Ripon VFW seeks Iraq, Afghanistan vet­er­ans

Ripon Bulletin - - Front Page - By GLENN KAHL

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.

Photo con­trib­uted

VFW Com­man­der Re­tired Lt. Navy Com­man­der Jorge Miguel Velez is shown with his wife Joanne, daugh­ter Jianna and son Justyn, 13.

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