Honoring combat veterans in Alpine

Alpine VFW Post 7207 Quartermaster and U.S. Army Afghanistan combat veteran Scott Gage. 

As veteran’s day approaches, one Alpine organization, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7207, remembers those who have served in combat zones around the world. The Post is named after Alpine native Elpidio H. Ramos, a U.S. Army combat soldier who served in World War II, and died in combat in North Africa.

Nationwide, the VFW’s primary mission is helping veterans navigate their way through the Veterans Administration, administered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, with issues such as health benefits, pensions, housing, and more.

Alpine resident Scott Gage, the VFW quartermaster, served in the conflict in Afghanistan from 2003-2004. He said the VFW differs from the American Legion in that the VFW has veterans who served in overseas combat zones in conflicts such as World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, while the American Legion serves all military personnel.

VFW Post 7207 members are active in community service and assist during times of natural disasters, such as the wildfires that plagued areas of the Big Bend in past years. Members participate as color guards in local parades, or host various community events. During Flag Day commemorations, the VFW works with local organizations to properly dispose of the flags that are no longer usable.

The VFW’s major event involves the flag salute to veterans who have passed, including providing final rites at funeral services.

The VFW is now working to obtain a Highly Rural Transportation Grant, a $125,000 federal grant that helps veterans who live in rural areas travel at no cost to VA or VA-authorized health care facilities. The VA administered grant would greatly assist veterans in 13 West Texas counties, and would be distributed by the Big Bend Community Action Committee, a nonprofit organization providing services to low-income residents.

On Saturday, Nov. 9, the VFW will partner with Alpine American Legion Post 79 to sell poppies in front of Porter’s and True Value. The VFW will also have a booth set up to sign up new members.

Gage said that as Veteran’s Day approaches, everyone should take a few minutes to remember those veterans who have passed on.

“The VFW is an organization with a long, proud tradition. It’s designed to serve not only its membership, but the community at large,” said Gage. “We all need to remember that a lot of good people in the United States, both men and women, sacrificed a lot so we could have the freedoms that we enjoy today.”

VFW Post 7207 holds meetings the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the VFW Hall on 605 East Avenue F in Alpine.

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