Veterans of Foreign Wars, Clay Post 3061 recently underwent a change in leadership which reflects a change in the age of eligible members. Since Desert Storm and now the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a new generation of war veterans has become eligible for membership in the VFW.
On April 17, after 18 years as post quartermaster, Leonard Bottolfson decided it was time to turn the job over to Andy Howe, who has been post commander for the past five years. Mike Mehlbrech of Vermillion, was then elected post commander to replace Howe in that position. Commander Mehlbrech is a veteran of Iraq, serving there in 2004-2005. He represents the newest of the eligible veterans and now brings his relative youth and enthusiasm home to work for the local post and community.
"Many of the younger returning veterans have held a mistaken assumption that the VFW consists of older veterans who oppose any change. That's not true at all. They are very interested in new ideas and in turning over leadership roles to these bright young veterans," says Howe.
The VFW has seen a decline in numbers over the past several years, which is an issue Mehlbrech plans to address. "The VFW is excited about welcoming the returning veterans into our organization. It is time for us to take the reins to ensure that the VFW can continue to serve our community and our veterans for many years to come," says Mehlbrech. Mike Mehlbrech is 30 years old, resides north of Vermillion, and is employed as a deputy sheriff in the Clay County Sheriff's Office.