How the VFW stays tax-exempt: Community Service

By Harold Rodenberger


Since our founding as a federally chartered organization in 1899, our members have worked to help veterans and their families, to further patriotism and Americanism, and to help our communities. Because these goals are part of our mission the Internal Revenue Service has granted us tax-exempt status under the provisions of Section 501 (c) (19) of the tax code.


To maintain our tax-exempt status, each month we report community service performed by our members. Reports from the posts and districts are forwarded to and consolidated by the departments and from there forwarded to our national headquarters. To make these reports more complete we ask that each of our members forward qualifying actions so as much as possible can be included each month.


You might be surprised to learn that many things you do should be included so please make a note to compile and forward your contributions in the following areas.


Community Service: Activities that benefit your community, parks or neighborhood such as:

  • Recycling
  • Picking up trash
  • Beautification projects
  • Monetary donations to a local park, farmers’ market, or similar.


Citizenship Education and Americanism: Participation in:

  • Parades
  • Patriotic holiday events
  • Public ceremonies
  • Presenting flags or educational materials
  • Attending funerals
  • POW/MIA activities
  • Loyalty Day activities
  • Legislative activities
  • Flying the American Flag (please specify lighted or unlit)
  • Participation in Color/Honor Guard activities or placing flags on veterans’ graves.


Aid to Others:

  • Hospital and nursing home visits
  • Visits with senior citizens or house-bound neighbors
  • Donations of care packages
  • Helping to organize a blood drive or individual donations of blood, platelets or plasma
  • Fundraising or assisting to build handicapped ramps or other home repairs and transporting others to doctors or hospital visits
  • Donations of money or materials to the needy or thrift stores or other charitable organizations (please itemize so we can assign dollar values)
  • Donations to homeless or to organizations that help the homeless and other charitable causes such as the USO, cancer society, March of Dimes, etc.


Youth Activities:

  • Assisting at schools as guest speaker, volunteer coaching
  • Donating money, materials or time to support Scouts, children’s sports or band functions
  • Helping with Special Olympics or other help for special students or children.


Voice of Democracy, Youth Essay and Patriotic Art:

  • Donations of time and money to locate, encourage and assist students to enter the VFW Voice of Democracy, Patriot’s Pen, Youth Essay and Patriotic Art contests.



  • Giving or attending classes or time and money spent to encourage safety, broken down by pedestrian, drug awareness, recreational, highway, fire or home safety.


Military Assistance:

  • Any support given to a military unit, individual, or family member
  • Sponsoring or attending “welcome home” ceremonies and other ceremonies honoring the military


Post catches up on flag retirements, more scheduled


Flag disposal

Flag disposal

Bill Hoeller (left) and Harold Rodenberger (right) conducted a flag retirement ceremony Sept. 18, 2016.  They honored twenty-seven unserviceable American Flags by properly disposing of them in their portable incineration device. They are now caught up so if you or your neighbors have an unserviceable flag, bring it by the office during regular office hours and they will add it to the collection for the next retirement ceremony.


Voice of Democracy scholarship deadline is Nov. 1

Each year, nearly 40,000 high school students from across the country enter to win a share of $2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the VFW’s Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition.


The VFW established the Voice of Democracy program (VOD) in 1947 to provide students grades 9-12 the opportunity to express themselves in regards to democratic ideas and principles.

Voice of Democracy Graphic

The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. Other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first-place winner from each (state) VFW Department wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.




Students should record their reading of the draft to an audio CD or flash drive. The recording can be no shorter than three minutes and no longer than five minutes (plus or minus five seconds).


Entries begin at the post level. Once the student creates their essay and completes burning the audio version to an audio CD/flash drive, they can submit their typed version, CD/flash drive and the Voice of Democracy entry form to their local participating VFW Post by the November 1 deadline.


Students who submit an essay to Post 3063 automatically receive a $50 prize!


For more information regarding the scholarship application process, go to


First flag retirement ceremony held in 35 years

By Charles R. Anderson


Burning flagOn Flag Day, June 14, 2016, Ballard Eagleson VFW Post 3063 held the first flag retirement service in more than 35 years to dispose properly of worn flags that had been left at the post.


It was a windy gray day with a threat of rain looming, perhaps appropriate for such an event.


The flags were burned as prescribed by the United StateSaluting retired flags Flag Code. The incinerator device was home-made by our Quartermaster Harold Rodenberger from half of a 55-gallon drum mounted on a piece of salvaged aluminum from an old post sign with wheels added for portability. A raised grating supported the flags, while a healthy bed of burning wood provided the fuel.