Members of VFW Post 10380 in Green Township, Ohio, were at their recruiting best at the 161st Harvest Home Fair in September. Held in Cheviot, Ohio, a suburb near Cincinnati, the fair kicked off with a parade through the city’s downtown.
Life member Bill Ostermeyer pulled his Iwo Jima-themed float while the Post’s 2½-ton truck was packed with Post members in the parade.
Following the opening festivities, veterans filed into the fair for free. Once inside, folks flocked to the myriad booths, including one sponsored by Post 10380. Set up by VFW Post Jr. Vice Commander Ed Murphy and Joe Augustine, both Vietnam vets, the booth featured informational literature, copies of the Post newsletter and VFW Service Officer Roger Giblin on hand to answer questions.
“We had 16 Post volunteers man the booth,” Murphy said. “Bill ran a shuttle service from his house so that our members would have a place to park. He also provided pizza and drinks for our volunteers.”
Augustine said the fair drew about 300 to 400 veterans, and more than 100 of those who came to the VFW booth. He said several had questions about VA compensation while others wanted more information on service projects the Post performs for the community. Post volunteers also distributed membership applications.
Post Chaplain Bob Abrams said that Murphy had requested informational pieces from the VFW Membership Department at National Headquarters to give out during the fair.
“Ed had some really good literature which talked about the different campaigns,” Abrams said. “Roger provided information about the VA’s list of presumptive afflictions related to recent medical findings and the proper way to file a claim.”
Post Commander Mike Donnelly called the event “a success.” At press time, his staff was processing paperwork for possible new members.
“It will take time to know the exact number of new members joining our Post,” Murphy said. “But people attending ‘The Biggest Little Fair in Ohio’ definitely got to know about the VFW and Post 10380.”
‘WE HAVE BEEN PRETTY FORTUNATE’
Founded in 1988, VFW Post 10380 does not have a bar or restaurant, which keeps overhead low, Murphy said.
“Our fundraising efforts not only support the necessary expenses of our Post, but allow us to give back a majority of our funds to veterans and their families,” he added.
Post members are especially proud of their color guard, which is trained by the US Army Color Guard. Murphy said the Post performs more than 80 military funerals each year, in addition to serving as the official color guard at numerous other events.
“Our Post is very active in the community,” Murphy said. “We have a good reputation, and people call on us all the time.”
Abrams noted that with 140 members, about half are active. He added that the past few years, the Post has seen an increase in membership growth. He attributes that to the Post’s positive influence in the community.
“Between our talks in the school and our scholarship program to our Post color guard, our community relationships are strong,” Abrams said. “We have been pretty fortunate.”
This article is featured in the February 2022 issue of VFW magazine, and was written by Janie Dyhouse, senior editor for VFW magazine.