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Villa Park VFW Members Meet at The Odeum

Over 100 members of the VFW Post 2801 in Villa Park met at the ODEUM on Monday night to hear first hand the status of and plans for their Post. The day after a Memorial Day ceremony a fire broke out in the VFW firing range. Over a dozen people were injured and all have since returned home. But the future of the VFW Post was on the minds of the members. For many, the VFW is a second home and the loss of access to the Post is troubling. One World War II Veteran who was in the Post during the fire returned that night after being released from the hospital. He stood outside the post asking “What am I going to do now?” He was expressing a sense of concern in losing the Post members' friendship and comfort that he has enjoyed for decades.

The VFW Commander Dennis Geiseman called the meeting so that he could provide specific details about the status of the Post and if it will return to operation soon. But what many of the VFW members wanted to know were the details. Some asked about mementos that were inside the Post at the time of the fire. Others were concerned about events that were scheduled including wedding receptions and meetings of groups associated with the Post. And several people asked about those that were injured – some severely by burns. All of the answers were positive. The Post will survive and so will all of the groups and activities with help from the Odeum, Villa Park Office Supply, the Village of Villa Park and others.

“We are military.” Dennis told VFW members. “We will continue.” Many applauded when told of the work done so far to restore their VFW Post. Terry Mullen, who serves as the VFW Post Chaplain, spoke about the relief fund set up at West Suburban Bank. He explained that several people had offered money to help the post get back to normal. He even explained that he had a check in his pocket from his own mother.

Although the Friday Night Fish Fry will be on hold, the status of Bingo night is being worked on so that it can continue. The use of an alternative gun range is under evaluation. But the Independence Day Parade will definitely go on as planned for the 4th of July in Villa Park. “It is an important community event and we will have the parade.”, Commander Geiseman said.

Another status update is scheduled for this week to be broadcast on the Villa Park cable channel. The general public can hear details about the future of the Post. Details about the the broadcast schedule of the interview will be available after it is recorded.

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