I had set out to tell readers about the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Patriot Pen and Voices of Democracy. But when I found that VFW Rocket Port in Rockledge approaches it with such enthusiasm, I decided to find out more.

Well, it appears that post members and auxiliary members approach other community projects in the same way. They seem to go

all out.

During the past year-end holidays, they raised more than $20,000 and presented $50 in gift certificates to each of 82 families with children in a hospital in the Orlando area. In addition, they replaced toys in all the play areas of an AdventHealth hospital. All this was to carry out the wishes of a 4-year-old child of a member who was in the hospital after losing a leg to cancer.

The child, whose parents are active in the post, wanted all the children in the hospital to get toys for Christmas. Post members found out about the request, went to work and made it happen.

“We teamed up with the parents,” Rocket Post Commander Dennis Thompson said.

The post had a spaghetti dinner and sold 144 plates. In addition, members donated to the cause and were able to raise more than the

set goal.

Thompson, who retired from the Air Force in 1995 and last June from his civilian job, said he now has more time to dedicate to such causes. He said members pitch in and do what they can for other members and families.

The Patriot Pen and Voices of Democracy scholarship program is one way that members get involved. In the program, students compete in writing patriotic themed essays.

In recent years, VFWs and similar veterans’ organizations have been doing all they can to attract young veterans, many of whom are interested in serving the community.

“A lot of the younger veterans don’t know that we are much more than a bar or canteen,” Thompson said.

Members said that they do much to support the military, their families and the community.

VFW Rocket Post 4534 is at 3250 U.S. 1 in Rockledge. See vfw4534.org