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Veterans devote time to helping veterans

Southern Nevada is home to many veterans organizations. This month I am bringing the news front and center by profiling a local group and two local veterans, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Cpl. Matthew A. Commons Post 36, on California Avenue. Bob Garlow and Carl Fogg Jr. are Boulder City members who are not only active in town, but can often be seen volunteering at patriotic events and celebrations all over Clark County as well as in neighboring geographic areas.

“All of our members have actually served in a war … ” said Garlow, past state commander.

One way to determine eligibility is if a person received hazardous duty pay on a military assignment. And although for many years it was an all-boys club, that is no longer the case.

“That was changed awhile back,” Garlow said. “Now we have a lot of female veterans who are members. And what used to be the Ladies Auxiliary is now just the Auxiliary, and male spouses are eligible to join that unit.”

The post was formed in 2001. Members learned that a 1999 Boulder High School graduate, Matthew A. Commons, had been killed in action and voted to name the post in his honor.

Fogg is commander of the Boulder City post as well as being the nondenominational chaplain for the statewide organization. He also holds other VFW offices.

“I got the calling 10 years ago and I just have the knack of doing invocational and spur-of-the-moment services I’m asked to do. It’s a gift I really enjoy, along with being there for the families,” he said about his religious activities.

He served as a Navy Fleet Marine Corps corpsman during the Cold War. But he was stationed off the coast of Iran in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter ordered a military alert during the hostage crisis. That made Fogg eligible to join the VFW.

Garlow was in the Air Force and served in many countries during his 20-year commitment, including Vietnam.

Fogg is also a member of the post honor guard that remains extremely busy officiating at ceremonies at the local veterans cemetery and at other venues around Southern Nevada.

Membership in the dues-paying organization is voluntary, but both men are quick to acknowledge that it takes sponsors to keep things moving. They cited such companies as Burger King, Sport Clips and Humana among others that provide free services throughout the year. Garlow noted that although the VFW is an official charitable organization, it cannot directly apply for grants or other types of major donations. For that a 501(c)3 foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C., is employed. The foundation works with major donors and “funnels funds to the local departments,” Garlow said.

In July the VFW will hold its national convention in Reno. Thousands of VFW members from around the nation will arrive to conduct meetings and seminars that will determine what legislative suggestions they will put forth to Congress later in the year. As Nevada leaders, Garlow (702-808-4750) and Fogg (702-809-6403) will play active roles in ensuring the convention runs smoothly. Until then they’ll be busy around the corner at 508 California Ave. Drop by and say hello.

CALLING WOMEN VETERANS

A free conference exclusively for women veterans will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at Texas Station in North Las Vegas. Offered by the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, the conference will feature topics such as health care benefits, employment, volunteer services and networking opportunities. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided, and day care will be available from Blue Star Mothers.

To register for the conference, go to http://bit.ly/2020WomenVetConference. To register for free day care services, contact hemmilab@veterans.nv.gov.

Chuck N. Baker is a Purple Heart veteran of the Vietnam War and the host of “That’s America to Me” every Sunday at 7 a.m. on 97.1-FM.

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