I have lived in Douglas County for over 15 years. During this time and before I have been alongside my father, Commander Mike Eakin of the Patrick W. Kelly VFW post 2468, volunteerng for various veterans’ programs and events.
What is VFW you may ask? VFW stands for Veterans of Foreign Wars, a nonprofit organization that strives to help veterans here at home. Their mission statement is “To foster camaraderie among United States veterans of overseas conflicts. To serve our veterans, the military and our communities. To advocate on behalf of all veterans.”
Their vision is to “Ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country.”
I have had the privilege to help serve veterans my whole life. As the wife of a disabled Marine Corps veteran, we have been on the receiving side of these benefits as well.
Patrick W. Kelly VFW Post 2468 of Roseburg is a place of resources and services for all veterans in need. One of the services the post provides is a nonperishable food pantry and meat locker, which is open Tuesdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Veterans must show valid ID.
Another service they provide is gas vouchers. This resource is by appointment only with Commander Mike Eakin. He can be reached at 541-671-1930.
Lastly, the Patrick W. Kelly VFW post, along with other VFW posts throughout Douglas County, provide engaging scholarships to students from seventh grade and above.
There is a high school senior essay scholarship awarded to five students a year. Voice of Democracy is one of the yearly scholarships awarded to students grades ninth to 12th grade. Voice of Democracy is an audio-essay program that provides high school students the opportunity to express themselves regarding democracy and patriotism for a chance to compete for cash prizes and a trip to Washington D.C.
Another opportunity is Patriot’s Pen, a 300 to 400 word written essay designed for students grades sixth to eighth, with the opportunity to receive cash prizes. This essay encourages young minds to examine America’s history along with who they are as a citizen today.
There are many other options available through the VFW. I encourage all veterans, as well as their family, to take a moment and check out the VFW’s website at www.vfw.org to explore the resources available to you.