National VFW commander visits FFPublished 11:21am Thursday, May 29, 2014
During his visit to Fergus Falls on Wednesday, VFW Commander-in-Chief Bill Thien stressed the importance of increasing membership while praising VFW volunteers for the work they do in the community.
Thien visited Post 612 as part of a national tour of VFW posts he has been on the last two months. Wednesday was the second day of a planned four-day stop in Minnesota, during which he will visit 18 or 19 posts.
Post 612 Commander Rod Berg said Thien’s visit energized some members of the post.
“This is really a special occasion for us,” Berg said. “I have never experienced the visitation of a national commander, so it’s special to me and special to the post.”
A crowd of about 20, including VFW members, community representatives and politicians, attended Thien’s speech. Thien spoke for about 20 minutes, focusing primarily on the work the VFW does for veterans, their families and the community at large.
For Thien, these visits are a welcome change from the near-constant parade of hotels and airports he spends time in throughout the year.
“I think it is important for the national leaders of the organization to get down to the post level where the rubber meets the road and where the good community service work gets done,” Thien said.
Thien, who served in the United States Navy from 1969-1974 and spent another five years with the Indiana National Guard, was elected VFW commander-in-chief in July 2013. During his time in the role, Thien has focused on making more people aware of the VFW’s work on a national scale.
“The best advertisement for this organization is what you do in your local community,” Thien told the crowd.
Thien’s visit to Post 612 was his 105th stop on his spring tour. He has been in five states on the tour.
VFW members presented Thien with a few gifts, including a bag of homemade cookies and a VFW T-shirt.