By Michael P. Mauer
West Mifflin’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 Intrepid was awarded the title of All-American Post at the VFW National Convention held this past July in Charlotte, NC. The post received its official citation in the mail this month. It is one of eight posts in Pennsylvania to be accredited with the VFW’s highest award.
“This is a fantastic honor for the post and our community,” said VFW Post 914 Commander Jake Bradich, who now wears a red, white and blue hat symbolic of the unit’s achievement. “By winning this award, we are showing that not only is our post behind supporting our veterans, but the borough of West Mifflin is square in our court as well.”
To be selected as an All-American post, the West Mifflin unit had to excel at membership growth, support VFW student scholarships, conduct a veterans’ hospital visitation program, and fundraise to assist the VFW’s network of service officers. It also had to qualify as an All-State post – an achievement VFW 914 did for the second straight year this past May.
“We support all of the VFW’s programs, but the key to our success is the community supporting us as well as all the veterans here,” said Bradich. “The borough has its veterans’ banner program and helps tremendously with our Memorial Day services at Mitchell Paige Memorial Park. And our school district has always been there to support both our VFW Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen scholarships, as well as the post’s Walt Kuczma Scholarship Program.”
Bradich also cited the work done this past year by VFW 914 Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy chairman, Gary Ruston, as instrumental in promoting the organization’s scholarship programs. In all, VFW Post 914 received 34 entries for this year’s VOD competition and six for the Patriot’s Pen. The year’s total of 40 entrants for both youth scholarship programs is a record for the post.
“We were incredibly pleased with the big turnout for the scholarship programs and glad that it helped contribute to the post winning All-American status,” said Ruston, who also serves as the unit’s quartermaster. “The support we have always received from the teachers and administrators at the schools is tremendous.”
Other community groups that the post has supported over the years include youth sports programs, Scouting, the West Mifflin Area Senior High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, and the Greater Pittsburgh Soapbox Derby.
In addition to the commander’s new hat and certificate, VFW Post 914 received a name badge, a lapel pin and a red, white and blue All-American Post streamer to hang on its unit flag. According to Bradich, the credit for earning this hardware belongs to the post membership and the community – not to him.
“I’m just the lucky guy that gets to hold it for our borough and our post,” he said.
For more information about VFW Post 914 and its activities, contact Commander Bradich at: 412-464-9838.