Former Golden Valley Post 7051 reopens in Crystal as West Metro VFW.
Published December 19, 2016 at 6:09 pm
New warehouse space, and recruitment efforts part of post’s revamp
by Laci Gagliano
Sun Post Newspapers
West Metro VFW Post 7051, formerly Golden Valley VFW Post 7051, has acquired a new location in Crystal, and Quartermaster Mike Johnson says the post is open and ready to serve veterans and community members alike.
“We are still alive and well,” Johnson said of the post.
Located on Winpark Drive, the new location replaces the former space in Golden Valley, which was sold in August 2015. The name change reflects the post’s mission to represent a larger portion of the community, especially those in the cities of New Hope, Golden Valley, Crystal and Robbinsdale.
“We’re here to help. Not only veterans and current military men and women, but communities. We’ve helped kids’ organizations, things like that,” Johnson said. The organization’s goals are to reach out to people, and Johnson hopes to see the post grow.
“We do a pretty substantial amount for the communities, but we want to do more,” he said.
The newly renamed post occupies a warehouse and several office spaces. Right now, rows of tables are set up toward the front of the large room, with placards and other memorabilia from the former location adorning the walls, functioning as the men’s meeting space, while the ladies’ auxiliary meets in one of the office spaces.
In the spring, the back half of the main warehouse will be converted into a gym for anyone to use, with a couple of exercise machines, a basketball hoop and pool tables.
“The idea is to draw in veterans who just want something to do. Work out a little bit and not have to pay anything to do it. Even community members would be able to use it,” Johnson said.
When the post was located in Golden Valley, it was involved in a multitude of community events, including sponsoring school and youth activities, engagements the post will carry on from its new space.
The former location, however, also functioned as a bar and restaurant, which Johnson said detracted from their overall mission.
“We made that decision – it was draining us,” Johnson said of closing the establishment. “It was keeping us away from doing what we’re supposed to do, so we decided to sell, to get rid of the bar and restaurant and focus more on what we’re supposed to be focused on.”
Johnson hopes to recruit younger generations of veterans, including people who have fought in the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He said the post members hope it will become a staple in the community as a resource for people in need of resources and support for issues like PTSD and other post-combat struggles, financial difficulties, as well comradeship among veterans who have survived the tribulations of war.
He wants people to feel comfortable participating at whatever level is right for them, with no membership pressures or obligations. “We’re here to help. People don’t have to sign up or commit to membership,” he said. “In some cases, we’ll pay for the first couple of years to make it a little easier.”
He ultimately wants the community to know that Post 7051 is there to uphold the primary VFW mission: “To honor the dead by serving the living.”
Members of the community who are interested in joining or who have questions can get more information at vfwpost7051.com.
Contact Laci Gagliano at email@example.com
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Update June 1, 2017
Our goal was to set up an area in our facility where Veterans could take part in some activities. Unfortunately, we have run into some legal obstacles as to what we can do at this facility. We continue to pursue our options and will keep everyone up to date on any progress.
VFW Post 7051