Stafford AMVETS Post No. 13 has re-formed
By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Stafford - posted Fri., May. 20, 2011
United States veterans in the Stafford region will be interested in knowing that the veterans service organization AMVETS – short for American Veterans - has re-formed its Stafford Post 13, which was originally started in 1946. AMVETS is a national veterans organization with headquarters in Maryland.
Stafford's VFW and American Legion posts serve a specific population of U.S. veterans, who are only eligible to join one or both of those organizations based on certain criteria, including dates of service and campaigns.
“AMVETS is a separate organization,” said Post Commander Dana Dillon, who explained that membership in AMVETS is more open.
“You have to have served honorably after 1941. You can currently be in the military, National Guard or reserves, anytime after 1941, and you can be in AMVETS. So, it doesn't matter that you weren't in a campaign or a war. There are so many veterans that served during peace time that can't join the Legion and can't join the VFW. It doesn't mean that you can't be a member of the American Legion or the VFW, as well,” said Dillon.
Dillon has received significant support in her effort to rebuild the post, both from the state and national levels.
“Since we just formed, we're still getting our feet wet and learning the ins and outs of starting an organization, with the help of other posts in the state and from the state commander,” said Dillon.
AMVETS does not have its own facility in Stafford. Instead, the group meets at the Stafford Public Library on the fourth Tuesday of each month, except for July and August, from 7 to 8 p.m.
“They're not secret meetings, they're not private. People are able to come, spouses are able to come,” said Dillon.
Discussions at meetings are centered on different ways that AMVETS can best help veterans, as well as how AMVETS can serve the community.
“Nationally, we have a lot of people who are in Washington trying to make sure our veterans get what they deserve as far as benefits,” said Dillon.
Dillon moved to Stafford only a few months ago. She expressed interest in forming a post to State Commander Frank Dlugokinski, and after talking to Stafford residents, found out that there was an original AMVETS Post in Stafford. She has been conducting extensive research to find out more about it.
“I'm still searching. I found information up to 1961. After that, I haven't found a whole lot. I've talked with some family members of some of the post commanders, and they are looking through their fathers’ and uncles’ things, trying to find information for me. As I get things, I'm going to pass that on to our state commander, and also to national. AMVETS only started in 1944, so this is one of the original posts,” said Dillon.
According to Dillon, proof of the original post’s existence does exist. Her research has revealed not only documentation and articles, but also information that the cannon on the green near the Wall of Honor was donated by the original AMVETS to the town of Stafford.
Dillon is attempting to re-build Stafford's Post No. 13 by calling people on the tax list, and making public appearances to increase the group's visibility. She plans to appeal to Enfield’s Post No. 18 to see if any of those members would be interested in transferring to Post No. 13, which is not limited to Stafford residents.
“Anyone is able to join any post they choose to. Anyone in the area is more than welcome to join. This is a big enough community. I think it can sustain its own post,” said Dillon.
Anyone with information about or connections to the original post, or U.S. veterans interested in joining Post No. 13, can contact Dillon via e-mail at Staffordamvets@gmail.com.
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