MASON — For the second time in the history of the local organization, the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. Post 9926 of Mason has been awarded the National Outstanding Community Service Award.
According to Ray Varian, senior vice commander of the local post, a number of factors are taken into account when choosing the award recipient. Considered, among other things, are how much the post does for its community, how much money and how many hours are donated to local projects, and the amount of participation from each post member.
Milford Mowrey, local V.F.W. commander, said the post was chosen as the state winner in July. The national award was announced from the headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.
The first time the post won the award was in 2008, and a metal sign signifying the honor was erected on Second Street in Mason near First Baptist Church. On Friday morning, Mowrey and Varian replaced that sign with the 2015 edition.
Varian said many activities and programs led to the local post winning.
“We do a lot of work in the schools,” Varian stated.
The post sponsors annual contests, such as the “Voice of Democracy” competition for grades 9-12, as well as art contests, and others. Sixteen $500 scholarships were given to local seniors in the spring. The post also sponsors a “V.F.W. Teacher of the Year” designation.
Mowrey said the post also does many things that aren’t publicized. It donates a lot of money to the veterans home in Barboursville, W.Va., he said, and to the National Home for Children in Michigan. Members also perform military rites for veterans who have died in the area, and the auxiliary has an “Adopt a Veteran” program. This program allows auxiliary members to select a local veteran, and then remember that person on birthdays, Christmas and other holidays.
The Stewart-Johnson post also works closely with the Wounded Warrior project. Eighty-nine-year-old Mowrey raised $2,000 for this project by letting his hair grow long, then taking pledges prior to getting it cut.
Varian said the post’s next small project is one being sponsored by the auxiliary. On Sept. 5, spaces on the post parking lot will be rented out for a community yard sale. All proceeds will go to veterans.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and lives in Mason County.