The local VFW Post 992, 102 North Colville Street, is bursting with live music, a new menu and plenty of plans for Veterans Day on November 11.

Veterans and their families can come in Monday for breakfast 7-9:30 a.m. then, after a parade, at about noon a chili dog lunch will be served.

A band will kick off the afternoon with live music at 1 p.m., with more bands following.

“Most of the band members are veterans,” said Post and Regional Commander Trina Parrish. Enthusiasm is high, and a large turnout is expected.

More festivities will be going on that day as well. Despite an ever-present friendly rivalry between the branches of service, there are good natured celebrations of each branch’s beginnings.

“On Veterans Day, we celebrate a belated Marine birthday, which is Nov. 10. So we’re going to have a cake,” said Senior Vice Commander Joe Koning.

Beyond Veterans Day, the VFW also holds regularly scheduled meals Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 5-9 p.m., as well as music events and bingo. (There will be no bingo on Veterans Day but they have a special game scheduled for the following day.)

On Thursdays there are open mic and jam nights as well as more live music Fridays at 7 p.m. Bingo is held Monday and Tuesday evenings. “Bingo is our main fundraiser,” Parrish said.

Aside from these events, the post offers other great services to veterans and to the public. For example, the post is also a place to drop off old flags for proper and honorable disposal.

To the education sector, the VFW offers country-wide scholarship programs, of which the premiere program is the Voice of Democracy Program, where students write and record an essay on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme is “What Makes America Great.”

Koning encourages younger veterans to come in and get involved. “See if you’re eligible. Bring in your 214 discharge papers,” Koning said.

Younger members help keep all civic, veterans, hobby and interest groups in operation as the older members age out of active participation.

And there are many reasons to get involved: The local post is on the verge of a large, multi-phase remodel, according to Koning. The kitchen has been upgraded, and more remodeling is planned.

“We’ve revamped the menu,” Koning said. “We have wings and finger foods and we’re changing a few things.”

“The kitchen will be three times the size,” he said. The menu will also expand a bit. Parrish said another possibility is a Sunday brunch, but that is still being discussed.

Parrish said they are entertaining all kinds of ideas for new things to offer for veterans and for the public. The establishment is family friendly until 9 p.m. The building is also available to rent for private parties.

The remodel will include features like a kid’s corner with computers for homework and a Play Station. They also want to extend the stage and install new windows and carpet. By Nov. 11, they hope to have it freshly painted.

Koning said they are looking for new local bands, hoping for two bands per month, for more variety. They are also gearing up for the 2020 Guitar Festival, March 13-15.

The VFW offers a lot to the veterans and the community but more support for veterans and their families is needed.

Chaplain Don Schack said the follow up after discharge is very small and veterans need more. However, the staff at the VFW does work very closely with Blue Mountain Action Council and Helpline.

The VFW is actively seeking new members which will help sustain the organization and offer more help to the younger veterans and their families.

To find out more, get involved and to get help, call the Post: 509-525-1310, the chaplain: 509-386-3564 or the commander: 509-520-0982.

Karlene Ponti can be reached at karleneponti@wwub.com or 509-526-8324.

Karlene Ponti began as Special Publications Writer in 1999, work includes Lifestyles, The Weekly and Business Monthly. After Wa-Hi, Ponti attended Whitman and is a UW graduate. Later she was ordained a Christian minister at CDM Spiritual Teaching Center.