The first meeting was held December 18, 1939 at the Buena Vista Grange Hall on Old Inland Empire Highway. The purpose of this meeting was for selection/election of Officers and Selection of Name and Meeting Hall.
Founding officers were:
Commander - LeRoy Simpson
Sr. Vice Commander - Charley Sinfield
Jr. Vice Commander - Glen Pulliam
Quartermaster - George Clark
Chaplin - A. H. Eisle
Trustees - E.C. Grant, Guy Hill, B. Gramble
Judge Advocate - Tom Judkins
Surgeon - Albert Kutsch
Smith-Runa was selected as the name for the Post.
Mr. Runa was a Spanish-American War Veteran that is buried here in Prosser (We assume that it is his name that was chosen for the Post).
Unfortunately, we have not been able to determine who Mr. Smith was.
The second meeting was held at the Prosser Armory on January 8, 1940 for installation of Officers. Installation of officers was conducted by State Department Sr. Vice Commander Jack Wait. Other officers in attendance were Dept. Commander E. L. Harold Kriedl, Adj./Quartermaster E. L. Alexander, Historian C. J. Wilson, Patriotic Instructor Col. Robert Watkins and Chaplin M.A. Langton.
The next five meeting were held at the Buena Vista Grange Hall until a suitable building could be purchased in town.
At the February 6, 1940 meeting a vote was taken to join the 8th VFW District. (We are now in District 17).
At the March 19, 1940 meeting Comrade Tom Judkins reported that the deal for the purchase of the Old Courthouse had been completed. The location was at 7th and Stacy Ave. (The Feed store is there now)
During the first year, the Post rented a garage to the REA for $60.00 per year and another portion of the building to Mr. Roy Baker for $15.00 per month to operate a machine and implement business.
In February of 1941 another portion of the building was rented to DeSota Creamery Owner Tenny Keil for $10.00 per month. The Post terminated this lease in November 1941. The reason given was that the Post was not able to afford repairs on the roof ($500.00) and the building would be closed for the winter.
The last meeting in this building was January 20, 1942 (7th and Stacy location)
The next several meetings were held in various members homes.
On March 17, 1942, it was decided by the Post membership to hold meetings at the Grandview Odd Fellows Hall. Post meetings were held there until June 2, 1942 and then returned to the Buena Vista Grange Hall.
The next information found was from April 1, 1947. Meetings were being held at Bern's Tavern.
On July 20, 1949, Comrade John Rupert reported that at the State Convention a new district would be established comprising Sunnyside, Grandview, Prosser Kennewick, and Pasco. This would be District 17 and the decision was finalized in the fall of 1949.
At the November 1949 meeting it was decided to purchase the Burlotte home on 6th street. Purchase price was $17,000.00.
The first meeting in our current Post Home was held on March 1, 1950.
This history was taken from Minutes Books found in the Post, there were 30 Charter Members initially, and we now have 134 post members.
Robert C. Travaille
About the VFW (from www.vfw.org)
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, with its Auxiliaries, includes 2.3 million members in approximately 8,400 Posts worldwide.
Its mission is to "honor the dead by helping the living" through veterans' service, community service, national security and a strong national defense.
The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans' pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves.
In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations with what would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum. By 1915, membership grew to 5,000; by 1936, membership was almost 200,000.
Since then, the VFW's voice had been instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, creating a GI bill for the 20th century, the development of the national cemetery system and the fight for compensation for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. The VFW also has fought for improving VA medical centers services for women veterans.
Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials, the VFW in 2005 became the first veterans' organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which is being constructed in Washington, D.C., and is expected to open in 2010.
In 2001, VFW unveiled its tribute to service and country with its dedication of Centennial Plaza.
Annually, VFW members and its Auxiliary contribute more than 13 million hours of volunteerism in the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and National Volunteer Week.
From providing $2.5 million in college scholarships to high school students every year to encouraging elevation of the Veterans Administration to the president's cabinet, the VFW is there--honoring the dead by helping the living.