Cheers to 100 Years for VFW Post 260

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The Veterans of Foreign Wars Prince-Wynn Post 260 has been serving veterans for 100 years and on Saturday, November 9, they’ll be celebrating the centennial with an all-day party.

The Veterans of Foreign Affairs, the nation’s oldest major war veterans’ association, got its start around 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. The VFW Prince-Wynn Post 260 was established in 1919. Originally based in Brooklyn as the Joseph A. Wynn Post No. 260, the Post has called Broad Channel home since it came to the island neighborhood on June 15, 1976. It was brought to town by the late George Riekers, who served as its commander several times. The Post is located at 705 Shad Creek Road, the former Democratic Club,  and on Saturday, veterans, friends, family and community members will all gather there to celebrate 100 years of Post 260’s service to those who served abroad.

In those 100 years, the VFW Prince-Wynn Post 260 has gone above and beyond, not just for local veterans, but for the Broad Channel community. For veterans, Post 260 serves as a hub for veterans of foreign wars to gather, and its auxiliary members do what they can to help them at the hall or bring their services to those who can’t make the trip. “Our Post is there as a gathering place for war veterans. A place for them to get together and make themselves aware of the benefits and services that our government and organizations provide for them. It’s also a place for them to socialize and bring their friends and family together,” Rob Prokopowicz, VFW Post 260’s Auxiliary treasurer said.

Prokopowicz expanded on some of their efforts, explaining the Post’s close connection with the veterans of St. Albans Veterans Hospital. “We sometimes go there and host things like bingos, barbecues and little parties for them or we bring the disabled veterans from the hospital to the Post for a day of relaxation, to take them away from the mundane, institutionalized life in the hospital and give them a sense of being home and among community and friends. We work with other local organizations like the North Channel Yacht Club, the Iroquois Yacht Club, the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and others to offer them more events. For instance, this summer we brought them to the North Channel Yacht Club for a day of fishing on the water. What a great day that was. Another big event that we have coming up is the Sunday before Thanksgiving, in which we bring about 40 to 50 veterans from the hospital to our Post, and about 30 to 40 members and people from the community show up to volunteer and give them a wonderful dinner. It’s a tremendous effort.”

Each year, the VFW Post 260 also hosts Broad Channel’s Memorial Day parade to thank all veterans and honor them. “On the Sunday before Memorial Day, we spearhead the parade along with the American Legion and we invite all local organizations to come out to honor them. It’s a wonderful parade that ends with a nice barbecue lunch at the Post. It gives the entire community a chance to come out and show their respect to our veterans,” Prokopowicz said.

The community is also welcome to VFW Post 260. “We open our doors on weekends to our members, but we do accept their guests. We’re more inclusive than exclusive,” he said. However, the hall is always available for community use, especially when it comes to events to support others. From hosting the NYFAC Foundation’s holiday toy run for autistic children and their families, to opening their doors for local school graduations and dances, to hosting community fundraiser barbecues and charity concerts for Friends in Need, those from the community going through a tough time, VFW Post 260 is always there.

On Saturday, the community is welcome to celebrate all that VFW Post 260 does as they mark their 100th anniversary. The day will be a fun-filled celebration for all. It kicks off with a prayer service, starting at 9 a.m., followed by a light breakfast. From noon until 3 p.m., there will be plenty to do for the kids, from games to goodies like cotton candy and more. From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., all are welcome to enjoy a buffet dinner for just $10 per person. Then you’re going to want to stick around for a night of music by some of the best local voices out there as part of a concert from 8 p.m. to midnight. Admission for the concert is $10 per person for those just coming to the show. The night will also include 50/50s and raffles to help raise money for VFW Post 260, so they can keep doing the great work they do for our war veterans.

Organizing the music for the evening is Walker Hornung, a regular at VFW Post 260 music events, who wanted to pay it forward. “Anytime we hold an event for a Friend in Need, the VFW opens their doors to us. They do a lot of good stuff for the neighborhood and it’s always good to give back,” he said. So in return, Hornung will be performing, along with a slew of local talent, including Bobby Butler, John Simonelli, Kyle Wade, Mason Porretto, Joe Caravella, Heidi and Eddy Joe, Desmond Ivor, Chris Vought and more. Each musician will perform about four songs, including original music and covers for all to enjoy, plus DJ music in between sets. “There are so many great songwriters in the area. It’s going to be incredible,” Hornung said.

Prokopowicz hopes that Saturday’s celebration will be a fun opportunity for some of the VFW’s older members to take a trip down memory lane and leave with new memories to cherish. “I’m hoping that it will bring back fond memories of all of the events that we’ve had in the past. There’s a deep history with this place and I hope some historians can come out and bring back some photos and reminisce about the laughs they’ve had here with this community,” he said. “It will be a fun reunion and a great day for our veterans and for the neighborhood. Hopefully many will relive those old memories and leave with some new ones.”

For more information about VFW Post 260, follow the “VFW Post 260 Prince Wynn Auxiliary” Facebook page or call 718-634-5106.

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