MI VFW Post creates veteran memorial

The memorial at Patriots Plaza will have a dedication ceremony in September.

The Mercer Island Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5760 recently accomplished a goal that has been more than five years in the making: a plaque to commemorate fallen Vietnam War veterans.

The VFW includes more than 2 million members in more than 8,000 community Posts worldwide. VFW Post 5760 was founded in March 1948 with the mission to be individual and collective advocates for all Veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States and their families, while serving to advance public understanding of and support for issues of critical importance to include sustaining national defense, advancing American ideals, and fostering patriotism and pride in the country.

VFW Post 5760 has resided at the Keewaydin Clubhouse in Mercer Island since 1966. Since acquiring the Clubhouse in 1966, VFW Post 5760 has rented the building to many members of the community, with the rental proceeds going to support veterans’ relief causes, both locally and nationally.

Rental revenues cover monthly operating and maintenance expenses of the building, however, members of Post 5760 wanted to augment their rental income by making their post clubhouse an even more attractive rental facility for individuals and groups by improving the building and grounds.

VFW Post 5760 restored the clubhouse exterior with funds raised at a community auction — Operation Restoration 2011 — held in October 2011.

A second fundraiser, launched in 2013, has sold m0re than 400 personalized, engraved pavers to create the “Patriots Plaza” at the VFW clubhouse to honor veterans of the past and present as well as to support VFW Post 5760. The campaign raised more than $65,000 and allowed the post to build the plaza, provide outdoor lighting and implement landscaping that compliments the refurbished clubhouse.

Members of the community can still add their names to the new memorial or honor a family member by purchasing a personalized engraved brick for $150.

Frank Sorba, the VFW Post 5760 post commander, said it was always their intention to create a memorial for Mercer Island Veterans who died during the Vietnam War at Patriots Plaza.

“We left a spot in front of the flags for the memorial,” Sorba said. “It was something we knew we wanted to do, but it’s expensive to make.”

Sorba said the members also encountered challenges when trying to get the names of the fallen veterans. He said he and other members researched for Mercer Island veterans but could only find those who served during the Vietnam War.

The final plaque with 16 names is complete. Sorba said there will be a formal dedication ceremony in September.

Sorba said finishing the plaque has been meaningful to the post members.

“We now have the satisfaction that these men are honored,” he said. “They paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

Pavers can be purchased by contacting the VFW at www.vfwmercerisland.org.

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