Two new leaders will serve the West Fargo VFW after the post hosted the 2019 VFW State Convention over the weekend.
Although the West Fargo post has hosted the annual convention before, it was the first time the members were able to show off the new location at 444 Sheyenne St. to state and national VFW members, including Debra Anderson, the national VFW quartermaster general.
Anderson, a 13-year Army veteran, is the first female to hold the post of VFW quartermaster general, which serves as the chief financial officer for the VFW.
About 200 VFW members and officers attended the annual convention Thursday, June 6, through Saturday, June 9, said newly elected West Fargo Post Commander Craig Johnson.
“It was nice to show off our community and our new building,” Johnson said. “It went well. There were lots of positive comments and it created some excitement about a growing VFW.”
Members of West Fargo VFW Post 7564 overwhelmingly approved the post move in June 2016. The VFW also helped build the West Fargo POW/MIA Plaza next door, by pledging $300,000 to the $800,000 outdoor venue. The city of West Fargo and developer Todd Berning picked up the remaining costs.
VFW members are military veterans and their families who have served in wars, campaigns and expeditions on foreign soil or in hostile waters. The VFW helps provide a place for camaraderie and works to fill the needs of veterans and their families from fundraising to helping with compensation and pension claims, employment and lobbying for legislative matters.
Johnson said the VFW plans to continue its mission of serving veterans.
“Our country has been in a conflict for 18 years and the demands for serving soldiers has increased, their needs have increased,” Johnson said. “We hope to refocus our attention to serving the veterans first and taking care of some of those needs our state and federal government seems to fail to fulfill.”
Johnson was elected as Arthur W. Jones VFW Post 7564 commander and Bonnie Kupperion was elected Auxiliary president after the convention.
Johnson, who follows former Commander Brad Reed, will serve his second term as a commander.
Johnson served in the U.S. Army as a tank /heavy armor crewman and with the Second Infantry Division in Korea. He later served with the First Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas, where has was honorably discharged in July of 1982. Johnson is employed by Crary Industries in West Fargo as a purchasing agent.
Kupperion recently retired from Cash Wise Foods in Moorhead after 26 years and has been an active VFW member for many years and recently served as senior vice president. She became involved in honor of her father, Robert Krogen, a Korean War veteran who earned two Purple Hearts.
The Auxiliary also helps in fundraising efforts and makes regular visits to the VA Hospital in Fargo and the retirement home in Lisbon, N.D., as well as making sure homeless veterans are taken care of.
"We do a lot for the community and our veterans," Kupperion said.
Serving with Post Commander Johnson are line officers: Senior Vice Commander Mark Paler, Junior Vice Commander Scott Kaufman, Quartermaster Chris Rolph, Adjutant James Markey, Chaplain Wayne Wermager, Judge Advocate Bill Tuff, and Surgeon Wayne Casebeer. House Committee members are: Bill Tuff, Lucan Moran, Russ Foster and Richard Belling. Trustees are: Dale Ronning, Don Faith and Brad Reed.
Auxiliary officers include: Sr. Vice President Myra Taylor, Jr. Vice President Marlys Roney, Chaplain Connie Marier, Treasurer Joyce Weible, Guard Jess Nelson and Conductress Norma Olson.