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Twin Cities Talk: Trustee wants to broaden scope of VFW

Published: Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

ROCK FALLS – Don Walters, a trustee at VFW Post 5418, wants people to look at it in a different way: He wants the post to be seen as more than just a bar.

“Veterans and their families should be the top priority,” Walters told me Thursday afternoon at my first “office hours” at the VFW.

The post should be “doing something besides selling drinks,” he said.

Walters and I talked about the club’s state of affairs. The bar brings in revenue, but for him, VFW’s other goals are far more important, he said.

He told me how he helped to make sure a local veteran had a ride to the Quad Cities so he could take the Honor Flight, which flies veterans to Washington, D.C., free of charge to visit war memorials.

The veteran’s wife called Walters on Thursday, the day of the flight, to tell him “thanks.”

That sort of help is the kind of thing Walters wants to see the veterans organization do more of.

Veering away from catering to veterans’ needs has driven some members away from the organization, said Walters, adding that he’d like to see more younger members, who would bring new ideas and life to the group.

Walters has another great idea: He envisions getting in touch with area companies that have job openings, creating a bulletin board and posting the openings at the VFW.

It’s just another way to help vets.

For Walters, the VFW’s most important service is to “be here to help and advise all veterans, especially ones coming home.”

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5418 is at 217 First Ave. in Rock Falls. It is open from 2 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday.

Sauk Valley Media reporter Kiran Sood covers government and happenings in Sterling and Rock Falls. She can be reached at ksood@saukvalley.com or at 800-798-4085, ext. 529.

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