SEQUIM — After some uncertainty in recent years about its future, leaders of the Sequim Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4760 say 2020 is looking up.
The biggest turnaround for the nonprofit veterans service organization was securing some financial security for the 70-plus-year-old group by selling its building at 169 E. Washington St.
Brody Broker Real Estate sold the building for $427,000 to part-time Sequim resident Brad Solo, an investment advisor and veteran supporter.
“We’re very fortunate to find Brad who agreed to keep us in this building and maintain a presence here,” said past post commander Neil Gamroth.
The sale closed on June 6, the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which was important to Solo because his father served in World War II, said post quartermaster Steve Henrikson.
The VFW now leases its kitchen, hall and canteen/dance hall spaces.
Henrikson said the VFW vacated the second floor and Solo is renovating it with plans to be determined for the space.
Post Commander Kevin O’Neill said he’s proud of the people who stepped up to keep the Sequim VFW going.
“We’ve asked (leaders) to give a hand and make it happen, and they’ve made this organization more of something you want to come to and be a part of,” he said.
“For me, I’ve been blessed with a great group of officers. They have an idea and just go for it.”
Gamroth said he attributes the post’s sustainability prior to the sale to past post commander Art Thomas as he persevered to help people step up and help through tough times.
Henrikson said the post has 275 members but still needs volunteers.
“Financially we’ll be fine, but we still want people to step up and volunteer,” he said.
O’Neill said with being more financially secure, the post is better able to follow its mission to support veterans.
In recent months, post members voted to begin giving to local veterans efforts and look into more relief efforts in 2020.
“What we’re trying to do is get out there and talk to people and tell them we’ve improved,” Henrikson said.
“Let’s get out and (be) more active in the community than in recent years. The VFW in Sequim is alive and well and increasing its activities in the community.”
Henrikson said the post is allocating monthly funds to Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP)’s veterans housing project, and is looking to recruit other local service agencies to support it as well.
VFW leaders formed a committee to see how they can help individual and families of veterans on a case-by-case basis, too.
Veterans seeking assistance can call the post at 360-683-9546 for more information.
Gamroth said the estimated total of at-risk or homeless veterans in Clallam and Jefferson counties is about 1,400 people.
They’re also reestablishing a veterans service officer to connect veterans with services from the post one to two days a week; the position was moved to Port Angeles more than 16 months ago.
Post leaders plan to offer a high school scholarship this year as well, with criteria still being formed.
O’Neill said a long-term goal is to establish scholarships for students going into trade schools and veterans going to Peninsula College.
Community recognitions will continue into 2020 as well with post leaders considering choosing a Teacher of the Year, Scout of the Year and more.
In the past year, post members have done a number of things to engage the community more. Here are some of the post’s accomplishments:
• Participated in Memorial Day ceremonies in the Sequim area.
• Hosted a 75th anniversary of D-Day event with four World War II veterans in attendance.
• Donated more than 250 chairs to Port Townsend American Legion and Welfare for Animals Guild.
• Raised $5,000 for Veteran’s Relief Fund at four fundraisers on Memorial Day, during Lavender Weekend, Labor Day and Veterans Day.
• Paid two utility bills for veterans.
• Fixed veteran’s truck.
• Provided a lifeline for a WWII vet monthly.
• Paid one month house rent for a veteran and his wife and three children.
• Paid for multiple night hotel stay for a veteran’s widow.
• Hosted 52 Sunday breakfasts.
• Hosted a veterans spaghetti dinner by the Sequim Valley Lions with plans to host two more events in 2020 in April and September.
• Provided donations to Forks Gold Star Memorial and Port Angeles Veteran’s Park Fencing funds.
• Chaplain makes more than 20 visits a month to veterans in distress.
More about the post
The Sequim VFW Post 4760 offers membership to veterans, active duty military, national guard and reserve officers who served overseas during war or campaign times.
It hosts post meetings at 1 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at 169 E. Washington St. Post leaders are considering changing the start time to later to accommodate more people.
The canteen is open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday with dances from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturdays.
The public can attend as guests of post members.
Breakfasts continue weekly from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information about the post, visit vfwpost4760.com or call 360-683-9546.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].