Warren Garner, Founder, Memorial Service, May 2014
Warren Garner, Founder, Memorial Service, May 2014

The Montezuma Veterans of Foreign War Post 8137 was founded in March 1966, celebrating it’s fiftieth year in 2016. The Post is inviting the public to attend a a special anniversary celebration on Saturday, August 20th, at the Post hall, 513 Erie Street in Montezuma starting at 3 PM. Post 8137 began with a vision by local veterans to support one another lead by of Warren Gardner of Montezuma, who was still suffering the effects of his WWII experience. Of the 37 original chartering members, only three are living today: (Butch) Glimpse who serves as Senior Vice, Charlie Decker, and Ray Roe.

The VFW chapter was named after local three servicemen who gave their life for our country: Pfc. Hiram E. Thurston, age 22 killed in Eastern France in 1945; Sgt Donald J. Schram killed in action during the battle of Brenner Pass in Italy in 1943, and John Arthur Reynolds, Jr., killed in Korea in 1951. Early meetings were held in the town hall, fire hall and hotel as the Post raised money to purchase the former Red and White store owned and operated for 40 years by Leslie and Mae Jones.

The Post’s anniversary coincides with that of the Vietnam War era. A national effort was instituted by the U.S. Government under the Department of Defense to do what should have been done 50 years ago:  thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.  The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

MHS Vietnam CertificateThe Montezuma Historical Society has joined in partnership with this national program to recognize our Vietnam Veteran hometown heroes. Special commemorative lapel pins will be presented at the VFW anniversary on August 20th to living US Veterans who served on active duty in the US Armed Forces any time during the period of November 1,1955 and May 15,1975 regardless of location. Information about the Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at http://www.vietnamwar50th.VFW Emblem 8137com/.

Throughout its fifty years, the Post and its associated groups have strived to do good things for deserving people — the veterans, their families and their communities. In Montezuma this grassroots organization has worked to make a difference and has sponsored a variety of projects aimed at helping veterans and their families as well as the betterment of our local community.

Please spread the word to anyone who served during this time period (from of November 1,1955 and May 15,1975 regardless of location) to come to the August 20th event to receive a pin, and join in the celebration of the Montezuma Post’s anniversary. For more information, contact 315-776-4656.

Cheryl Longyear, Town Historian