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East County Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2018 3 months ago

VFW offers flame-broiled thanks

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VFW serves firemen lunch in appreciation of being allowed to use their facility.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Armed with tongs, Lakewood Ranch resident Ernie Freedman moved a batch of hot dogs across the grill, sending a foot-high flame into the air.

He didn’t need to worry.

He was, after all, at a fire station.

Freedman, a Vietnam veteran who is chaplain for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12055, cooked hot dogs, chicken and hamburgers Feb. 28 for the East Manatee Fire Rescue District at Station 1. The lunch was to say thanks.

The VFW has used the facility for its monthly meetings at no cost for the past year after being displaced from the American Red Cross building.

Freedman and another VFW member, East County’s Charlie Busack, handled the grill master duties.

VFW Post 20155 is the only post in its district that has no permanent building. Chuck Daughtrey, the post commander, said instead of having overhead expenses, members donate 100% of the money raised by the post to helping veterans.

The VFW Post has about 140 members, of which about 40 regularly attend meetings.

East Manatee Fire Rescue Chief Lee Whitehurst said the VFW post uses a closet to store flags and other meeting-related supplies and cleans up after meetings. He and other staff members hardly know the post uses the facility.

“It’s easy for us,” Whitehurst said. “We have several veterans in our department. As much as we serve the community, so do they.”

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