Norwalk VFW has long history

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:08 PM


The Veterans of Foreign War Post 2743 celebrates 76 years of existence in 2008.

"It was located on Seminary Street, right around where the bowling alley is now," said Bob Timman, the judge advocate for the last decade.

The fraternal organization has grown from about 40 members in 1932 to its present 925. U.S. citizens who have had honorable service in the armed forces and have been involved in overseas service "in foreign conflict" are eligible to join the VFW, according to vfw.org.

Local VFW records indicate 38 people have been members for 60 years or more. There are 129 people who have been members for 35 years.

Timman said a few World War I veterans from the Norwalk area who fought the Germans in Europe were the founding members.

In 1932, about a dozen veterans met in the garage at what is now Kenilee Lanes and Pro Shop. The VFW at one point was located on the southwest corner of Main and Prospect streets.

"We had the second and third floors up there," Timman said.

He recalled a Christmas party when he was in the sixth grade, about 1934 or 1935.

"They blindfolded us kids," Timman said, for a game of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey."

From the late 1930s through the 1940s, the VFW hosted bingo games every Saturday night.

"People would walk up three floors to play bingo. That was one of the main things at the club," Timman recalled.

Sometime in the 1940s, the women's auxiliary was formed with about 30 members. The group now has about 420 members.

"They help us out on a lot of projects," Timman said, doing things such as making meals.

In mid-November 1953, the VFW moved to its current location at 140 Milan Ave., a former diner.

The organization celebrated its 75th anniversary Nov. 3. Shortly before the private event, post trustee and former commander Dick Berger said he expected about 190 veterans and their families to attend.

Lefty Grove, a youth baseball league, plays games at the VFW baseball field. That relationship goes back more than 50 years.

Quartermaster Dick Winslow, in November, called the Norwalk VFW one of the better posts in the country.

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