Anyone who has visited the Lebanon Post Office has probably noticed the VFW building next door at 318 W Main St. With the larger than life silhouettes of soldiers on white panels on the front of the building, the POW and American flags flying high, and the solitary table set for the missing service member in the front window, it’s easy to see that it is a meeting place where veterans can gather. In reality, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is far more than that. For generations it has provided assistance to any veterans in need, whether life-long Lebanon residents or those just passing through.
The red brick VFW building in Lebanon is the home of Post 910, headed by Post Commander Stan Skelton, a spry Vietnam era Navy vet who served as a part of the Cuban Blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He’s held several posts in the organization, here and in other cities, but his first memories are of coming to the Lebanon VFW as a child with his father when times were tough and the Post made sure all of the children had a little something for Christmas. He’ll be the first to tell you that the VFW is more than a social club; it’s a refuge for veterans in need of support. Open seven days a week, they still receive regular requests for assistance from vets who have fallen on hard times and they help in whatever way they are able. They also support the community and are involved in events throughout the year including the Fourth of July Parade and the Back to the Fifties Festival.
In its heyday the VFW building was a bustling place, with the American Legion and Eagles also housed nearby. There are a lot of familiar local names among the member boards on the walls, including deceased lifetime members whose tags are white. Now with fewer than 200 members and a loyal auxiliary, it’s quieter around the place because, as Stan says, younger people have more to do these days. They may not gather with their buddies at the Post, but there are still a number of regulars who can be found there for activities throughout the week. Post trustee and Navy Vet, Nicolette Selby says she always feels comfortable going over alone if she is looking for friendly faces and a safe place to relax and socialize.
While the VFW is a members-only organization, the spacious main bar area is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays for those 18 and older. On Friday nights, visitors can enjoy karaoke and try their luck with the American Raffle. The kitchen is also open with light fare such as salads and sandwiches. Saturdays feature activities such as darts and corn hole tournaments. On Mondays members and their guests can gather for a game of Texas Holdem. Even on the evenings that the doors are open to the public, the members take pride in making sure the atmosphere remains friendly and welcoming so everyone can have a good time.
Founded in 1899, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United Sates is a nonprofit veterans’ service organization whose members include veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces. Three things are necessary to be eligible for membership: US Citizenship; Honorable Service; and Service in a war, campaign, or expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters. The VFW also has an active auxiliary composed of relatives of those who served in overseas combat. All eligible veterans and family members are encouraged to consider joining these respective groups.
Lebanon’s VFW Post 910 is proud to remain an active member of the Lebanon community. They invite area residents to stop in on a Friday or Saturday and have a look around, meet some nice people, and help support an organization that is devoted to taking care of veterans in need.