Letter to the Editor

Gulden: Personal visit to National Home brings reality to VFW supported organization

To the Editor:

Recently my wife, Linda, and I had the privilege of visiting the VFW National Home for Children located in rural Michigan near Eaton Rapids. We pray for the National Home at every VFW meeting so I wanted to see what we were praying for. What I witnessed was much more than I expected.

This facility began in 1923 when the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) initiated a plan to build a national home for the families of deceased and disabled American veterans.

The following year a Jackson, Michigan, cattleman made his 472-acre Ingham County ranch available for the site of the home. From the humble beginning of an old frame farmhouse came a sprawling campus with playgrounds, park areas, and multiple buildings, including 42 single-family cottage homes, a community center and gymnasium, child care facility, guest lodge, chapel and administrative offices.

Initial funding was created following the 1922 Yankees-Giants World Series. Umpires halted the tied second game due to darkness. A controversy resulted, which inspired the baseball commissioner to donate the series’ first game’s proceeds to the nation’s war veterans, and the VFW received $20,000.

Each home is sponsored by one or more state VFW departments, as well as private contributions to insure that this beautiful rural community is cared for and safe.

What we witnessed is a small community that was well planned for those individuals occupying the homes. With the help of many professionals, it is a place where residents can get help with the stresses of their current lives. The services provided are varied and designed for each situation.

Residents receive life coaching, employment training and education opportunities. Children attend school in neighboring communities, and licensed day care is provided.

This is a gift beyond comprehension when a family is struggling with the many stresses of life. Qualifying residents may stay at the National Home for four years. There is no cost to the family.

To qualify, a family member must be an honorably discharged veteran, currently serving in the military or the descendant of a VFW/Auxiliary member, and parent of a child or children under the age of 18. Residents must be self- motivated, ready for change and willing to work hard.

Over the years, the National Home has evolved to meet the changing needs of America’s military and veterans’ families. Through it all, one thing has remained constant: the National Home’s commitment to honor our nation’s veterans and active-duty military by providing help and hope for their children and families.

The VFW National Home for Children is a relatively unknown gift available to qualifying families who may need a little help moving their lives forward. If you know of anyone who might be able to use this gift, please encourage them to contact the National Home Help Line directly by calling 800-313-4200.

Following several telephone calls to the National Home, I witnessed that there is a caring person at the other end of the line waiting to help. The National Home is a 501c3 privately funded organization. No government funds help support the National Home. It is completely funded by the VFW/Auxiliary and many private donations.

Rock County VFW Post 2757 continues to support this wonderful, one-of-a-kind organization. Contributions to the continued work of the National Home can be made by calling 866-483-9642. Visit their website at: www.vfwnationalhome.org.

Terrie Gulden

Luverne

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