Post 4816 History
Early Years 60’s and 70’s
In the mid-sixties, the presence of our Post was nothing more than a small 10’x20’ “goat-shed” situated near the pavilion end of the current building on the parking lot. It was a small building that stood alone in a large secluded place. But the mostly WW-II Vets who then called it their “Post” had big dreams and lots of “git ‘er done” volunteerism in their arsenal.
Back then they didn’t have an alcoholic beverage license so they’d bring in their own beer and liquor and sell it to each other with the “sales proceeds” going towards building and growing the Post. The Piney Woods VFW Post 4816 was officially chartered in 1967. At the same time the wives were very much a part of the growth, so not surprisingly, a year later, in 1968, the Piney Woods VFW Post 4816 “Ladies Auxiliary” was born.
They all worked and saved and eventually built up the new Post including a new building which, by comparison to the Goat Shed, was a real 20’x30’ “hall” that had a bar, a screened porch, and a partitioned place inside for kids and pinball machines. It was built in a piecemeal fashion with lots of Veteran “sweat equity” and largely donated materials, when available! The facilities were simple, but the Veteran and Auxiliary spirits were proud and strong! They worked hard, had some fun, and Post 4816 grew!
Then in 1976, the existing large “Bingo Hall”, was constructed and immediately became a centerpiece for Post benefits and parties for nearly every occasion they could think of! Many of the band night dances were legendary in their “enthusiasm”. But then, as now, many Vets will tell you we work hard and we play hard, and in the privacy of our own Post Home we know that our social and fun times have always been amply paid for from our own sweat, and even a measure of patriotic blood!
Bingo, in an earlier time, was untaxed; and with a large patronage it immediately became a huge financial resource for Post charitable projects and even the occasional funding of chartered busses to take members, and their travel “gear”, to VFW State Conventions. The money and membership were managed well and the Post grew at a nearly explosive rate!
80’s and 90’s
In the 80s, but mostly in the 90s, the Vietnam Veterans began to arrive at the Post, with an immediate culture clash that came from the kind of war they had fought compared to the “WW-II and even some Korean guys”. The Post back then was not always hospitable to the relatively few but increasing numbers of young “Vietnam guys”. As time went by, the assimilation through social contact and growing understanding became successful. And sometime around the onset of the new millennium, the Post leadership baton was softly and quietly passed to the new generation.
Meanwhile, in 1988-90, ongoing Post growth made possible the construction of the present Canteen building, after which the Veteran-built and well used former “Post Home” was razed.
Around that time, more and more regulations began to be imposed on the Post’s “commercial” operations from both the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission and the Texas Bingo Commission. Our Post business was becoming less volunteer and more institutional with an increase in regulations and “fine print”. We adapted like we’d always done as the Post continued to flourish while the Veteran and Auxiliary sides of our house maintained consistent volunteerism and prudent management. Plus, the Post has always had many dedicated non-members who believe in the VFW Mission, and who, to this day, provide significant volunteer service.
2000 to Present
Typically, war Veterans arrive at the VFW some ten to twenty, and even more, years after their service is completed. From 2000 to today, our newest members come from engagements in Desert Storm, Afghanistan,
Iraq, and the Global War on Terror, just to name a few. And the generational stresses between these new members and the now aging Vietnam Vets are very similar to those that had occurred years before between the WW-II and Vietnam vets. But we learned from our own history that, as Veterans, our shared service experiences bind us more than anything that could divides us, regardless of age, or clothing styles!
In 2005, Team VFW was created to tighten the coordination in overseeing an increasingly extensive Post social calendar of events. The catalyst for the formation of Team VFW came as the Post began conducting more fund-raising events such as the fall “Classic Barbeque Cook-off”, an International Barbeque Cookers Association (IBCA) sanctioned event, which began drawing larger numbers of cookers. It became clear that a tighter organizational structure was needed. Team VFW, to this day, is the go-to group for Post event coordination, and it includes Veteran and Auxiliary members, plus many friends of the Post who simply want to help.
Change has always been a constant in life and in August of 2015, our “Ladies Auxiliary” became gender-neutral in its membership requirements and began welcoming men into what simply became the “VFW Auxiliary”. In response to changing social norms, particularly with younger Vets and their families, our Post Canteen became a non-smoking space on January 1, 2019. To accommodate our smoking members and patrons, and after securing a significant financial grant from our East Montgomery County Improvement District, we constructed, in the Autumn of 2018, the pavilion which is attached to the south side of the Canteen building.
Always Looking Forward….
Clearly, Post 4816 has accumulated a rich and vibrant history over its relatively short life. We are now in our 54 th year, and although a lot has changed over that time, we all continue to believe in another constant, which is our unwavering VFW mission to help Veterans. And that, together with a willingness to courageously adapt to the times while retaining a proactive vision for future growth and service, has always been and remains today the source of our strength and success.
Plus, we are steadfast in our patriotism, our love of country, and in our support for our Veterans, a formula that keeps us well positioned and prepared for whatever will come next!