Ripon VFW seeks Iraq, Afghanistan veterans
Retired Navy Lieutenant Commander Jorge Miguel Velez — the new leader of the Ripon Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1051 — is seeking Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans to join the organization.
Velez served most recently in Kandahar Afghanistan in a combat hospital. The commander is currently working as an Interventional (IR) Cath Lab registered nurse at Kaiser Hospital in Modesto.
Velez pointed to the current attrition at VFW posts nationwide where the older vets are dying away.
He noted that the numbers of World War II vets now in the VFW has dwindled down to a very few adding that it will be the Desert Storm and Afghanistan service personnel who will guarantee the future and viability of the VFW.
Velez explained that the VFW is the nation’s largest and oldest major war veterans’ organization having been founded in 1899. It is comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces.
There are more than 1.6 million VFW and Auxiliary members at 6,300 posts in the nonprofit veteran service organization worldwide. He stressed that no one organization does more for its veterans than the VFW that is dedicated to veterans’ services, legislative advocacy as well as military and community service programs.
It all began when the American Veterans of Foreign Service and the National Society of
the Army of the Philippines were organized to secure rights and benefits for veterans from the Spanish-American War in 1898 and the Philippines War 1899-1902. Velez said the two organizations then merged in 1914 creating the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and was chartered by Congress in 1936.
To be eligible to join a VFW post the veteran service member must have served honorably in a foreign war or overseas operation that has been recognized by a campaign medal, in Korea after June 30, 1949, and recipients of hostile fire or imminent danger pay. Veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Persian Gulf, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and other smaller expeditionary campaigns as well as occupation duty quality for membership Velez explained.
Both the Ripon and Manteca VFW posts are “family” in their own rights with veterans of all services having fun and working together to make the future of American vets as bright as possible dealing with a litany of challenges from education and employment to health care and suicide prevention and dealing with homelessness as well as meeting the needs of women veterans.
The Ripon VFW is located on West Ripon Road at Olive Avenue west of town and the Manteca VFW post is on Moffat Boulevard near Powers Avenue.
VFW Commander Retired Lt. Navy Commander Jorge Miguel Velez is shown with his wife Joanne, daughter Jianna and son Justyn, 13.