by Delta Discovery Staff
The Bethel VFW Post 10041 hosted some dignitaries last week, and they had a lot of nice things to say about Bethel. National VFW Commander-in-Chief William J. “Doc” Schmitz, National President of the VFW Auxiliary Peggy Haake, Department of Alaska VFW Commander Dave Lemelin, and Department of Alaska VFW Auxiliary President Roberta Ness came to help support the Bethel VFW post’s fundraising efforts.
“We are here to support the community, it is where we came from,” said Commander Schmitz who hails from Corning, New York. “Bethel is a prime example how the community is going overboard to work with the VFW and vice versa. Your community should be proud.”
“We invited them for the VFW 10041’s 60th Anniversary and Annual Bras n Bros Fundraiser,” said Tess Guinn, President of the VFW Auxiliary 10041. She anticipated approximately 80 – 100 folks to attend, which was last Wednesday.
All the fundraiser money raised is used for specifically for VFW Auxiliary 10041 programs which include scholarships, Americanism, Voice of Democracy, and the Delta Cancer Fund for people who are dealing with cancer.
Folks can apply each calendar year to the Delta Cancer Fund and do not have to be members of the Auxiliary, said Guinn.
The VIPs also toured the Alaska Territorial Guard Memorial Park and cemetery during their visit.
“One of the big things with the Auxiliary and the VFW is supporting veterans and their families,” said Commander Schmitz. “So any veteran or their family member who think they have a claim against the veterans administration or some problem with the Department of Defense they can contact our service officers 100% for free we will help them file claims, do the paperwork, all the other stuff and they do not have to be a member of the auxiliary or the VFW. We train them, we pay them, and they are here to help people.”
Schmitz’s motto for the VFW is “Dare to Care”.
“It is obvious to me that this community and its respective Auxiliary and VFW care about each other a lot,” he said.
The VIP group said that Bethel looks very isolated from the airplane, like they were landing “in the boondocks” somewhere. But when they arrived in Bethel, they were amazed by the people and how much respect they have for their elders.
“The people,” said Commander Schmitz. “One thing that stood out, generally speaking, is the respect they have for their elders. It is like the old days. They literally revere their older generation – their mothers, fathers, grandparents. You don’t necessarily get that in the general population in the United States. This is kind of like a huge God Bless America. It exists 100% in in Bethel. Compliments to you.”