2016-07-26 / Front Page

Gosport VFW Post #7850 Marks 70 Years Of Serving Its Veterans

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer


Indiana District 44 State Representative and decorated Vietnam War veteran Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) accepts an American flag for his home from Harriett Figg of the Gosport VFW Post #7850 Auxiliary. (Staff Photo) Indiana District 44 State Representative and decorated Vietnam War veteran Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) accepts an American flag for his home from Harriett Figg of the Gosport VFW Post #7850 Auxiliary. (Staff Photo) Now just across Third Street in Gosport, the Veterans of Foreign Wars John Brighton Post #7850 hasn’t gone far from its original location, but has come quite a ways in its 70 years.

A longtime cornerstone of the town’s Main Street, the Post celebrated 70 years of its charter last Saturday. The Post was established on June 24, 1946 under first commander Charles B. Dunn. Robert. J. Moore served as the first Quartermaster and the late Ned Smith, a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, was among its 50 charter members.

The Post’s ladies auxiliary was established in December of 1947, with 14 charter members.

The Post moved across the street in 1986 after purchasing the old Brewer Food Store, remodeling and relocating to the northwest corner of Main and Third streets. The Gosport Town Council purchased the original Post building for $35,000, which continues to house the Gosport Volunteer Fire Department.


Gosport VFW Post #7850 Commander Keith Hill accepts a plaque noting contributions of Post #7850 to a 2015 statewide project supporting homeless Hoosier veterans from past Indiana VFW Auxiliary President Sharron Barger and Past Indiana VFW State Commander William “Buzz” Weberding. (Staff Photo) Gosport VFW Post #7850 Commander Keith Hill accepts a plaque noting contributions of Post #7850 to a 2015 statewide project supporting homeless Hoosier veterans from past Indiana VFW Auxiliary President Sharron Barger and Past Indiana VFW State Commander William “Buzz” Weberding. (Staff Photo) Saturday’s guest speaker came in the form of both a military and civil servant in Indiana District 44 State Representative and decorated Vietnam War veteran, Jim Baird.

“It’s a pleasure to be a part of the John Brighton Post 7850’s 70th celebration,” Baird began. “I understand you have World War II vets, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan veterans all as members. I can’t tell you how much respect that I have for the World War II veterans. The Korean and Vietnam War veterans went through a little bit of a different time in our country. It was great that we had organizations like this who were able to interact with those veterans and give them a word of encouragement. I cannot leave this conversation without mentioning Edgar Stoner was born in Gosport, Indiana on November 22, 1922, and he was responsible for developing the M16 rifle. He was a Marine and during World War II, he worked on some of the weaponry, like the .50 caliber machine gun and out of that, he was able to conceptualize what you needed. They wanted a lighter rifle that was easier to pack and had a better range.”

Research of the Post by Past Indiana VFW Auxiliary President Sharron Barger, of Spencer, uncovered documents dating back to its founding members.

“The object of this 7850 Post are: fraternal, patriotic, historical and educational. To present and strengthen comradeships amongst it’s members, to assist worthy comrades, to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead, and to assist their widows and orphans. To maintain true allegiance to the government of the United States of America, in fidelity to it’s constitutions and laws, to foster true patriotism. To maintain and extend the institution of American freedom and to preserve and defend the united States of America from all enemies, whomsoever,” she read aloud. “As part of the Gosport community, we strive to serve anyone in need, or anywhere where our help is needed. Along with the VFW, the ladies auxiliary sponsors a yearly scholarship, Little League teams, the Gosport food bank and other projects.”

Barger noted several changes throughout the past 70 years, with female veterans joining the VFW and male members joining the auxiliary.

“We’ve come a long way and I look forward to working with our comrades, brothers and sisters, and let’s see what happens in another 70 years,” she said. “To the new commander and auxiliary president, you’ve taken on the responsibility to see that the veterans, their spouses and this community continues to thrive under your leadership, I wish the John Brighton Post #7850 another 70 great years.”

Past Indiana VFW State Commander William “Buzz” Weberding was also on hand with Barger, who he teamed up with to raise more than $45,000 for homeless Hoosier veterans in 2015.

“A lot has changed in the world since then, yet some things have stayed the same. Men who served together, fought together, and then came home to establish a post together... I’m talking about comradeship. That’s why this Post was mustered, to remember the sacrifice of those who put their lives on the line and to remember those lives,” Weberding said. “This milestone shouldn’t just stand for the 70 years behind it, but point the way to the future and carry a strong commitment to those who serve today and those who will serve tomorrow. When troops come home, welcome them into our ranks and assist them in getting what they need to re-enter a useful and productive civilian life. That’s what the VFW is all about, that’s what this Post is all about, and that’s what this anniversary is all about”

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