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Sheldon, Sibley Iowa VFWs merge

SIBLEY, Iowa -- Sometimes, fighting for our country isn't enough.

Even beyond the combat zone, members of the VFW strive to do good things for fellow veterans and citizens on both a community and national level.

What was previously known as the Bunker-Peterson VFW Post 7354 in Sheldon is now a combined post in Sibley, known as William F. Allard Post 7373.

"The Sheldon unit didn't have enough members at their meetings," said Darrel De Weerdt, quartermaster of the Sibley post. "They came to one of our meetings and asked if they could join us, and we said sure."

The merge had to be approved by both the state and national VFW organizations.

"Now we're one unit. It means we have more members, which is good. It also means I have more bookwork," said De Weerdt with a chuckle.

The VFW is a non-profit organization. Anyone that has served overseas, whether it be one of the World Wars, Korea, or Vietnam, is eligible to become a member.

De Weerdt served in Vietnam in his last year of service.

"I was in the Sheldon Guard Unit. We went to Fort Carson in Colorado, and then went to Vietnam in January of 1969. I came back just before Thanksgiving."

The unit in Sibley owns a club where they serve food and drinks and host bingo nights. They also have fundraisers throughout the year to earn money.

"We support the Boy Scouts, and we support school events. We always donate to prom every year," said De Weerdt. "We go to parades, and we support National Homes. Everybody keeps active in the community."

Now they'll be helping with community activities in Sheldon as well.

"We won't leave them to sit high and dry," said De Weerdt. "We're willing to go down there and help too."

In the past, the Sheldon VFW Unit has helped serve pizza at the local Pizza Ranch and sponsored a Voice of Democracy essay contest, along with other community projects.

"We'll contact the Chamber of Commerce in Sheldon and ask if they need help," said De Weerdt. "We'll work back and forth."