VFW efforts to renovate lodge continue to move forward

Posted January 22, 2020 at 9:35 am



The Veteran of Foreign Wars, or what is more commonly recognized by it’s acronym, VFW, has recently beefed up its membership in Albany and re-established its post ,and it all started with Post Commander Jason Warinner.

Warinner is a Kentucky State Police Officer by day and VFW Post 1096 Commander in his spare time, as well as a husband and father of three.

Warinner served in the Army from 1997 until 2004 in Iraq and Bosnia and Homeland Security at the Cincinnati Airport after 9/11.

“I came back in 2008, so I know Ron Myers has had it at least that long,” Warinner said. “He passed away in the spring of last year and in May I drove by and saw the door was kicked in.”

Warinner said he called Louisville, state headquarters for VFW, and asked about the local post.

“They told me to not worry about it, that they were going to shut the post down because it had been inactive for years,” Warinner said. “I asked them why are you shutting it down and they said because nobody wanted to join.”

Warinner said there were all kinds of people who would join the VFW in Albany, so he agreed to run the VFW Post 1096 and get it back up and running for 2019.

Since then, the VFW has been gaining ground in popularity with people in Albany and surrounding counties.

With Warinner being Post Commander, Travis Denney has been named Quarter Master, Trent Groce is the Senior Vice Commander, Matt Aaron is the Junior Vice Commander and Bob Sawyers is Chaplin within the post.

The first year, Warinner said the officers were kind of appointed because there were not members to vote in officers, but next year there will be an election.

Officers can stay in those positions as long as they want those positions according to Warinner.

The group has already raised enough money to pay old bills to get the electric and water turned back on in the VFW building, as well as make improvements to the building.

“We’ve got around 45 new members,” Warinner said. “I don’t know how they do their percentages, but right now we are at 135 percent on our membership. The closest one to us in the state is like 111 percent. We are blowing it out of the water right now.”

The purpose of the VFW is to provide support for the veterans and for the veterans to show support towards the community.

“Back when it was going good, there is some newspaper clippings of when they bought bulletproof vests for police departments or radios for police departments or stuff for the rescue squads … they would donate to the little league or youth stuff that was going on in town,” Warinner said. “I’m wanting to get the building put back together, so we can do fund-raisers to support other groups.”

One way the VFW can support themselves is by renting one of the newly finished rooms out for birthday parties or baby showers, bridal showers or whatever the occasion is. Warinner said the room is ready to rent and the cost is $50 to rent it for an event.

“People say ‘well that’s cheap.’ Yeah it is, but we want to be able to give back to the community and we want someone to come here if they can’t afford to go somewhere else and have a birthday party or wedding shower,” Warinner said. “We want to be able to help and be a positive influence.”

For the future, Warinner said he would love to have a place where he would be able to house a family for a night that might not have a place to stay.

“I’ve seen it done at Russell County and they have certain criteria, where if someone is displaced from their home they have somewhere they can go,” Warinner said. “I would like to kind of model it like theirs. I know the churches have a group now where they put in money to pay for hotel rooms. This would be something set up to where there is no bill, but we might be able to take donations to help with the upkeep and that sort of thing.”

Even though only veterans can be members of the VFW, Warinner said he is working on having an auxiliary group which will be made up of non-veteran members, which will be anyone else who would like to join.

“We have a few,” Warinner said. “Mostly it’s like spouses. Right now we have our meetings once a month. We do breakfast before the meeting. Once we get the big room done, because we have a kitchen in the big room, I want to have like an open breakfast once a month where veterans eat free and everyone else can come with a donation and have breakfast.”

One thing that is locally famous for the VFW is the baseball/softball field.

Over the years, there have been thousands of people utilizing that field either on the high school softball team or as a grown up playing softball, playing baseball on a travel team or soccer on a Sunday afternoon. In some ways the VFW Field is iconic in Albany with the Army tank sitting out front as a symbol for those who pass by.

Warinner said they are prepared to fix the fence and get it ready for spring.

“We are waiting for Tyler Reneau to cut the posts level so we can get the fence back up,” Warinner said. “We have a couple travel girls softball teams wanting to use it as their home field next year.”

Warinner said he is all about having those type groups use the field throughout the year. He said he didn’t plan on charging the teams for using the fields, but did want to open the concessions in order to pay for the electricity used during night games and so forth.

“Everybody is excited about it,” Warinner said. “Especially a lot of these older guys and gals who used to play softball over there. A lot of people who had fond memories of it are excited about it. We’ve had a lot of people donate to it who surprised me. Hopefully we can do some type of throw-back game for those who used to play over there … have a tournament or a game one night.”

When Warinner began to put the VFW back together, he had it his mind for it to be a family oriented atmosphere.

“One thing we voted on was a no alcohol policy,” Warinner. “My kids are over there all the time … some of the other guys kids are over there all the time. I want it to be family oriented and to be a positive influence in the community.”

If any one wants to donate to the VFW Post 1096, you can send money to Post Office Box 246.

At right, VFW Post 1096 Commander Jason Warinner measured metal sheets to be cut to go onto the walls of one of the rooms being renovated at the VFW Hall. Warinner, along with several members of the VFW post, have been working to restore the hall in recent months.

Above, Fred Tobin, Travis Denney and Austin Cecil worked on putting paneling up around the top of the larger dining room last Tuesday night.