Northwoods Veterans Post Hosts Inauguration
TINA L. SCOTT
After the “We Remember” memorial held outside the Northwoods Veterans Post on Johnson Street in Merrill on September 11, crowds came to celebrate the long-awaited grand opening of the Northwoods Veterans Post. Speakers at the festivities pointed out that the new building, for which the grand opening has had to be postponed several times due to COVID, is the culmination of the efforts of many people and organizations that made it possible. It’s also a role model for other communities to emulate, because at Merrill, in designing and building the new Northwoods Veterans Post, Merrill did what few other communities have done: create a building that combines the needs and wants of several related organizations. and serve everyone, focusing on working together to create a building that serves the community.
The New Northwoods Veterans Post (NVP) is home to eight organizations: Schmitt-Manecke-Donner (VFW) Foreign War Veterans Post 1638, VFW Post 1638 Auxiliary, Am Vets Post 2000, American Legion Post 46, Honor Guard , Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Cubs.
The large building has a bar and restaurant open to the public, with a pool table and darts at the bar.
A large banquet hall, which can also be used for meetings, banquets and special events, is available for reservations, upon request.
The building includes the offices of an NVP event planner, bar manager and each of the eight organizations housed there.
In addition, the building has a computer room and a resource library with four computer stations open to NVP members and veterans; a fitness room accessible to people with disabilities for members only; two small conference rooms equipped with a smart TV, which can be reserved by community organizations on request; and a large conference room, also equipped with a smart TV and bookable via app.
There are two volleyball courts, an outdoor patio and horseshoe pits on the court.
Speakers at the grand opening included Alderman Paul Russell; VFW Post 1638 Commander Arnold “Vic” Viljevac [with his service dog, Creek]; Brigadier-General Tim Covington, Civil Support Commander for Wisconsin; Don Lynch, former VFW State Commander; Michele Rathke, Senior Vice Commander VFW State of Wisconsin; Ron Ramos, junior vice-commander VFW State of Wisconsin; and Alicia Weix, chairperson of VFW 1638 auxiliary station.
Immediately after the speakers, veterans, their families, auxiliary members and boy scouts from the area gathered outside to pose for a photo in front of the VPN, recreating a historic photo taken in front of the old VFW building.
The grand opening celebration included kids and burgers on the patio for attendees for a voluntary donation, raffles and baskets for fundraising, bouncy house for kids, dunk tank, food available with purchase from a local food truck, a cash bar and live music until late evening, Friday and Saturday evenings.