Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2019, here in Mount Airy, is becoming more involved in helping area veterans, according to Post Commander David Raborn. Recently, the group installed a flag pole in the front yard of a local World War II veteran.
Also, on Tuesday the post handed over a $500 gift card to the winner of a drawing. Raborn said that the drawing had raised more than $1,500 for the VFW. According to Raborn the proceeds are split between a fund to help veterans in need and one that funds operations such as Veterans Park.
Tina Edwards, of Sparta, had the winning raffle ticket. Edwards said she had visited the Mount Airy Lowe’s home improvement store in search of a new microwave. As she passed through the entrance of the store she purchased the $5 raffle ticket. Earlier this week she learned that her ticket had been drawn. Edwards said she’s not sure how she will use the $500 gift card.
Raborn said that three local businesses allowed VFW representatives to sell raffle tickets at store locations. Lowe’s, WalMart and Rose’s have been huge supporters of the VFW’s mission, according to Raborn.
According to Raborn, while raffles aren’t usually permitted under North Carolina law, the group’s non-profit status allows it to use raffles in fundraising efforts. Raborn said money that’s raised often goes toward paying an electricity bill in the winter or even replacing plumbing in homes of “brothers or widows of brothers in need.”
Raborn is new to the post of commander and he said the new motto for the organization is “moving forward.”
“We want to show the city of Mount Airy that we are doing our part in taking care of our veterans,” said Raborn, “we want to put a better foot forward.”
Raborn said his goal for the post is to have a larger presence, adding that the organization is now recruiting younger veterans. Raborn said many veterans of recent wars such as the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan enjoy benefits for which prior generations of VFW members have fought. Raborn said getting these younger veterans involved is important in the fight to keep those benefits.
Raborn said the VFW was created by World War I veterans as a way to fight for veterans’ benefits. He said the organization has played a key role in welcoming veterans home from conflicts such as Vietnam and Korea. He said the organization’s members have a common bond no matter what era or conflict in which a veteran served — the bond of service in an active combat zone.
One instance of helping a brother in need came recently when WWII veteran Joe Haymore’s flag pole was torn down by severe weather conditions. Raborn said that Haymore wanted to fly the flag for which he had fought. The members of VFW post 2019 responded, installing a brand-new flag pole, atop which Haymore proudly flies the red, white and blue.
The Mount Airy VFW meets on every second Monday of the month at Veterans Park at 7:00 p.m. Veterans interested in becoming members need only to produce a Department of Defense form 214 showing that they have served in a combat zone.
Andy Winemiller is a staff writer at the Mount Airy News. Andy can be reached at (336) 415-4698 or [email protected]