VFW in Albemarle back open with new commander

After being suspended by the Department of North Carolina Veterans of Foreign Wars for around 90 days, VFW Post 2908 in Albemarle is back open with a new commander.

The post and canteen opened Oct. 25. Jon Bowlby is overseeing it.

State Commander Helen Nelson confirmed Nov. 9 that the post had reopened. Nelson would not discuss what the internal investigation into the Post was about, only that the former commander was reprimanded and suspended.

Bowlby, who joined the VFW in Albemarle in 2011, is a four-year veteran of the Marines who was deployed during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-1991.

He said he joined the VFW because he “wanted to see what I could do to help veterans.”

He said his goals as commander are to be more visible in the community and upgrade the conditions of the Post.

“You will see us a lot more out in the community. You will see us a little more involved in the community and events downtown,” Bowlby said, adding that “we’re going to bring [the canteen] out of the 1970s.”

“We just want to make the Post a better place for their members and their friends,” he added.

The Post has more than 100 members, but it can always use more, Bowlby said.

“The VFW is unique. In order to be a member of the VFW you have to have been in a theatre of operation,” he said, adding members have to have “a campaign medal or be able to prove you were in a combat zone.”

Bowlby wants to have the VFW canteen open more on the weekends as well, for events such as football on Sunday afternoons and “Monday Night Football.”

Bowlby encouraged veterans who feel they may qualify for membership to visit www.vfwnc.com to fill out an application form, or visit the VFW, at 119 Anderson Road, for information. Call 704-982-6383.

“If you’re a veteran in need, reach out to us. We’d be happy to help you,” he said.

For the remainder of November, the following activities are planned for VFW Post 2908:

• a fundraiser pool tournament will be at 7:30 p.m. each Friday. Proceeds go for the Relief Fund to help veterans in need. Cost is $10 per player, with $3 of it going to the Relief Fund;

• Bingo at 6 p.m. each Tuesday; and

• Karaoke with Kelly Lowder each Saturday night in November.
VFW Post 2908 will be closed Nov. 23 for Thanksgiving.

The public is invited to all events.