Sunnyside VFW to host open house

Those wishing to learn more about the Sunnyside VFW will have the opportunity to do so on Friday, Dec. 18.

The local post will host an open house, which is open to the public, beginning at 3 p.m.

"Our motto is honoring the dead by serving the living," explained post commander Bill Ingram. "That's what the VFW is all about, helping members of the service that need assistance."

Ingram is the first to admit the common perception people have about VFW clubs.

"Everybody thinks it's just a place veterans go to drink and raise heck and they just don't care," he said, adding, "We're trying to get away from the (idea) that we're just a bunch of drunks."

Ingram said one of the post functions is putting veterans in need of assistance with things like food, lodging and disability benefits in touch with resources.

The post is also home to the Honor Guard; its main objective is to honor fallen veterans with military funerals. The Honor Guard also represents veterans in parades and at school assemblies, and also conducts flag raising ceremonies.

Honor Guard members will be on hand at the open house, providing a "meet and greet" type format for those wishing to learn more.

A VFW post is also home to different organizations, like the Ladies and Mens Auxiliaries. As Ingram puts it, these groups "help us help the veterans." There are also AmVet clubs, which is comprised of American veterans who've never served on foreign soil. "There are a bunch of different portions to the post so nobody gets left out," Ingram said.

The actual VFW members are those who've served in a war and Ingram said the list of conflicts is lengthy. It includes significant events like the Bay of Pigs and the American military's involvement in places like Grenada and Bosnia.

The best way for veterans to know if they qualify for membership into the VFW, said Ingram, is to come to the post on Dec. 18 and ask.

Ingram also recommends coming with an empty stomach, as a special dinner of babyback ribs is planned beginning at 5:30 p.m. for just $7.

Meals at the VFW are commonplace.

On Saturday, Dec. 19, community members are encouraged to bring their children to the VFW post to have breakfast with Santa between 9 a.m. and noon, which costs $4. The event will feature a coloring contest and a photographer will be on hand for pictures with Santa Claus and his elf.

Ingram said the post is now featuring hearty breakfasts every Sunday from 8 to 11 a.m. "If you walk away hungry, it's your fault," joked Ingram. Cost for the breakfast ranges from $3.50 to $5 per person.

Ingram said in addition to Wednesday night taco dinners and burger night, which is every Monday, efforts are currently underway to bring back Friday night dinners.

All meal events are open to the public, as is breakfast with Santa and the open house.

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