Central Texas veterans continue to selflessly serve the community at VFW Post

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WACO, Texas – “Honoring the Dead by Helping the Living” is a mission that may have started on that day, September 29, over 120 years ago, with the founding of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Today marks the 122nd anniversary of the VFW, a day celebrated in VFW stations and communities across the country, at a time when the VFW now represents the largest nonprofit, dedicated veterans organization. to help other veterans and to improve the communities in which they live.

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VFW 2148 substation in Waco, Texas

In Lonestar State, with over 70,000 members and 300 positions, Texas VFW has continued to support veterans for their service and give back to the community. According to TexasVFW.org, VFW and its auxiliaries donate more than 13 million hours of community service volunteerism each year through programs such as youth mentoring groups, community kitchens, and volunteering.

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The location of post 2148 has changed since then, says Post 2148 Commander Alton Leuschner, but the veterans’ dedication to helping each other and improving our central Texas community is perhaps no better on display than ‘today.

In Waco, the four VFW Post 2148s are the same as those appearing on the post office charter, dated 1932, displayed in the building. The location of post 2148 has changed since then, says Post 2148 Commander Alton Leuschner, but the veterans’ dedication to helping each other and improving our central Texas community is perhaps no better on display than ‘today.

“Everyone here is community driven,” Leuschner said. “We don’t have a cash register, we don’t have a bar or a smoking permit. We’re all really focused on community service.”

Over the past six months, improvements have been made to the parking lot and a concrete slab adjacent to the building shows where construction is underway to add to the building. Leuschner has been the commander of Post 2148 for 11 years now, a job he says is only possible thanks to the tireless work of the veterans inside.

“I wouldn’t want to be the commander without them,” he said. “They carry the burden and take everything away from me, so I just have to run the meetings.”

The load is heavy, said a Luschner, from coordinating volunteer programs to preparing meals for other veterans. But, thanks to the members described by Luschner, tens of thousands of hours of community service have been directly reinvested in where we live.

John Johnson and Jose Morales are Vietnam veterans, members of Post 2148.

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John Johnson and Jose Morales are Vietnam veterans, members of Post 2148.

“Here we volunteer four out of five days a week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday,” Johnson said. “Doing things like our coffee bar and our popcorn bar for other veterans.”

Like many other Vietnam veterans you will encounter at extension 2148, Johnson and Morales both experienced combat, fighting in the Vietnam War.

“Well, it was hell. I was the vanishing point of scout dogs all the time and I jumped out of those damn helicopters,” Johnson said. “It would keep your feet wet from being in much of the jungle and rice cakes in the south. I worked with the 82nd Airborne, which had a 100 mile radius around Saigon, so we went everywhere. . “

“I was a door gunner and an infantryman,” Morales said. “Two years in the air and two years in the infantry. I did my complete tours there.”

Morales said the atmosphere at Post 2148 is something different.

“I don’t really like to talk about my experiences with anyone, and I’m sick of alcohol and war, and I like it here.”

And the camaraderie and friendship Morales and Johnson have is on display, laughing into the conversation, as they stand in the middle of the building conversing with their fellow members.

Gary Urban and John Knue are Air Force Vietnam veterans at Post 2148. Knue said he partnered with Post 2148 by volunteering at Veterans One Stop in Waco, where he is still active.

“Being here is just another way to be with veterans, but also another way to extend my community service,” Knue said. “I devote a lot of hours to the Waco Clinic in McLennan County each month.”

Urban, who also volunteers with Waco Veterans One Stop, has been a member of VFW for 51 years. An experience according to him that began on his return from Vietnam in 1970.

“I came back from Vietnam on my first tour and my dad was a quartermaster for a VFW in Kansas,” Urban said. “This post has been amazing with their charity events and the donations they make to places like the Waco Veterans One Stop.”

Urban and Knue both discussed how the focus on community service isn’t the only thing that makes Post 2148 unique; it is also food.

“It’s really good,” Knue said.

The spearhead of this effort is Teresa Rockensock.

“Every Wednesday I come here and do all the shopping for our breakfast. Last week we had breakfast burritos and made your own omelets with ham and cheese,” Rockensock said. .

She smiles as she points to the different kitchen items at Post 2148.

“Sometimes we have pastries, fresh fruit, cookies and gravy,” she explained. “We’ll have bacon or turkey sausage for people who don’t like pork. I love it.”

Donald Littlefield is a Vietnam Veteran and life member of VFW Post 2148. He said he was shot in the stomach in Vietnam, an injury he lives with today.

“I was hit in 1969,” Littlefield said.

His story, a story of selfless service, despite his injury and almost giving his life, he still works to serve his community and other veterans. Today it is VFW-VAVS state. He said this tasked him with recording volunteer hours at seven other VFW positions in a district comprising Hill County, Bosque County, Limestone County and Freestone County.

“This post here has racked up 75,000 hours,” Littlefield said.

Rockensock has said so far; she did 2,000 of those hours. Her husband, Neil Mala, is the foundation of what makes Post 2148 so productive. Her husband, Neil Mala, is currently the post warrant officer. The story of Teresa and Neil’s encounter spans the globe, straddling their service during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

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“It’s actually a funny story,” said Mala. “We were stationed together in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. She was a cook and I was a doctor and a friendship was formed between us. After the war, we kind of got together and we found out we had things 32 years later, and we have three children and grandchildren.

Teresa and Neil openly talk about their experiences with PTSD after returning from the war. Mala explained that it was difficult to trust people who had not experienced what he had experienced during the war.

“I have a hard time trusting people,” “And so to get myself out of that sort of post-traumatic stress comfort zone that was stuck at home, it got me back into the audience for being able to serve the community and find this family that I missed, which is the family I had in the military. “

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“I was in a deep depression,” Teresa said. “I felt worthless because I injured my back in Iraq and had surgeries. I just started volunteering and helping, and now I feel needed and wanted.”

Both give their time to extension 2148 for helping them persevere and encourage other veterans who may face a similar challenge with PTSD to consider coming to a place like extension 2148 where they can be with people who share the same challenges. same ideas.

“As a woman, I can say that all of these guys are gentlemen,” Teresa said. “They are amazing people and we are one big, happy family. If you are suffering at home, just know that there is a place you can come here.”

Each Veteran of Post 2148 has a remarkable story or their selflessness in helping their community and fellow Veterans that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. As for the future of Post 2148? Commander Luschner explained that they will do what they always do, have breakfast together at 8 o’clock sharp.

For more information on joining a VFW position, visit this link or find a position nearby by clicking here. If you are an American veteran in the Waco area who served in overseas combat operations and would like to join VFW Post 2148, you can contact Post Commander Leuschner at [email protected]


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