The Marshall County Post

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Military Appreciation Month  

Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 12:00 pm


Military Appreciation Month and Mental Health Awareness Month both fall in May. This article has all you need to know about the organizations that assist Veterans in Marshall County, what exactly they do for Veterans, and how the battlefield is no longer where Veterans make the ultimate sacrifice.

There will be a short Memorial Day Ceremony held at 11 a.m. on the square on May 27, 2024. Everyone is encouraged to attend. Afterward, the VFW – Bill Lowe Wheatley Post 5109 will be open to the public and will be selling plates for $10 each. All proceeds will be split 50/50 between the VFW and the VFW Auxiliary.

Organizations in Marshall County

The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) are both military fraternal organizations. We have local posts for both of these right here in Marshall County but they’re also a national organization. The VFW Auxiliary is also part of a national organization.

American Legion membership is open to anyone who has served at least one day of active military duty since December 7, 1941, who was honorably discharged or is still serving active military duty honorably. Their business meeting is held at the VFW at 148 E. Church St. in Lewisburg on the 1st Monday of the month at 6 p.m. Walt Redding is Commander of the Edwin McQuiddy – American Legion Post 39.

The American Legion’s mission statement is: To enhance the well-being of America’s veterans, their families, our military, and our communities by our devotion to mutual helpfulness. The American Legion’s value principles are: a veteran is a veteran, selfless service, American values and patriotism, family and community engagement, advancing the vision, and honoring those who came before us.

VFW membership has two requirements: 1: Honorable Service – must have served in the Armed Forces of the United States and either received a discharge of Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions) or be currently serving. 2: Service in a war, campaign, or expedition on foreign soil or hostile waters. For more information, see

VFW – Bill Lowe Wheatley Post 5109 is open to veterans and the public on Tuesday – Thursday 4 – 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 2 – 11 p.m., Sunday and Monday – closed. Their business meeting is held at the VFW at 148 E. Church St. in Lewisburg on the 2nd Monday of the month at 6 p.m. with session following the VFW & VFW Auxiliary Joint Meeting. Rick Buckley is the Commander of the Post.

The VFW Auxiliary membership is open to spouses, widows, siblings, parents and grandparents, as well as children and grandchildren of persons who were or are eligible for membership in the VFW. Step and adopted family members are considered the same as biological family members and may join the VFW Auxiliary under their VFW- eligible veteran. The VFW Auxiliary business meeting is also held at the VFW on the 2nd Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Susan Tonsetic is President of the local VFW Auxiliary.

Veterans Outreach is a local, grassroots organization and has no requirements for membership. It is open to all Veterans. They may encourage Veterans to receive additional support through VFW, the VSO, American Legion, and Disabled America Veterans (DAV) in Columbia. Their regular meetings are held every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Church St. Church of Christ Annex Building at 305 W. Church St. in Lewisburg. Larry McKnight started Veterans Outreach in April 2016.

The Marshall County Veterans Service Office falls under the Marshall County Government. The Veterans Service Office is located at 230 College St. #210 Lewisburg, TN 37091. (931) 359-5482. They are open Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Brandon Cannon is the Director.

What They Do Here

All of the local organizations work together to provide assistance through the program they call the “Veterans in Need.” The program helps with furniture, electric scooters, rent, transportation to appointments, wheelchairs, medications, household items, utility bills, and other expenses when needed. They coordinate year round and have filled empty apartments with furniture, built a wheelchair ramp, repaired a broken electric scooter, stocked kitchens with dishes, and much more.

The VFW – Bill Lowe Wheatley Post 5109 has an all new website that is easy to use at Their website has all of their events, entertainment, and more – including their menu. On Thursdays, Dinner with a Vet is a great opportunity for the public (young and old) to stop in and grab an affordable meal. Most Veterans are there and available after 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Conversations do not have to be about war or military. Dinner with a Vet may help shatter stereotypes and help people see that Veterans are just like everyone else. No reservations are required just show up, find a vet, and order your meal. “We are here. We are people too. And we appreciate all of the support of the community. We are thankful we can still be of service,” said Redding.

VFW also has pool tournaments on Tuesdays and live entertainment most Fridays and Saturdays. The interior has been painted and the atmosphere is much brighter and inviting – stop in and see for yourself.

American Legion, VFW, and VFW Auxiliary support youth by sponsoring local sports teams and awarding scholarships at local, state, and national levels.

American Legion sponsors Boys State Delegates and Girls State Delegates. Boys attend a week – long camp where they are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students elected to the various offices. Girls also attend a week – long camp where they receive the tools they need to become confident, informed citizens and voters.

The VFW awards scholarships to the winners of The Voice of Democracy essay contest for high school students and to the winners of the Patriot Pen essay contest for middle school students. The VFW Auxiliary’s Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest recognizes up-and-coming artists and encourages patriotism in youth. The first place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $37,000.

Veterans Outreach meetings have a different guest speaker each week. They host a Town Hall event at least once a year. They partner with Columbia State to assist Veterans with their educational goals. Local Veterans built a trailer that so that Veterans Outreach could participate in parades a few years ago. So now, when you attend local parades – Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, or Christmas – you may see your favorite Veteran.

The VFW Auxiliary works with the local American Heritage Girls Troop TN7712. The troop has an annual pancake breakfast and this year, they raised over $5,400. Tonsetic visits with Marshall County Veterans when they are at NHC – Lewisburg, Alvin C. York Hospital in Murfreesboro, and Columbia. She also prepares holiday baskets and delivers them in person to Veterans and their families.

The Marshall County Veterans Service Office employs a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) who acts as a liaison between Veterans and their families in obtaining benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. A VSO can help Veterans file disability claims with the VA. They also assist Veterans in obtaining benefits relative to vocational rehabilitation, VA Home Loans, education, insurance, burial benefits and non-service connected pension benefits. The Veterans Service Officer can also act as a liaison for Veterans and their families in obtaining care at VA Medical Centers and Clinics. The ultimate job of a VSO is to simplify what can be a very complex undertaking – obtaining eligible benefits from the Veterans Administration.

Sacrifice Looks Different Today

The ever-changing face of the military and service itself means Veterans will continue to require individualized support—for wounds both visible and invisible—over their lifetime, depending on where, when, and how they served.

With the advancements of the military today, combat does not take as many lives as it once did. Redding said, “It’s not only on the battlefield that we’re losing a lot of folks. We’re losing an inordinate amount of folks due to experiences. We’ve talked about the isolation, the loss of a sense of mission or purpose. That seems to be taking more lives than bullets these days, especially since we have improved saving people on the battlefield.”

Being in combat and being separated from family members is stressful. So is readjusting to civilian life after the military. All of this stress puts service members and Veterans at risk for mental health problems, including depression, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, as well as alcohol and drug use disorders.

Things like PTSD, hearing loss, and other injuries may not show up until years later and can affect Veterans at any stage of life. Veterans may lose jobs or face employment barriers. Access to timely health care can be a challenge. Rural areas can be challenging to navigate with limited access to transportation and medical specialists.

There is also a higher risk of suicide among Veterans. Veterans who are in crisis can get help from the Veteran’s Crisis line by calling 988 and pressing 1 or texting to 838255.

Redding wants the Veterans of this county to know, “There’s a huge number of Veterans in Marshall County that we are not interacting with yet but if we can just get to you, we’ll handle the rest. We’re here and we want to help in any way we can.”