submission for 911 Dispatcher. Each winner received a plaque, a certificate of recognition, and $100.

We facilitate working with veterans in accessing the Wahkiakum County Veterans Relief Fund. If a veteran contacts us and is in need of funds to help pay for utility bills, fuel, food (and personal items), rent, funeral assistance, prescription medicine, medical transportation, or the cost of building or purchasing required accommodations for handicap or aged veterans, we complete vouchers to access those county controlled funds. The county funds have limitations, and we have in the past helped with supplementing those funds from our Post account.

We help all veterans with navigating through the Veterans Administration to get their benefits and entitlements. We participate in ceremonies honoring our veterans and those that have fallen. Recently we have facilitated the building of three handicap ramps for veterans and families of veterans. We are working on a fourth ramp project. We are currently partnering with the county and the American Legion and looking to build a memorial to all veterans at the flagpole at the County Court House. The project is in its initial stages.

Our Post is beginning a period of fundraising with booths to be set up during various local events, such as the Street Fair, Bald Eagle Festival, County Fair, Memorial and Veterans Days. We are planning to have a raffle of a hunting bow and arrow set, a quilt, and a camp box. We will raffle a firearm later in the year. On May 23rd, a Thursday, we will be supervising students decorating veteran graves at the Greenwood Cemetery. Beginning on May 24th, a Friday, we will have a booth at the Street Fair at the Marina. On May 25th and 26th, a Saturday and Sunday, we will have booths at the Cathlamet Market and Dollar General. On May 27th, a Monday, we will have a Memorial Day Ceremony at the Greenwood Cemetery at 0900. The public is invited and the ceremony should last about 30 minutes.

We are supported by our VFW Auxiliary Post, made up of our spouses and any family members. They help with fundraising, special events, and logistics.

Our primary fundraisers are donations from the public and year-round poppy distribution. We encourage your support by donating to VFW Wahkiakum Post 5297. Please donate what you can by calling our Quartermaster, Justin Tawater, at (564) 262-2011, or email him at vfwpost5297@outlook.com. You can mail your donations to Justin Tawater, 80 North Welcome Slough Road, Cathlamet, WA 98612. Your donations are very much needed, and they are tax deductible. If you have any questions about the VFW, please contact the Post Commander, Bill Tawater, at 360-849-4151 or email him at vfwpost5297@outlook.com. Thank you.

 

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