VFW Post 9133 of Jacksonville is elated over news of All American status and distinction. All American status is meant to recognize outstanding units and is based on participation in VFW Programs as well as membership improvements by Posts. There is an All American status for Districts and Departments as well. With strict guidelines to meet, Post 9133 had to unite to be successful in this endeavor.
“It takes a lot of effort on the part of many of our members to reach this goal,” said Gail Horn, senior vice commander for VFW Post 9133.
Several programs submissions had to be completed and those submissions had to make it to a certain level of judging in order to qualify for All American status. The Voice of Democracy is an annual nationwide scholarship program which is sponsored by the VFW. It is an audio-essay contest for high school students in grades 9-12.
The Patriot’s Pen is an essay contest which encourages teens to examine America's history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. National Citizenship Education Teacher Award program is where each VFW post nominates 3 teachers, in each elementary, middle and high school, for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Teachers whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics, for at least half of the school day in a classroom environment are eligible.
Aside from the programs, each member of the Post must have a minimum of 5 Buddy Poppies, which are cloth poppies made by veterans. A fundraiser had to be completed with the proceeds going to National Military Services, resulting in a minimum of $100.00. Posts were also required to have appointed a Post Service Officer. Additionally, membership goals had to be met and a retention of 85% of annual membership had to be maintained.
“It took a lot of planning and dedication from our members,” said Dan Grace, commander for VFW Post 9133. “We are all very proud of the distinction.”