HARRISON – The Ronald G. St. John VFW Post 9328 and its auxiliary celebrated their 50th anniversaries on April 8, said Treasurer Nita Barker.
Barker said that the VFW Post 9328 was founded on Feb. 27, 1968, and on May 3 of the same year, its auxiliary was founded.
The post is named after a young Harrison man killed in Vietnam, Barker said.
“Our post was the first VFW post in Maine to be named after a Vietnam veteran,” Barker said.
Several members of St. John’s family were in attendance at the celebration, along with three of the founding members of the Ronald G. St. John post and founding members of the Post’s auxiliary.
“There were 66 original members of Post 9328,” Barker said. “I’m not sure how many members are left. All of the founding members at the celebration were given a 50-year pin.”
Barker said that over the 50 years that the Ronald G. St. John VFW post has been in existence, “it has been all about veterans helping veterans and being there for one another.”
However, she said that the Harrison VFW post has “a lack of young members.”
“The average age of our members is somewhere in the sixties or seventies,” Barker said. “We have a few members who are 80 or 90, and a couple in their fifties, but we have a real lack of young members.”
She urged any veterans who served on foreign soil, whether in Desert Storm or in Afghanistan, to sign up.
“We try very hard to remain a force in the community, whether it’s hosting meetings for people with PTSD, renting out the hall for people to use, or organizing dinners for different causes,” Barker said.
Barker said that representatives from the offices of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, were at the celebration and gave speeches, along with State Rep. Phyllis Ginzler, R-Bridgton.
Western Maine Dance and Gymnastics of Bridgton performed during the celebration to “The Battle of the Green Beret,” Barker said, followed by a speech from Richard Farris, State Commander of the VFW, and his wife, State Auxiliary President Nellie Farris.
Barker’s husband, Cecil, also received a folded flag that had flown over the White House from Collins’ representative.
Barker said that the celebration closed out with a rendition of the National Anthem by Ginnie Spaulding, and a closing prayer by Doretta Colburn.