Post maintains exceptional relationship with unit.


Vietnam Veteran Robert Swartley joined VFW Post 9430 in Seattle, Wash., 25 years ago and has served as Post Commander for the last six.

“I was recruited by the Post members,” said Swartley. “I was drawn to the other veterans who shared my beliefs about my country and my desire to help enlisted military.”

As Commander, Swartley has dedicated himself to one unit in particular, HHB 17th Fires Brigade. Chad Hassebroek, a retired member of the unit and Post member, helped form the partnership, which resulted in Post 9430 adopting the unit and all 250 of its soldiers.

In August 2011, the Post held its first event for the unit, a barbeque funded by VFW Military Assistance Program. More than 125 unit members and their families attended. Four months later, the post hosted a Christmas party for more than 200.

“We have about 40 active Post and Auxiliary members who help with the events,” said Swartley. “They make it all possible.”

Swartley is always touched by how grateful the attendees are.

“They are just so humble and appreciative. They say ‘thank you’ numerous times, and they really look forward to the next event,” said Swartley.

But it’s not all about events. Last year, the Post put together Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for the families of the unit. And, through their Operation Heroes Holiday Program, the Post purchased Mariners baseball and hockey tickets for the families.

“I feel extremely fortunate to be involved with this unit,” said Swartley. “Our Post is their family away from home and they know they can come to us when they need a helping hand.”

Swartley recently received a certificate from VFW National Military Services for his exceptional work with the unit. When asked how he does it, Swartley is humble.

“Communication is everything,” said Swartley. “Chad and Emma Gavino, the Vice President of the Ladies Auxiliary, visit the families every week, and they keep us informed.

“We also send our Post newsletter to the unit to keep them up-to-date on events and functions.”

As for other Posts that have adopted a unit, Swartley offers words of encouragement.

“Your Post’s help is always appreciated, no matter how big or small. It’s a great way to let our military and their families know that we care,” Swartley concluded.

Read more VFW success stories.



All active news articles