Three years ago the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6311 in Manteca was on the verge of having its charter revoked.
Rarely were more than three members in attendance at meetings. The Jimmie Connors’ post membership rooster listed 60 but mostly in name as few were active
Today, it’s in a new $1.3 million home, the post has led the nation for two straight years in membership growth with its roster surpassing 300 members while meetings are now drawing as many as 100 members.
And next week they will receive a visit from John A. Biedrzycki — the Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Biedrzycki’s visit to District 13 on Wednesday, Jan. 20, starts with lunch at Stockton Post 52 before heading to Manteca Post 6311, then on to Ripon Post 1051 before stopping by Modesto Post 3199 and then ending up at Turlock Post 5059 for dinner.
“It’s quite an honor,” Manteca Post Commander Carlon Perry said of the national leader’s visit.
Perry hopes that Manteca community members will join veterans in participating in the 3:15 p.m. reception on Jan. 20 “to show the VFW commander-in-chief how much Manteca supports those who have served.”
The post is literally adding members each week now that the Manteca Veterans Center built in partnership with the City of Manteca has been open since its dedication on Veterans’ Day.
The post home on Moffat Boulevard is open to all veterans Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Perry said a day doesn’t go by that someone new isn’t dropping in to enjoy coffee and share fellowship and even play a game of pool.
The post is seeing an influx of Gulf War and Global War on Terror veterans, bucking the trend of many VFW posts that often struggling to attract younger veterans.
Work is now underway on a bar that post members cam access. Perry hopes for it to be in place by the end of February or early March.
They are also gearing up to offer a Sunday breakfast to not just members but the community as a whole. That effort recently received a boost when the Ripon VFW Post 1051 decided to donate their old dinner service — plates and utensils — since they have obtained new ones to help their comrades in Manteca.
“I’m hoping that we can join forces with the Ripon post on projects,” Perry said.
The post is now planning a hot dog feed on Super Bowl Sunday after just completing their first successful New Year’s Eve dinner.
“It was amazing to see 60 members and their guests all here and dancing and enjoying themselves,” Perry said.
Perry noted that besides leading the VFW nationally for membership growth, the Manteca post in 2015 was also tops nationally in the Legacy program for members that have paid into a perpetual fund to help underwrite both national and local VFW programs.
The mobile Veterans Administration medical clinic is returning on Thursday, Jan. 28, and is committed to regular stops in Manteca.
“None of it would have been possible without the city providing the building,” Perry said of the facility the post is renting for $1 a year for 35 years.
Perry said members are working on community events such as art shows to stage at the Moffat Boulevard location were the National Guard has already conducted a Christmas party for its member’s families in the area.
The center is also available for rent for $500 for eight hours. It has already been used four times by the community.
Perry said the center won’t be available for rent until after 1 p.m. so it can serve as a daily drop-in place for veterans.
Those interested in supporting the VFW through the Friends of the Post organization or are veterans of foreign wars interested in membership can call the post at 823.8700.
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