On May 21, Veterans of Foreign Wars District Commander John Wrinkle guided a newly forming VFW post to initiation for Jefferson County veterans, with a national charter pending registry completion, according to local veteran Michael Williams.

Interim officers were elected, among veterans predominantly representing

Southwest Asia (Iraq, Afghanistan and Gulf campaigns). Several World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans volunteered for supporting chairman/committee services.

Ben Keeton, of Madras, who served with the U.S. Navy in Iraq and Afghanistan, was elected the commanding officer for the Madras post.

To form the new post, Keeton said, “We had to have a certain number of new members and others who were members of other VFWs. We met the criteria and a Redmond VFW officer verified it, and now we’re just waiting for confirmation.”

He noted when the former local post closed, many veterans had joined the Redmond post and are now returning. He also mentioned that the local post has to be officially chartered before it can form a women’s auxiliary.

“We recommend any veteran in the area to come join,” Keeton said noting the VFW organization is for any veteran who has served in a war or conflict in a foreign country.

The VFW meetings will be held at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month, at the Jefferson County Senior Center in Madras, 860 S.W. Madison St. Additional information is available the Jefferson County Veterans Service office at 541-475-5228.

Keeton said the Jefferson County post has many plans, including helping put flags out on Memorial Day, working with the American Legion, sponsoring a high school student, and putting on a barbecue at Sahalee Park.

“The main focus is to help vets who can't pay their power bill, or need a ride to the doctor. We will use our chain of command and find a veteran to help them,” he said.

They will also do community outreach projects, “We’re trying to encourage as many young vets as we can to come into the post, so that when we do events at the food bank, etc., we can get veterans out there helping,” Keeton said.

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