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April 5, 2011 > State Commander and State President come to dinner

State Commander and State President come to dinner

By Simon Wong

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) State Commander Denis Wells and State President of the Ladies Auxiliary VFW (LAVFW) Judy Jones were guests of honor at a recent dinner hosted by VFW District 14 Castro Valley Post 9601.

Wells, who served in Vietnam for 19 months with 843 Helicopter Air Rescue and as a US Air Force firefighter for 21 years, has been involved with veterans' organizations since 1985. He is keen to ensure veterans, who are serving, retired or have returned to civilian life, and their families and members of the Reserve or National Guard receive the services and the benefits due to them.

"To become a VFW member, a serviceman must have served in a foreign conflict. The organization will try and assist veterans who cannot join VFW as long as they have been discharged honorably. Typically, the applicant's background is considered to see if another services organization might provide more assistance, such as the American Legion," explained Wells. "We strongly recommend joining to keep abreast of veterans' affairs."

VFW has foundations at state and national levels which are chartered to provide services to servicemen and their families. The Military Assistance Program helps fund Farewell and Welcome Home gatherings for units worldwide. Operation Uplink provides servicemen with free, pre-paid phone cards. Unmet Needs offers a one-time hardship grant up to $2,500 to servicemen and their families.

The organization is deeply involved with the community and youth, funding scholarship programs such as The Voice of Democracy, Patriot Pen and Scout of the Year. VFW also works closely with the Boy Scouts of America, America Supports You and America's Promise-The Alliance for Youth and partners with the National Rifle Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, International Association of Firefighters and the Salvation Army. VFW's citizenship education program covers American history, the nation's traditions and institutions and promotes patriotism.

VFW District 14 Castro Valley Post 9601 is raising funds for a veterans' memorial at Castro Valley Community Park, 18988 Lake Chabot Road. Groundbreaking and construction will not begin until the $80,000 target is reached. Dedication is planned for November 11, 2011, Veterans' Day.

"When we hear of a memorial, such as the Castro Valley Veterans' Memorial, we encourage people to support it. VFW often makes a donation but we are also careful not to supplant local support," explained Wells. "The Castro Valley Veterans' Memorial is beautifully designed and we look forward to its Dedication."

To donate and for more information about the Veterans of Foreign Wars, visit, about the Ladies Auxiliary VFW, visit, about the VFW National Home for Children, visit and about the Veterans Memorial Museum, visit

For more information about the Castro Valley Veterans' Memorial, to request a commemorative brick, Service Stone name engraving or simply to make a donation, visit Alternatively, contact Bob Pirone at (510) 418-6311 and

For those who do not wish to order or donate online, either download an order form at or contact Bob Pirone for a form and mail checks (payable to "VFW Post 9601-CVVM") to CVVM, 22237 Queen Street, Castro Valley, CA 94546.

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