COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- El Paso County currently has eight Veterans of Foreign Wars posts spread out between Monument and Calhan, but the nonprofit organization is now working with veterans in the Falcon area to open a post there.
The VFW is a veterans service organization consisting of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces who served in combat zones; it was founded in Colorado in 1899, chartered by Congress in 1936, and is the nation's largest organization of war veterans and its oldest major veterans organization.
Steve Kjonaas, legislative director for VFW Colorado, said that around 35 veterans -- a combination of some who are or aren't VFW members -- have met monthly since May at newly-renovated Fire Station #3 in Falcon as they try to qualify for a post.
"Falcon is one of three new posts we’re creating this year in Colorado," he said. "We recently placed one into a renovated former restaurant at Academy and Dublin. It's almost always an existing building that we'll go and renovate for the needs of the post membership. The Falcon post will have to be designed, a location chosen and donations gathered to pay for it."
Kjonaas said that a similar effort ten years ago was unsuccessful because it happened before the current trend of rapid population growth.
Robert Heriford, an Air Force veteran, lives in Security-Widefield and came up with the idea for a VFW post in Falcon.
"My vision is to make it part of a community center," he said, while holding his service dog, Baron. "It's going to be targeted to the young couples. We're going to have tennis courts, pickle ball courts, basketball courts and a large building where we can host even state VFW meetings."
Julie Robinson, a Falcon resident and also an Air Force veteran, said that the community needs a post more conveniently located that Calhan (15 miles east) and Colorado Springs (15 miles west).
"We need to give local veterans a single point of contact," she explained. "Many of them qualify for services they aren't aware of, and don't know where or how to get them. There are thousands of veterans in this area."
Kjonaas said that at the group's next meeting later this month, VFW members will officially apply to the main office in Kansas City for a post, and may even choose a notable local veteran to name it after.
"We should get approval within a few weeks," he said. "We've already met the requirements for a new post -- a combination of 25 existing and new members. Until everything's finalized, we can continue to meet here in the community room of the fire station."
There are 22,000 VFW and Auxiliary members in Colorado.