September 22, 2005

Memphis V.F.W. Post #4958 To Celebrate 60th Anniversary

Not too many organizations wish that their membership rolls would shrink, but ask any member of the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 Veterans of Foreign Wars and they would be glad to have no new members. That would mean an end to local soldiers serving in conflicts on foreign soil.

But as the organization marks its 60th anniversary later this fall, it continues to receive new members from the ranks of the soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom to join those that served our nation in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States was originally mustered back on November 20th, 1945 at the courthouse in Memphis. A total of 91 charter members helped open the organization some 60 years ago.

Today there are six charter members still active with the club, William H. Adams of LaPlata, Cecil C. Peck of Independence, Paul H. (Bud) Burns, Charles E. Harris, William R. (Bill) Purvis, and Jess L. Rockhold all of Memphis.

In addition to the charter members, the local V.F.W. also has the distinction of having the oldest living past state post commander, Boyd T. Croley of Memphis, who served in 1957.

The Memphis V.F.W. originated with veterans returning from World War II. Currently there are 170 veterans that are members of the club including 66 veterans of WWII.

Originally the post formed as a gathering spot for the veterans and also provided needed services for members such as ambulance coverage. Fifty-nine years ago the post hosted its inaugural Memorial Day Service on the courthouse lawn in Memphis.

In addition to service to its members, the V.F.W. maintains a charitable presence in the community. Post #4958 hosts an annual March of Dimes fund-raiser dinner in February, generating donations for causes such as the battles against heart disease, cancer or leukemia.

Over its 60 years in the community, the post has been active supporting the Scotland County Fair, Little League baseball and softball and has been called upon to provide the color guard for numerous celebrations and parades. The group sponsored the junior rifle club. For years the members of the V.F.W. have been supplying hams and turkeys to the Scotland County Nutrition Center and the Scotland County Care Center during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

More recently post members have started an educational service for local schools, Members offer presentations and class demonstrations regarding the history of the United States flag as well as etiquette for properly handling the Stars and Stripes.

Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 Veterans of Foreign Wars will host a 60th anniversary celebration at the club on Saturday, October 1st. Members and their guests will gather for dinner and an evening of entertainment. For more information see the ad on Page 16.

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