By Chance Chamberlain
Founded in September 1945, Cass County Memorial VFW Post 4409 will celebrate its diamond jubilee with a free ice cream social Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at 1804 N. Commercial St., Harrisonville.
Post Commander Larry Stewart said the celebration is a good way to give back. “We really wanted to celebrate our 75th Anniversary by giving back to the community because, well, you only turn 75 one time. The event is open to the public and free to everybody, so come out and celebrate with us,” he said.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars in the United States was founded nationally in September 1899 and Stewart said the mission of the VFW, both nationally and locally, is to serve veterans and get them the help they worked so hard to earn.
“Our primary focus at the post is to help veterans get back on their feet. Truth be told, veterans don’t have much of anything when they return from conflict and we do our best to help them get back on their feet because they sacrificed for their country and they deserve all of the help that we can offer,” he said. “We advocate a lot for veterans to apply for disabilities because many soldiers return and don’t know that they are eligible for compensation. We really act as a steppingstone to get them started in their process for disability.”
The local VFW works hard to serve the community in any way it can, according to Stewart. “Our primary focus is helping veterans in Cass County, but we don’t limit ourselves to just that. We sponsor local Boy Scouts troops and we provide two essay scholarships so that kids have financial help at the college level,” he said. “We donate to multiple charities and organizations here in the Kansas City area, but COVID has made it difficult on us to get directly involved with the community.” VFW Post 4409 is home to 150 local members, a number Stewart said he wants to see grow.
“Right now, we have 150 total members in the post here in Cass County and of the total number, 105 of our members are over the age of 65. We have had trouble reaching the younger generation of veterans to become members.
“When I returned home from Vietnam, the World War II vets didn’t want us to join the VFW because they looked down on the war. We fought our way into the post and now, I feel so blessed to be able to help people out like we do. It’s just a fantastic way to serve the community and I hope that eligible veterans will see our work and join the post,” he said.
Stewart said he is proud of the Cass County VFW Post and that they accept community involvement.
“I feel good about our post and what we have accomplished over the last 75 years. I know that some people look at the VFW like a smokey bar, but we have worked to change that to become a post that works our hardest to help people out.
“We would love for the community to become involved in what we do here and the best way to do that is to just swing by to lend a helping hand whenever you can. We also accept donations to assist our programs and projects that we have planned,” he said.
Stewart added, “The VFW is like another avenue of service. We serve the veterans and the community to the best of our ability. Whether that means, sponsoring veterans to aid in disability or providing scholarships for kids to continue their education, we try to help out any way that we can.”