Champions Rotary Club Donates 100 Backpacks to Help Roanoke VFW Post 5074

Left to right: Front row: Joanie Roper, Deb Walls, Bob Bonner; back row: Roger Shady, Robert Rouse, Kyla Oberg, Irene Dancer, Allison Lansdowne (photo by Dave Everly)

Thank you to Joanie Roper, Bob Bonner, and Robert Rouse from 5074, VFW Post Roanoke, for coming today to tell us some of the great things you do to help vets. It was our pleasure to donate 100 backpacks that were passed out to members with a list of things to fill the backpacks with. The filled backpacks will be returned at next Wednesday’s meeting so they can be distributed to those vets in need.

The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans’ pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves.

In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations with what would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum. By 1915, membership grew to 5,000; by 1936, membership was almost 200,000.

The VFW also has fought for improving VA medical centers services for women veterans.

Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II, and Women in Military Service memorials, the VFW in 2005 became the first veterans’ organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in November 2010.

Annually, the nearly 2 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliaries contribute more than 8.6 million hours of volunteerism in the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and National Volunteer Week.