New Veterans of Foreign Wars post ushers in a fresh era


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The Brevard Veterans Memorial Center is located at 400 S. Sykes Creek Pkwy. on Merritt Island.

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Merritt Island’s new VFW Post 12167 marks a fresh chapter in the history of the largest and oldest war veterans’ service organization, an institution that since 1899 has welcomed soldiers, sailors, Marines, guardsmen and airmen into its fold.

The first post to open in Florida in eight years, Post 12167 has been designed as a family-friendly “Island Post” that is smoke, bar and canteen-free. Located at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center on Merritt Island, the post officially opened at noon on Jan. 27, the same time and day when the Vietnam Peace Accords were signed
in 1973.

“The Veterans Center was a target-rich environment for a new post,” said Don Pearsall, district commander for the VFW’s District 8, which encompasses 13 posts in Brevard and Osceola counties.

“This post is really unique.”

The area was ripe for a new post.

“We had a post here that closed in 1998 and the closest other post is in Cape Canaveral,” explained Pearsall.

In addition to its family-friendly atmosphere and enviable location overlooking the water, Post 12167 also boasts more women members than any other post in the district. At 47 to 50 years for the average age of its members, the post additionally has significantly younger demographics than traditional VFW posts.

Post 12167 is a direct response to VFW commander-in-chief Keith Marman’s interest in a change of direction from the stereotype of smoke and drink-filled VFW posts populated primarily by old men.

“He saw the need to get younger people involved,” Pearsall added.

Post commander and Veterans Memorial Center manager Bob Doyle plans a full schedule of activities to keep both young and old members involved.

“We will be hosting everything from barbecues to game days,” Doyle said.

“The Center is in a very special location that allows members of the post to also enjoy activities such as fishing and kayaking.”

The Post’s Auxiliary arm welcomes both spouses and teen children 16 and older.

The Veterans Center Museum showcases military artifacts from the Revolutionary War to current conflicts. The facility also hosts special events such as the Florida Key Lime Pie Festival and serves as a site for a variety of programs, including bridge sessions and Zumba lessons.

“We also have 18 different service offices ready to serve veterans all the time,” Doyle said.

With the extensive resources of the Veterans Center at their disposal, Post 12167 members will probably make the new post their home away from home. There certainly is plenty to do for everyone in the family.

Post 12167 is located at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center at 400 S. Sykes Creek Pkwy. on Merritt Island. For more information, call 321-453-1776 or go to veteransmemorialcenter.org.