In 2018 the men who made up the VFW Post 6370 on Marco Island became the unwitting victims of the consolidation of their Post with that of one in Golden Gate. When they chose not to consolidate with that Post their Charter was revoked.
The aging demographic of the Post did not want to make the 50-mile roundtrip drive in the evenings to attend meetings in Golden Gate. Many of their membership were World War II Veterans or from the Korean War Conflict. Don Mills, now a 95-year-old veteran of WWII and a longtime resident of Marco Island, commented at the time: “This is probably one of the saddest days of my life, as it is for our entire membership, but life isn’t fair sometimes,” said Mills.
“This was going to be just too much for many of our older members,” said Jim Lang, an active Past Commander of the Post. “We had almost 100 members at one time,” said Lang in an interview.
The group didn’t want to lose the comradery they shared, so later in 2018 they began a separate organization which was incorporated as, War Veterans of Marco Island. The group is open to any male or female member of the armed forces, so long as they saw service in a war, campaign, expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters.
That is a distinction that between the American Legion and VFW Posts. VFW members must have served in a combat theatre. Many of the former Marco VFW members belonged to both Posts, prior to the changes brought about in 2018. Many of the members of the new veterans’ group are also members of the local American Legion Post.
The new group has carried on the tradition of selling American flags, which was a major source of funding for assistance to veterans in need. That tradition is being carried on, as is the management of the two drop off points for old flags that need to be retired in a respectful manner.
“As we approach Veterans Day, we wanted to remind residents where they can obtain an American-made U.S. flag,” said Jim Lang.
One of those points for collection of old flags may be found on Park Avenue near the Blue Star Memorial at Veterans Community Park. The other receptacle can be found in the parking lot and driveway at Marco Island City Hall.
The flags sold by the War Veterans of Marco Island are all made in the United States and can be obtained by calling David Gardner at 239-289-5862 or Jim Lang at 239-595-1811. All proceeds go to supporting veterans’ needs.