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Worthington VFW marks 75 years

VFW 75th anniversary award
The Worthingon VFW post #3958 received the 75th Diamond Jubilee Award, honoring 75 years of service to the community. Pictured, from left: State Commander Chad Solheid, Nobles County Veteran Services Officer Bill "Brock" Brockberg, Post Vice Commander Rod Sankey, Third District Commander Buck Underwood. (Leah Ward/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — The third district of the Department of Minnesota Veterans of Foreign Wars was invited to a special celebration Saturday honoring the 75th anniversary of Worthington Post #3958.

Vice Commander Rod Sankey accepted the 75th Diamond Jubilee Award on behalf of the post. Sankey explained some of the post's community efforts over the years.

The Worthington post provides financial support for the veterans' hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and for the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne. VFW funding helps provide amenities not afforded by government subsidies. Much of the furniture in the Luverne facility was purchased with VFW funds, for example.

When the Worthington post first opened in 1944, it was established at the site where The Tap currently stands. After one other move, the post finally settled in its current location on Second Avenue.

Beside its location, another big change at the VFW has been membership, Sankey noted. In past decades, the Worthington post boasted upwards of 475 members. Today membership is around 95.

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Sankey guessed the difference comes down to the culture of the time. During World War II, he explained, military service was the cultural norm, so VFW participation was, too. In the Vietnam era, Sankey and his cohorts were not well-received by the general public upon their return.

"You weren't recognized or welcomed home," he said. This cultural opposition created a need for a support system, which many in Sankey's generation found in the VFW.

"Nowadays," he added, "there's a push to change that." The American public is much more supportive of returning soldiers, he said,

Sankey predicted that when Iraq and Afghanistan veterans get older and become empty-nesters, they may feel more inclined to join their local VFW post and enjoy the camaraderie of other vets.

Also at Saturday's celebration, the third district 2019-2020 essay contest winners were presented with their awards. The VFW sponsors two youth essay scholarship contests — The Patriot's Pen for sixth- through eighth-graders and the Voice of Democracy for grades 9-12. Nationwide, the assigned essay topic this year was "What Makes America Great."

Third district Patriot's Pen winners were Priscilla Bauer, Fairfax VFW, third place; Addison Jennings, Westbrook VFW, second place; and Abigail Wiggins, Westbrook VFW, first place. Voice of Democracy winners were Klaire Banks, Minneota VFW, third place; Lauren Versing, Luverne VFW, second place; and Elizabeth Lemitz, Canby VFW, first place. A few of the young women were invited to read their essays aloud.

Related Topics: HISTORYVFW
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