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VFW post celebrates 80 years

The Joe Bagley Post 2582 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars celebrated its 80th anniversary June 23 with special speakers, a picnic and more.

Members of other VFW posts, city officials, state VFW officials and others joined Post 2582 members for the time of fellowship at the post at 308 Williams Road.

“This post is an exemplary post,” State Commander Ken Wiseman said. “They show the little post can be the big player. They show every day can be Veterans Day in Suffolk. We’re here to be an organization that is of, by and for the community. That makes us the catalyst for positive effect.”

Wiseman knows firsthand just how great Post 2582 is — he’s a former member, but he has since moved and is a member of Post 1503 in Dale City.

Post 2582 is one of the oldest posts in the area, Wiseman said, and it holds the second-oldest banner in the state for membership, given when membership stays steady or grows throughout the course of the year.

Post Commander Frank McKiddie said the post has 94 members, a substantial growth from years past. There was a time after World War II when there were only about 15 men meeting in each other’s homes once a month, he said.

“This post has really come a long way when you consider that,” he said.

McKiddie said the VFW is important because it represents and assists veterans, serves the community and conducts lobbying efforts on behalf of legislation that affects veterans.

“A veteran is not represented on Capitol Hill unless they belong to one of the service organizations,” McKiddie said. “Their strength is in numbers.”

Wiseman agreed.

“Veterans taking care of veterans makes sense,” he said. “Even after they hang up their uniform, they still serve.”

Two World War II veterans, both from the Navy, were in attendance at the anniversary celebration. George E. Martin joined the post somewhere around 2005 and said his service during World War II was important.

“If I had to, I’d do it all over again,” he said.

Rex Bailor said the VFW is an important organization.

“It’s a tradition that we need to carry forward,” he said.

The Joe Bagley Post is named after the first casualty from Suffolk in World War II.