By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Licking Memorial Post #6337 celebrates their 50th anniversary this year. The post was established August 5, 1973, by the authority of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, which was celebrating its 75th anniversary that same year. Veteran comrades of foreign wars, numbering 47, who had honorably served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force comprised the membership of the newly established post. Donald Rector served as commander the first two years, and is one of numerous Charter Life Members of Post #6337.
Post #6337 continued to grow, having 174 members in January 1988. Today, they continue to welcome new members.
Following the VFW Mission, our local post fosters veteran camaraderie and continues to serve at a local level.
Through VFW action two members, Francis Day, WWI, and David Bontitatibus, WWII, received Purple Heart Medals. More recently, due to the generosity of donors, they host presentations of Quilts of Valor to area veterans.
As a non-profit organization the fund-raising efforts over the years have been varied and include serving lunch at farm sales, turkey shoots, barbecue benefits, a mobile canteen at community events, and Bingo.
Beneficiaries of their generosity are many and have included Veterans Benefit Counseling, assistance for the Licking Volunteer City-Rural Fire Department, Thanksgiving baskets, community facilities and equipment, funeral expense assistance, Love Funds for area citizens, scholarship funds and sports sponsorships. Over the years they have made the Post home available for use as a distribution point for commodities, polling place, voter registration, and MSHP and MCD safety programs. Post veterans also participate in giving Military Funeral Honors at comrades’ funerals.
The Voice of Democracy program, began in 1974 to foster patriotism with high school students, and Patriot’s Pen, for junior high students, are programs that continue annually, as does the scholarship program.
Current leadership is Commander Billie Krewson, who has served in this position since 2007.
He shares, “I would hope to be a part of this organization for the next 50 years. The role the VFW has played in Veteran’s Benefits and Services has been invaluable.”
The veterans of VFW Post #6337 honor veterans at the Memorial Day Ceremony held at the Licking Memorial for the Fallen on Veterans Day, collect retired flags at a collection box located at City Hall, hold a Dignified Flag Disposal with area students in the fall each year, and maintain the large U.S. Flag that flies at the corner of Hwy. 63 and Hwy. 32.
Commander Krewson accepted a post award from the national VFW in August, recognizing their Golden Anniversary. (The Licking News, August 10, 2023, edition)
Our sincerest thanks to the veterans of VFW Post #6337 for their service to our country and their service to our community.