Vets here to help

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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Lincoln’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3010’s mission is cut-and-dry – veterans helping veterans. “It’s really that simple,” said Jon Hodson, the post’s quartermaster. Oftentimes, Hodson said, veterans aren’t aware of the benefits they are eligible for, and the VFW post helps them find those benefits, usually through contacting the county’s veterans services officer. “Most commonly, he helps them cut through the bureaucracy,” Hodson said. One recent success story happened after a veteran, a former Vietnam medic, living in poor conditions in Roseville was put in contact with the Lincoln post. The man now has his own trailer, receives medical care and works for a man in trade for free trailer parking, according to Hodson. Although the VFW is for helping veterans, Hodson said cash handouts are almost nonexistent. Rather than paying cash, the VFW will buy groceries, pay an electric bill or another bill that the veteran is having a hard time paying, said Vic Ioppolo, commander of VFW Post 3010. One example of that, according to Ioppolo, was when a local veteran couldn’t make ends meet last year and his children were days away from going to school. VFW members bought school supplies, clothes and backpacks for the children, ensuring they had what they needed for school. “They were just thrilled,” Ioppolo said. VFW Post 3010 celebrated its 75th anniversary in April and is still going strong with 76 members, Hodson said. Monthly meetings are held at the post, located downtown at 541 Fifth St. In addition to helping veterans find the services they are entitled to, VFW members provide funeral details by showing up with a color guard, rifle team and presenting the flag to the next of kin; honor the dead at local cemeteries on Memorial Day and help with other community events. The VFW teamed up with the Lincoln Hills Rods and Relics group to host the annual car show at the beginning of summer and about $8,000 was raised and donated to the music program at Lincoln High School, Ioppolo said. In December, Ioppolo said, Post 3010 hopes to hold a memorial service for Pearl Harbor survivors and the group is actively seeking survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack to be honored on the steps of the VFW hall. Another program the VFW partakes in is Poppy Day twice a year to coincide with Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. Poppies made by veterans in hospitals are given out to local residents and donations are accepted. Helping the veterans is the VFW Auxiliary, which is made up of family members of the veterans. To join the VFW, a veteran must have served in a combat zone in his or her career. Recently, two Iraq War veterans became members – a husband and wife team. Dina Flower, who now serves as junior vice-commander for the post, is the first woman to join VFW Post 3010. Membership dues are $23 per year but Post 3010 covers the first year’s dues for first-time members. Veterans interested can call Vic Ioppolo at 622-3254 or Jon Hodson at 300-5394. Quick Details: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3010 Goal: Helping veterans Location: 541 Fifth St. Membership requirements: Members must have served in a combat zone Dues: $23 yearly, with life memberships available Contact: Vic Ioppolo at 622-3254 or Jon Hodson at 300-5394 - The Lincoln News Messenger profiles a nonprofit organization every week. If you would like to see an organization featured, please e-mail or call 774-7967.