NARRAGANSETT – The town council on Monday unanimously approved a $10,000 allocation to VFW Post 916 in Wakefield, noting military veterans from Narragansett who utilize the facility. Narragansett does not currently have an active VFW post. VFW Post 916 representative Ron Gilchrist was in attendance Monday and spoke to the benefits of a space where veterans can gather for fellowship.
“We’ve had an existence there for many years,” he said. “We’ve had ebbs and flows as time has gone on, peaks and valleys. But in the last several years, our post has faced a great increase not only in membership but in ability to service the members that we have.”
VFW Post 916, located at 155 High St., in Wakefield, services veterans from all over South County, including South Kingstown, Narragansett, Kingston, Richmond and Charlestown, connecting veterans with social and government services, providing a social setting for veterans, organizing clothing drives for veterans in nursing homes and assisting in local parades. Three of the post’s leadership team members are residents of Narragansett and the post regularly opens its doors to other veterans service groups, including the American Legion and the Vietnam Veterans of America, that lack a meeting place.
“We try to touch a veteran’s life every single day,” said Gilchrist. “99 percent of the days, we are successful. We opened our building so they will have a place to come, be able to meet and be with other veterans, which is very important. Most of us feel most comfortable with our brothers and sisters in service.”
The post has also worked with local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.
The building housing VFW Post 916 is currently undergoing a reconstruction project that will make the space more accessible for those with physical disabilities, which afflict many veterans, by adding new ramps, a stairlift and new, ADA-accessible bathrooms.
“In many cases, veterans, being veterans, are helping each other get up the stairs,” said Gilchrist.
While many local businesses donate time, products and services to the building, it is still in need of upkeep, and general operations require monies not fully provided by local municipalities.
“We are a vital part of the community,” concluded Gilchrist. “We participate, we’re here and we’re working every day to make sure that those who have served the country are recognized and assisted.”
Gilchrist received loud applause from the council audience for his comments. After, the town council approved the $10,000 allocation by unanimous vote.