A Wall Of Honor

Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, March 13, 2012

BUCKINGHAM – Since the late 1940s, the VFW Hall on Route 60 has been a landmark in this community. Not only has it served as a meeting hall for the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion but it also took on the role of a community center, dance hall, and home for numerous civic organizations.

Over the last few years, VFW Post 8446, after an energetic and successful reorganization, is working to upgrade and refurbish the facility.

During this revitalization effort, the Post has decided to erect a Wall of Honor for all veterans from any branch of the U. S. Armed Services.

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“If they served and were discharged honorably they rate a brick,” shared George Stish, Quartermaster for Post 8446.

The Wall of Honor will be constructed with engraved bricks placed in honor or in memory of veterans, explained Stish.

“The bricks are laser engraved,” he shared, noting that there are three different styles of bricks. “The process melts the clay into black glass so they will never fade or flake.”

He explained that the initial goal is to launch the project with 300 bricks. Stish offered, “This will give us a good start and we can expand the wall later as more bricks are donated.”

The cost for each brick is $40. Not only will the bricks serve to honor veterans but they will also allow VFW Post 8446 to continue and, hopefully, enhance its efforts to serve fellow veterans in Buckingham and beyond.

Additionally, proceeds from the bricks will help with the ongoing renovation effort of the VFW Hall, which continues to serve this community by providing a facility for meetings, fundraisers, and social events.

While sharing information about the VFW Hall, Stish said that in a combined effort, the VFW and the American Legion obtained the building from the Department of Defense in 1946.

According to Eugene A. Maloney in his book A History of Buckingham County, “It was through the joint effort and sponsorship of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars that a memorial meeting hall was established for veterans on Route 60 across from the Lee Wayside.”

Maloney, citing the Farmville Herald, continued, “The building itself was purchased by the Board of Supervisors but moved from Richmond to Buckingham by approximately 50 local veterans using their own trucks.”

Stish offered that during 1948, veterans from the VFW and American Legion worked on Sundays to erect the building.

Although participation and interest in the two organizations was high during the decades following WWII and the Korean War, Stish explained that both the Buckingham VFW and the American Legion were in danger of becoming extinct not less than a decade ago.

“I am proud to say through the efforts of a few diehard members, the VFW now has 66 members and the Legion has reorganized and is gaining membership,” he stated.

Today, the VFW Hall is once again shared by both organizations, as was the original intent, said Stish.

He explained that although the facility remains under the sole control of the VFW, the American Legion is utilizing the building and the two organizations get together for “workdays” at the facility.

Noting that the Wall of Honor is a VFW project, Stish said order forms for the bricks are available from any VFW member. Additionally, forms may be obtained by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to Memorial Brick Program, VFW Post 8446, 3908 Sycamore Creek Road, Buckingham, VA 23921; or email Post8446@gmail.com to request a digital copy of the form.

Stish added that the VFW is also planning to have a booth at Buckingham County Day on Saturday, May 12, in Dillwyn as part of town's centennial celebration.

At that time, order forms will be available. Moreover, members of VFW Post 8446 will be on-hand to explain eligibility requirements for the VFW and will be more than happy to talk with veterans about membership.

“What we really need is the next generation of veterans to step up and join these two organizations so that the mission may continue,” stated Stish, who is one of Post 8446 younger members. He continued, “Veterans of my generation-veterans from Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan.”

According to the VFW website, that mission is to foster camaraderie among United States veterans of overseas conflicts; to serve veterans, the military and their communities; and to advocate on behalf of all veterans.

Hand in hand with that mission is the VFW vision of ensuring that veterans are respected for their service; always receive their earned entitlements; and are recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country.

Now, responding to that vision, VFW Post 8446 is offering relatives, advocates, acquaintances, and friends of veterans a concrete opportunity to demonstrate their respect and recognize those sacrifices in a wall-a wall built on a foundation of freedom and patriotism.