Veterans Corner: Local organizations serve veterans, help them serve community

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2024

By Tom Mastaglio

Contributing writer

It’s a new year. We hope 2024 is healthy and prosperous for all of our veterans. This month, we want to provide you with information on giving back and contributing to your communities.

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There are veterans-focused organizations that provide benefits to members, but just as importantly, offer you the opportunity to volunteer to help all veterans and to support your local communities.  

If you are not a member of one of these, please consider joining, as dues are usually nominal ($50 or less per year) and include periodic publications with relevant information. 

Get involved and help make a difference.

In Smithfield, American Legion Post 49 owns and maintains a facility on South Church Street. The post meets on the first Tuesday of each month and has a fellowship coffee from 8-10 a.m. every at the post.  

On the the last Monday of the month, we have a fellowship breakfast for members and spouses. The post organizes the Smithfield Memorial Day ceremony, places flags on graves of Isle of Wight veterans, works with JROTC, sponsors local youth to attend Boys and Girls State, recognizes Vietnam veterans with an annual dinner, hosts hospitalized veterans annually in February, conducts flag retirement ceremonies and participates in community events such as parades and school veterans’ recognition programs. 

The Post hosts a Thursday weekly community bingo game.  Through its auxiliary, hospitalized veterans get visited and cards on holidays. Toys for tots are collected each year. Additionally, meals are provided to needy families on holidays. 

For more on the post, visit or our Facebook page at Post49SmithfieldVa.

Smithfield VFW Post 8545 maintains a physical Post at 223 Washington St..  Current and former military who have served in overseas conflicts are eligible to join.

The VFW provides camaraderie with fellow veterans. The post supports the VFW national mission to advocate on behalf of all veterans to ensure they are respected and receive earned entitlements. They sponsor programs to promote patriotism, honor service, serve the community and look after veterans and families.  

zPost members meet on the second Wednesday of each month. A monthly breakfast is open to the community the last Saturday of each month, January through October.  

Other local activities include posting the flags throughout Smithfield you see every holiday, supporting Smithfield Events Fests, presenting the national colors in local parades, organizing the Smithfield Veterans Day event, and hosting social gatherings for members.  

The VFW is the only Veterans Service Organization with an Accredited Veterans Service Officer who can assist Virginia veterans, especially those in Smithfield and surrounding localities. For more information about membership call 757-542-5785.  For help regarding Benefits, 757-775-2903.

Eligible veterans can join Suffolk-based Chapter 5 of the Disabled American Veterans.  The DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity by ensuring they and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them. They represent the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill and educate the public about the sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. For more information call 757-934-2695 or visit

Active and former military service officers can join the Millitary Officers Association of America. The closest chapter is located in Chesapeake.  

MOAA is a congressionally-chartered advocate for a strong national defense, is an active proponent for military personnel matters and is an advocate for  legislation affecting the career force, the retired community and veterans of the uniformed services. It is permitted by law to lobby government officials.

MOAA offers scholarships and loans to those in need and organizes community programs to aid veterans and enhance the public image of the U.S.  Armed Forces. 

To join visit For local chapter information, call 757-406-2949 or email

A great opportunity to give back is the onsite Honor Guard Corps being established at the Albert G. Horton Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk. You can help honor fellow veterans when they are interned there. For information on joining visit

As always your comments and suggestions for future content are welcome.  Email either one of us your thoughts please.

Tom Mastaglio serves as media and publicity coordinator for American Legion Post 49, located at 818 South Church St. in Smithfield. VFW Post 8545’s service officer Laurie Clay assists with the monthly column.

Editor’s note: Correction made to byline to list Tom Mastaglio as contributing writer. Additionally, credit for Laurie Clay added at end of article information paragraph.