By MICAH HENRY
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5,466 of Taylorsville had to move this fall to another location, having had to vacate the County-owned building next to CVCC as it will be used for Workforce Development. Fortunately, they found an obliging partner in the Taylorsville Lions Club, which will host VFW meetings at the Lions Club Fairgrounds on NC 16 South.
VFW Commander Terry Harrington and Trustee Andrew Ferguson sat down with The Times and Lions Club leaders Brenda Higgins and D.J. Curry to explain the new partnership.
The VFW held its first meeting in the Lions Club building on Monday, October 3. VFW meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Lions Den portion of the property.
VFW Post 5,466 stood up (formed) in 1946. At one time, the VFW and American Legion used to meet at the old Rock Store near Alexander Railroad Company.
A National Guard Armory was being planned in Taylorsville in the early 1980s. The project needed matching funds for construction. The VFW sold its meeting place (Rock Store) and donated $25,343.48 to Alexander County, with a non-written proviso for hosting VFW meetings at the new Armory, said Ferguson, who has researched the VFW minutes.
The Armory was the VFW Post 5,466 meeting site until a few months ago, when NC National Guard asked VFW to vacate the Armory as it would need the facility for storage (for the upcoming consolidation of Taylorsville and Mocksville units into the Wilkes Armory).
After VFW left the Armory, Alexander County Government had allowed VFW to meet at the smaller of two Taylor Togs buildings (which the County purchased a few years ago to expand CVCC).
Ferguson noted that Alexander County has one of the highest concentrations, per capita, of veterans in the State, and North Carolina has one of the highest amounts of veterans in its population compared to other states.
The VFW Post plans to install a Veterans Information Board, for all veterans’ organizations to post pertinent items upon, outside the Lions Club building.
Harrington related that VFW can help “fill the gap” until Veterans Affairs can fund veterans’ needs, such as wheelchairs, beds, glasses, etc.
And the need for help is great, the vets noted.
“All these organizations need volunteers, the VFW, Legion, DAV, Lions Club. It is an opportunity for people to participate,” Ferguson related.
The VFW recently moved its 1962 Studebaker military truck to the Lions Club property. A Bell UH-1 “Huey” MedEvac helicopter is scheduled to be acquired by the VFW in January 2017 for display purposes. Civilians and veterans may contact VFW to volunteer for cleanup and cosmetic restoration of the Vietnam-era Huey.
It was noted DAV Chap. 84 has a veterans cremated remains (cremains) bench and a Veterans Walk, for any era veteran, at the City Cemetery as well.
Lion Brenda Higgins said partnering with VFW is one of many ways the service club is diversifying and revitalizing itself after the club discontinued its annual Agricultural Fair last year.
“It will be a great thing,” Higgins said of the VFW input.
On Thursdays, the Lions Club hosts a Small Animal Auction, with auctioneer Charlie Coulson. The Cook Shack is open during the auctions for refreshments. A Lawnmower Race is held every other weekend at the Fairgrounds by Full Throttle Racing Assoc. Higgins said the Lions are also considering opening the Exhibit Hall for indoor yard sales and car shows.
She noted the Exhibit Hall is open for rental, call 828-632-2226 for details.
The Lions Club will host wrestling on October 15. The Horror Hills Big Bad Bus is October 21-22, and 27-29 at 84 Reganswood Drive in Bethlehem (off Richey Road), sponsored by the Lions Club. It is not recommended for children under age 12.
Higgins and Ferguson urged any potential donors to donate locally, so that all the funds will be used within Alexander County, instead of contacting state or national sites.
Harrington cautioned against phone calls which solicit funds for veterans, saying many are scams.
The men noted that the late veteran John Maddy got the ball rolling, to turn VFW from a fraternal, lets-share-war-stories group to a community service organization. For instance, the VFW goes to local schools to teach flag ettiquette.
Are you a veteran and need some assistance, or want to help other vets?
For more information, contact VFW Post 5,466 Cmdr. Terry Harrington at 828-320-8211, DAV Chapter 84 Cmdr. Kris Knowlton at 828-315-1992, American Legion Post 170 Commander Mike Annas at 704-517-2941, or Ginger Annas, Alexander County Veterans Services Officer, at 828-632-5411.