For the first time in its 83-year history, the Grover King VFW Post 1115 has a female Post Commander.
Sandra Terry, a 27-year veteran of the Hillsville VFW, officially took over as the post’s Commander on June 16. An Army veteran, Terry served with the 424th Transportation Company out of Galax and was deployed from November 1990 to July 1991 during the Desert Storm conflict. Terry has been a member of the VFW since 1991. Over time, she said she has worked hard at the post to gain the trust of the male members.
“They have to know that you are here because you want to be here for the VFW and that you want to see it keep going. And I am honored they think I am worthy of a being commander here,” Terry said. “I don’t know what to think about the historical part. I just hope I make everybody proud and I hope this gives a lot of the ladies reason to start coming to the meetings down here and to see that the guys here are willing to let women take part in anything. In fact, they encourage the women. If they see a woman veteran, they let them know they would appreciate it if they would come because we need their insight just as much as we do the men’s insight.”
Terry was elected Commander during the Post’s April meeting. She was installed in May, but did not officially take office until Saturday, concurrent with the election and installation of the new state commander at the State Convention in Portsmouth. In addition to her new duties as Post Commander, Terry also serves as Grover King’s Flea Market Manager and building manager.
“It is kind of historical but we have some women members, they are just not active in here. We have had some come and then they stopped coming and I know it is because of jobs. It is hard for the women when they are trying to work their jobs, they are trying to raise their family and it is hard to do a lot of things down here,” Terry said. “But we want everyone to know new members are always welcomed here. The younger ones, there is a big gap. I feel like there is a big gap between the Korean War and World War I and World War II and then from the end of Vietnam you have a gap because of the age differences now. A lot of those in my generation are still not ready to retire, but they are getting closer. I am hoping when my generation gets retired to spend more time here, we can get some of the younger ones here.”
Terry said she tries to let new members and prospective members know they don’t have to spend all their free time at the Hillsville VFW. She encourages them to just come whenever they have a chance and feel like they want to help out.
“That is what I want the young ones to understand. This is their post just as much as it is anybody’s,” Terry said. “When they get a chance, just come down here and sit with these guys in the morning on their coffee breaks. If they come out and talk to these guys like that, this is where your trust starts. That is basically how I got started. It is something that comes over time and just showing them you are willing to help out. You come down here and help them out and they put their trust in you.”
Current Grover King VFW Post Adjutant Donald Trausneck said Terry’s father, Donnie, was one of the friendliest and most dedicated members the post has ever had. It was he who helped Sandra get her start in the VFW, and the two went on to become Grover King’s first ever father-daughter combination on the post’s funeral detail.
“Just come by and talk to us. If they have questions, somebody is here that can answer them,” Terry said of prospective members. “We can explain if they have questions about their memberships. We have got a new thing now that if you want to do a life membership, you don’t have to pay it all at one time. They have installments now and that kind of helps out some of the younger people because that is a lot of money. They can ask questions and found out what it does to benefit them, being part of the VFW. We try to keep our doors open for anybody that has questions.”
Terry said she would love it if more females came out to help on the post’s funeral detail. She is currently the only female member involved with funerals.
“I just hope this encourages more of the females to join our VFW and to let them know they are welcome down here and they do appreciate our insights on things,” she said. “We just need the younger ones to kind of step in. These guys know we need their input and what we need to get going with this membership. Maybe some of the younger ones have some insight of what they need us to get. We would like to have some more kid-friendly things to bring down here. That is what we are looking for too, to see if we can get some of the younger ones down here.”
Other officers elected for VFW Post 1115 were Howard Minton as Senior Vice Commander, Scott Lasorso as Junior Vice Commander, Roger Nietzke as Chaplain (incumbent), Gary Adams as Quartermaster (incumbent) and Oscar Hall as three-year Trustee. Donald Trausneck was re-appointed as Post Adjutant.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN