VFW Post 1512 in Lemon Grove, Calif. wanted to show their commitment to active-duty service members. The Post knew VFW’s Adopt-A-Unit in the Military Assistance Program (MAP) was a great way to do just that. "The majority of the members in our Post are Navy veterans," said Jerry Koehmlein, Post Adjutant. "When the Post was thinking to Adopt-A-Unit, we knew of one very active member who was currently in the Navy and aboard the USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53)," he continued.
Adopting the ship seemed like a perfect match. Post members approached the command of the USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) about the idea, and the command was receptive to it. Post 1512 adopted the USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) in 2006 and has supported the crew ever since.
Through Adopt-A-Unit, the Post is able to support the sailors and their families in many ways. This past year, upon their return from the western Pacific, the crew and their families were served coffee, donuts and cookies. Post members also invited them to attend the Post Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. In addition, they threw a Christmas party for the sailors and their families, complete with a gift for each child in attendance. Post members even hosted a car wash to raise funds for Chief Petty Officers to help offset the cost of uniforms.
"We keep in touch with them and can help them with their family and community needs. This is not only when they’re deployed, but when they are home," said Koehmlein.
Koehmlein feels the Adopt-A-Unit program is very important, and as veterans, members of the VFW are the ideal people to carry out its goal of providing supportive relationships to units, during all phases of service, because they’ve experienced the same situations. "It shows our active-duty service members the VFW really cares about them and their families," he said.