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Robinson, IL. VFW Post  4549             



Hi. I’m Joe Murray, Commander of the VFW Post 4549 in Robinson, Illinois. It’s been quite a while since we’ve posted a newsletter, so here is some updated information for our members about the Post and what’s been going on here.  There have been many changes here in the past year, so bear with me as I try to tell everyone what’s happened. Some of you have been keeping up with us on our Facebook posting at “Crawford County VFW Post 4549,” and if you have, I thank you for following us. If you haven’t, I hope you will log on to keep abreast of what’s happening.

Firstly, many are not aware that the Post is now a non-smoking Post. We have a smoke room out back for those who choose to, but as for the indoors – “smoking is prohibited”. It’s made quite a change, and we’ve had more members coming in now. We’ve had the carpets cleaned and walls wiped down and air fresheners installed and it’s really improved the atmosphere. As I said earlier, we have provided a smoke room with booths and are installing a TV for those who might want to watch a ball game. It’s heated in the winter and those wanting to have a drink can purchase it in the canteen to take it to the room with them. Alcohol cannot be taken off the premises, however, and must be consumed either in the canteen or in the smoke room.

There have been a few changes to the facilities also. We have upgraded our kitchen to meet state standards. The only cooking we do, however, is to support Post functions and to raise funds for the Post. We do not have, and do not plan to have, a restaurant type facility. We do cook for things like members' fish fries, members' Holiday meals, and on Wednesdays we have a “donation luncheon”. The donation luncheon provides limited meals for donations, with the money donated going to buy the food and support the Post.

We’ve recently replaced all our ceiling tiles and wiped down the walls due to the years of inside smoking, which yellowed the tiles, and are now looking to paint walls as well. We’ve also put in new ceiling fans and some new lights, and are working with AMEREN Electric to install economic lights to reduce our power consumption. There are lots of upgrades going on, and more to come. We need to upgrade our heating and air conditioning systems and have been seeking donations to do this, due to the cost. If you know of someone who would like to help us with this, please have them give me a call. Additionally, we’re trying to get a grant from a local business to purchase the lot next to our Post to expand our parking. It’s more than the Post can afford, but we hope to find a patron to help us.

We now have five state legally installed gaming machines in the Post. The games are available to both members and non-members wanting to use them. They are located in a separate room from the canteen and banquet area and drinks can be purchased through a window so patrons can have a drink while they enjoy gaming. All profits made from the machines are used to support the Post and its mission of honoring veterans. If you’d like to try them come on in and bring your friends. Illinois has ruled that these games must be available to non-members – so if you know a non-member who likes the games just tell them to come to the door and ask the bartender where they’re located. They are welcome

We have “Lightning” every Saturday night now. If you’re not familiar with the game, it’s s like Bingo, but it only takes 6 numbers on a card to win. Each win pays $50 and a chance at the big prize. Our big prize starts at $500--and has gotten to over $2000 at times. The games don’t bring in a lot of money, but the members, and non-members (who are welcome), enjoy playing. Hope some of you will come out and try this sometime. Most times it seems more like players just come for the excitement and to enjoy the company of friends. Many don’t consume alcohol, but soft drinks and iced tea are available. Don’t stay away just because you don’t drink.

As I mentioned earlier, we have an annual Holiday Dinner for members and their families. This year’s Dinner is on the 21st of December. I doubt this letter will get to you in time to join us, but we have one every year, as well as our fish fries and other cookouts. Please keep us in mind and come in for a beverage, to chat, or to find out about our next cooking.

Many of our regulars and those following us on Facebook have seen the pictures of me getting a bucket of ice water poured over my head and - IT WAS COLD! It was for a worthy cause, however. The donations for me to take the “Ice Bucket Challenge” went to the VFW National Home for Children. I have challenged every District VFW Commander to take the challenge for the Children’s Home to, but haven’t seen any of them stepping up. It’s not for the faint hearted because as I said – IT WAS COLD.

There are many in the Robinson area not aware that we lease our Banquet Room for private functions. We’ve had wedding receptions, birthday parties and other functions of this nature. Those renting the room must provide their own catering, as we do not cook for the public in our kitchen. This hasn’t stopped anyone from using the room at all. In fact, our Saturday nights are pretty much booked for December. Room users can buy a keg if they like and have access to our bar services also. Leasing the room is not restricted to members and anyone from the public can lease the Banquet Room. If you know of someone looking for a space, have them call the Post at 618-546-5140 for more information. Rates are very reasonable for this large room.

Many of you are aware of the Veterans Memorial located next door to us in the old railway station. It’s open for touring from 1:00-3:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. We can also make arrangements for special tours for those visiting during the weekdays. Just call the Post and ask for information.

For veterans, we have a Veterans Administration Representative in our Post the 1st Wednesday of each month. Anyone needing information from the VA can come in to talk with him. He’s available from 9 am to 4 pm; although he does try to sneak out for lunch if we don’t watch him. He has computer access right at the Post, so he can get the information you need quickly. Please come in if you need him. We like to keep him busy helping our vets. We also have vans available to take members to VA clinics and hospitals in Danville and Indianapolis for appointments during the week. It’s free, and those members needing a ride can call the Post for the schedule.

We have Post Members Meetings scheduled the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm to discuss upcoming issues, complaints, suggestions etc. We would like to see more members come to the meetings to provide their input. It’s only through the input and voting of members that things get done or changes get made. If you have an opinion on what happens here at the Post, come in and join us and make your opinions known. Everyone has opinions and this is the best way to get them before the members and the Board of Directors for consideration. We try to have some sandwich makings for after the meeting and we do a 50/50 drawing to bring some money into the Post.

We’re in the process of trying to get our younger generation of veterans to join the Post. We’ve been trying to make changes so they feel welcome. We’ve been working on getting rid of the image of the Post being a bunch of old guys sitting at the bar drinking beer, smoking and telling war stories. You might see a few old guys at the bar, but there will probably be just as many younger men and women vets also. And, since we’ve gone non-smoking that’s no longer a problem. You might hear a couple of war stories, but probably not. Most likely you’ll hear talk about the Bears, Colts, Cardinals or Cubs and how they’re doing this year. Of course, how they’re doing this year might influence the discussion.

I would not be doing my job as Commander if I didn’t tell you that we’re always looking for donations to support the Post. As a non-profit organization, donations to the Post are tax deductible and if you’re looking for a way to honor our war veterans, or even a loved one, giving to the VFW is a good way to do it. We also have members telling us that they plan to put a bequest in their wills for the Post. Some of our older generation want to give back to the community in a way that honors veterans, and some of them don’t have spouses or children to pass on their legacy. Keep us in mind if this applies to you. You can be assured that anything left to the Post will be used wisely and in support of veterans.

For general information, our Post Hours of Operation are: Monday thru Thursday - 0800–2400, Friday and Saturday - 0800–0100, and Sunday - 1000 –2400. The Post phone number is 618-546-5140; and again, we can be seen on Facebook at “Crawford County VFW Post 4549”. I hope you’ll stop by if you haven’t been in for a while and take a look at the changes. Also, try to come in for our monthly Members Meeting shown above and let us know what you think and what we can do better.

Hope to see you soon.

Joe Murray Commander VFW Post 4549 Robinson, IL