The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is one of the oldest and most well known veteran service organizations, and the local post #2025 recently welcomed Dwight Sandeen as its new post commander, and Sue Cook as the returning president of the VFW Auxiliary.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is one of the oldest and most well known veteran service organizations, and the local post #2025 recently welcomed Dwight Sandeen as its new post commander, and Sue Cook as the returning president of the VFW Auxiliary.

Both spoke about their expectations for the coming year, and hope to see the post expand and and affect the community in a positive and meaningful way.

“I’ve talked to everybody and we want to see the post move forward,” said Dwight. “We want to fill the needs of the community, not just our veterans, and that’s one thing I want to see happen this year.”

Sandeen has worked with the VFW for years, joining soon after he retired from the military. Sandeen served for over 15 years in logistics and transportation.

“It all started years ago when I was retiring from the military; I ran into a couple members at the fort. I moved over here to Rolla, contacted the local post and signed up in early 2013.” Sandeen has held a variety of positions with the VFW, and now wants to serve as post commander to keep everything moving in a positive fashion.

“I want to build the post, not just for our local community but nationally. Every member we get is just a louder voice when we go not congress. It’s a stronger voice for veterans.”

And even with their eye on the national level, the post’s heart is still in the community. Sandeen added that  the post isn’t looking for what the community can do for them, but what they can do for the community and give back in any way they can. Sandeen gave the example of lending a wheelchair lift to a community member who might need it and passing it on when they recover.

“In the community, we want to find things they need and help with that. We’re a non profit and we’re trying to help everywhere we can,” he said. “We’re out here to try and help members of the community with needs they have, and to see that legislation happens the way we need to in order to have services for the veterans.”

The post already offers a great deal of services to veterans, tailoring to the specific needs of any veteran that requires assistance. Sandeen said they have an active outreach to various groups with whom they can put in contact with veterans in need. For example they are able to connect a veteran struggling with PTSD with Camp Valor, an organization that specializes in that service.

The post is continuously supported in all of these endeavors by the auxiliary, with Sue Cook returning for her third round as president. Cook said her goals for the year is the same as it’s always been, to monitor what the post and auxiliary are doing, and get ideas on how to improve their programs.

“I’m looking forward to a positive year,” she said.

Cook has been involved with the auxiliary for six years, and served as an administration specialist in the military. She stepped up to serve as president when the need arose.

“They needed someone to move up and I thought ‘I’ve learned enough about the program, not let’s see if we can continue to make it more positive,’” she said.

Cook said that opening up to the community is a team effort, and listed the many ways they strive to do so, including scholarship contests that can award up to $30,000 if a participant makes it to the national level. The auxiliary recognizes teachers of the year, public service awards and regularly sponsors a creative patriotic art program.

This year both Cook and Sandeen hope to have the community become more engaged with the VFW and auxiliary and see how much they have to offer everyone.

Weather permitted, the post and auxiliary will be outside the Rolla Walmart on Sunday, July second selling poppies. All proceeds go to helping local veterans.