Gretna’s Charles C. Nefsky VFW Post 10725 recently obtained $1,000 in VFW #StillServing Community Support Grants from the national VFW organization.
The grants are designed to aid VFW Posts and Auxiliaries with projects that support, enrich and give back to their communities, including donations to nonprofits located within 25 miles of the Post. The mission of the recipient organization does not need to be military or veteran-related so long as they serve the community.
This year, Post 10725 used its grant funds to make donations to the Avenue of Flags program, the Gretna Fire Museum and Matt’s Music Memorial, all local nonprofits with veteran ties.
On Memorial Day, the Avenue of Flags is displayed in Peterson Park to remember area veterans who have died. There were 257 flags on display in 2021.
In 2022, six flags — hopefully more — will be added, said Loren Foged, who oversees the program for the program for the Legion.
The Legion currently has no more poles to hang the flag in its inventory. Grant funds will help purchase poles and accompanying hardware for 2022 and potentially 2023.
“The donation from the VFW will be instrumental, it will be critical to that,” Foged said. “I really appreciate the VFW’s time, effort and their donation.”
The Gretna Fire Museum is currently under construction at the old garage on Angus Road, situated between the apartment building and St. Patrick Catholic Church. With a special focus on preserving Gretna Volunteer Fire Department history, the museum will also incorporate city history in its displays.
The grant will likely be used to purchase displays for the museum. If not displays, cases and furniture-type things are the current need, said Dave Harrig, a local volunteer firefighter who is spearheading the museum project.
“This was the first grant from an organization that we’ve gotten,” Harrig said. “We haven’t done much searching for grants and donations yet. As far as the museum goes, we’ve been super busy with getting everything ready for opening. It’s much appreciated.”
The museum is currently under construction and has seen delays, like many construction projects in the area. Hopes are to open in mid- to late spring, Harrig said.
Matt’s Music Memorial works with local schools and parents to loan new and refurbished instruments to students who want to learn to play but would otherwise not have the opportunity. The nonprofit was started in honor of Army Cpl. Matthew Lee Alexander after his death in Baqubah, Iraq on May 6, 2007. Alexander had a passion for music.
“They’re a Gold Star family and one of our own and we wanted to recognize that,” said Post Quartermaster Dave Dietze. “We love that it helps the kids in high school who want to play.”
Kara Alexander, board president for Matt’s Music Memorial and Matthew’s widow, said the grant funds will help fix about 11 instruments for students.
“It’s always nice to work with other local organizations,” she said. “We want to have good rapport with the veterans organizations in our community. Matt’s Music Memorial works with kids, but Matt was a veteran and to work with other veterans organizations is important to us. That they thought of us is an honor in and of itself.”
Last year, the VFW donated its grant funds to the Gretna Volunteer Fire Department and the local Boy Scouts.
Dietze said the VFW plans to apply for the grant funds every year.
“The biggest issue is there are so many deserving nonprofits,” he said. “We want to spread the money around a little bit.”