Lake Murray VFW Post racks up at annual awards gathering

Lake Murray VFW Post 6740 Commander Ginger Graham and Auxiliary president Maxine Caughman hold the Post of the Year award. Staff photo by Tonya Rodgers

Taking care of our veterans. That is the most important role of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars). This past weekend, Lake Murray VFW Post 6740 was honored for all of their hard work in doing just that.

The statewide VFW held their annual banquet at The Doubletree Inn in Columbia, and Post 6740 won numerous awards. These included Veterans and Military Support Programs Certificate of Recognition, the Serving with Aloha Award, First Place Award for Membership, Media First Place Award, a 2nd place Certificate of Recognition in Americanism, 3rd Place in Legislative, 3rd Place in Scholarship, and 3rd place in Buddy Poppy. The awards the Post leadership were most proud of winning was The VFW Post of the Year and Ginger Graham receiving Commander of the Year.

The VFW Auxiliary Post 6740 is a busy group of individuals who offer services to veterans and their families that many Batesburg-Leesville citizens.  They work five to seven days a week serving meals to veterans and families and conducting service projects throughout the community.

“We are excited to educate the community and especially children in regards to women serving in combat, not only men.  Many people forget that women also have played and continue to play active roles in fighting wars,” said award-winning Commander Ginger Graham.

The VFW is working now on a golf tournament fund-raiser on November 5 at Golden Hills Golf Course in Lexington to help with some special needs they have. They hope raise funds to remodel a bathroom at their site and are hoping to add a children’s play area so that veterans can bring their children to enjoy the lakeside fun.

“If veterans can’t bring their children, often times they aren’t going to be able to come to the post. We want to encourage a family atmosphere,” stated Commander Ginger. Youth programs are also offered during Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. “Because of COVID-19, the JROTC members at B-L High School were unable to get special recognition, so we recognized the cadets with a yard sign and a $50 check. They do the flag presentations for all of our events and help by passing out Buddy Poppies so we wanted to show them our support,” said Commander Graham.

Nationally, the VFW was established in 1914 and serves veterans who have fought in combat overseas and their family members. The VFW Lake Murray Post 6740 is located at 950 Rock N Creek Road next to Acapulco Landing in Leesville, and the building where they are currently housed was built in 1983 with about 40 to 50 members. Now, there are 220 comrade members and 127 auxiliary members.

The auxiliary offers a chance for veterans to come together and get to know each other and develop a family relationship, but it is so much more than that. A canteen is offered daily for members to come and enjoy a hearty meal. They have numerous fund-raisers throughout the year, as well as programs honoring veterans and their families.

The VFW Post 6740 holds programs annually on Memorial Day, POW Day, and Veterans Day. If a family member or a veteran is searching for information about medals achieved in a war, or information regarding a veteran’s status, etc., the auxiliary can assist in finding this information.

“A World War II veteran at Generations Assisted Living in Batesburg-Leesville had his purple heart stolen, and we are now working to replace that medal and have a ceremony for him at that time,” said Maxine Caughman, auxiliary president.

Mrs. Caughman lives on Lake Murray with her husband Bob, and she became president of the auxiliary in June this year. Prior to that, she served as junior and senior vice president over the last several years. Mrs. Caughman is retired from Lexington County, and her passion is to help homeless veterans.

Mrs. Graham is in her second year as Commander of the post and is the first female Commander of the post. She formerly worked for Ford Motor Company for 18 years and reconnected with family on Lake Murray, where she now resides with her husband Russ.  She served in the Army in Korea as a SP4 (Specialist 4), where she was a supply and administrative support for a logistics unit at Camp Red Cloud. After that, she was transferred to Washington, D.C., where she worked for the Criminal Investigations Division Command, relaying reports to the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding major crimes committed by or against Army personnel.

Their motto of the VFW is “still serving.” If anyone is interested in finding out how they can become a member of Lake Murray VFW Post, or to help in any way to support our veterans, contact Ginger at gingerheart@aol.com or Maxine at maxine.caughman@gmail.com.

Thank you to this great group of people who work hard at helping our veterans and thank you to all of our area veterans!