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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Austin HornbostelMoniteau County’s VFW post #4345 celebrated a milestone anniversary last Thursday evening, recognizing its 75th anniversary, along with the recent Veterans Day holiday, with an event at the post headquarters. Students Shaye Siegel, left center, and Camryn Schlup, right center, were the recipients of scholarship awards at the event, presented to them by post quartermaster Tom Winters, far left, and post commander Jim Hamilton, far right.

Moniteau County's Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post #4345 celebrated a milestone anniversary last Thursday evening — the post's 75th anniversary.

The post invited the community to come out and celebrate its storied history with them Nov. 12, the day after Veterans Day, at its headquarters in California. Special recognitions in honor of the anniversary were on display for attendees; the post received a Diamond Jubilee Award from Harold "Hal" Roesch, II, the commander-in-chief of the United States VFW, honoring the milestone and a certificate of recognition for its commitment to veterans and military support programs, also on behalf of the United States VFW.

Post commander Jim Hamilton said while there were not as many people as they might have liked present at last week's event, the evening was still a good celebration for the post.

"And we definitely understand, as well, with the (coronavirus) people are nervous to get out, so we understand that," post quartermaster Tom Winters said.

Hamilton said Moniteau County's post is one of two posts in its district, along with Linn's, that celebrated a 75th anniversary this year. He said it was good to receive the commendation from the VFW commander-in-chief, and hopefully even further milestones will be reached moving forward.

"Hopefully, we can stay a few more years," Hamilton said.

Winters said the post's official anniversary is Dec. 2, but the milestone lined up very nicely with celebrating Veterans Day this year, prompting the joint celebration last week.

Both men are lifetime VFW members. Hamilton has been involved with the post in Moniteau County for one-third of its history, and Winters has been a fixture since he transferred to the area from Colorado about four years ago.

Looking ahead to the next 75 years in the post's history, Winters said it starts with the younger generation, such as those who have returned from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, stepping up and getting involved.

"If we want to continue on, we're going to have to get some younger members," Winters said.

Winters said if any veterans in the area are in need, the VFW can help. They don't need to be a member of the post; they simply need to let the post know and it will assist them.

The Moniteau County VFW post meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the post headquarters at 204 E. North St. in California. For more information, visit the post's website at vfw4345.org/di/vfw/v2/default.asp. Those who are interested in learning more about the post can also contact Hamilton at 573-796-2475 or Winters at 719-660-9012.

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