Local military combat servicemen are seeking fellow vets to form a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in the Fraser Valley.
The VFW seeks to foster camaraderie among military personnel involved in overseas conflict and provide advocacy on their behalf. Founded after the 1898 Spanish-American War, the VFW has grown to become an important voice in forming the Veteran’s Administration, creating a modern G.I. bill and improving access to care at veteran medical centers.
Disabled U.S. Marines combat veteran Patrick Barlow has spearheaded the effort to form a post in East Grand County, saying it serves as a useful tool in assimilating back to civilian life.
“Our biggest priority is serving veterans who served at any point in their life, whether it was World War II or Iraq or any point, helping them to get back and transition,” Barlow said. “It’s not easy for most, it wasn’t easy for me.”
To start a local post, Barlow needs at least 25 new or reinstated VFW members. Currently, the closest posts to the Fraser Valley are located in Kremmling and Black Hawk.
The VFW has trained advocates who help veterans navigate and understand their educational and VA medical benefits. They provide housing, employment and financial assistance. Annual membership fees are $35.
“Our biggest concern, as a local post, is to help guide local veterans, line up places to work and live, use them where they can be used, and give back to the community at the same time,” Barlow said.
Veterans interested in joining the VFW and forming a local post can contact Barlow at 970-531-6894.