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By Michael P. Mauer

A Mon Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars Post was praised for outstanding community service recently during the 98th Annual State Convention of the VFW Department of Pennsylvania at the Doubletree by Hilton in Green Tree.

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West Mifflin Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 Intrepid Chaplain Gene Staudt, left, receives a Certificate of Recognition from the VFW Department of Pennsylvania Commander Thomas Brown at the organization’s annual convention June 15. Photo credit: David Sandman

West Mifflin VFW Post 914 Intrepid was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the VFW Department of Pennsylvania Commander Thomas Brown at the organization’s annual convention June 15. The local veterans’ unit received the award for being tops in its category for community service.

Helping accept the award on behalf of the post was VFW 914 Chaplain Gene Staudt.

“This is indeed a great honor for every member of our Post and the Borough of West Mifflin,” said Staudt, an Army Vietnam veteran. “We support of community, and our community supports its veterans.”

Prior to winning national recognition, VFW Post 914 Intrepid West Mifflin earned the title of All-State Post for two years running. According to VFW Post 914 Commander Jake Bradich, this most recent honor reflects a more than quarter century tradition of helping veterans in West Mifflin.

“We’ve been chartered since 1991, and have always worked to maintain the VFW’s core programs,” Bradich said. “We’ve never had social members or a club. This allows us to devote nearly 100 percent of our efforts to doing what a VFW is supposed to do – to help veterans and their families, and to be active in our community.”

An example of the post’s good work is its Buddy Poppy Program headed by Marine veteran David Luikart. From last May through this past April, the members of the post devoted 105 hours towards this effort and raised more than $11,500 to help veterans at the local, state and national level. Additionally, the post’s hospital visitation program, spearheaded by another Marine veteran, Bernie Zurawski, utilized 310 hours and spent nearly $3,000 towards helping patients at the Southwestern Veterans Center on Highland Drive, and the Veterans Administration Healthcare System in Pittsburgh.                                                                                            

Another post success has been its partnership with the West Mifflin Area High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Each year since 2005, the post has presented VFW recognition certificates and medals to cadets at an annual awards banquet. It also has marched with the 100-plus strong corps of cadets in Pittsburgh’s Veterans’ Day Parade over the last several years.

Other community groups that the post has supported include local youth sports teams, Scouting, and the Greater Pittsburgh Soapbox Derby. It also has been active in the Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy programs, with Melissa Fulmer, the post’s nominee, recently being selected as the state VFW Voice of Democracy Teacher of the Year.

The post has also funded and awarded its own Walt Kuczma Scholarship. Named after VFW Post 914’s founder and awarded each year to graduating seniors at West Mifflin, the Kuczma scholarship gives cash awards to three students seeking education past high school. All applicants for the scholarship must have had a family member who served honorably in the United States armed forces.

For more information about VFW Post 914 and its activities, visit the group’s website at: http://traa.weebly.com/vfw-post-914.html , or contact Commander Bradich at: 412-464-9838.  

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