Crothersville VFW reopens after four-month closure



They did it for their comrades, the veterans who bravely stepped up to defend the country.

After Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1083 in Crothersville was forced to close because of financial problems, a group of people pooled some of their money together to try to hammer down the debt.

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The post closed March 23 but opened its doors again July 29, thanks to those people’s efforts.

“We had to get it open because the veterans, they don’t have anywhere to go,” said Luise McAllister, quartermaster of Post 1083. “A lot of them, their significant other has passed away. They come in here for company and to have something to eat and drink, and they don’t have anywhere else to go. We had to get it open and try to make it work for the sake of the veterans. That’s our primary reason here.”

McAllister, new Post Commander Jon Tracy and some other VFW and auxiliary members used money out of their own pockets to pay bills and buy food for the kitchen.

“This means a lot to a lot of people around here, and just to see it closed, it upset a lot of people,” Tracy said. “They were worried about it, and I felt I could chip in. We all decided that, just get it going back again.”

Post 1083 was closed and put on a 90-day suspension by the state for violating bylaws and procedures with being nearly $60,000 in debt. That included owing around $24,000 to a company that provided food to the post, and the rest was major bills, like electric and gas, that were behind.

The first thing that needed to happen for the post to reopen was electing a panel of nine officers. Next, they attempted to get a loan to help pay off the debt.

“We own this building scot-free, so we were using it as collateral, but the banks would not take a risk on us because we had already been closed down since March,” McAllister said. “We had no revenue coming in, so I could understand that.”

They then asked the state about using leftover gaming money to put toward late bills. The money couldn’t be used for food, liquor, beer or salaries, so people were asked to volunteer at the post when it reopened, and Tracy, McAllister and others used their own money to buy food and sodas. Tracy also paid the building insurance.

Once the state quartermaster approved the post’s reopening, people came together to clean the building from top to bottom, McAllister said.

Ninth District Commander Leon M. Perry Sr. said he is impressed with the members’ efforts.

“What they are doing not only comes from the heart, but they love veterans,” he said. “We all love our veterans, we reach out to our comrades and I think this is a wonderful thing that they are doing. I’ve watched it from scratch, and I supported them from scratch, and I feel like they are headed in the right direction.”

He also told them he’s there any time they need him.

“It’s like a blooming plant coming back to life, a watered plant, and it’s just outstanding,” Perry said. “I appreciate everything they do. I think this shows people how once you get knocked down, you get back up.”

Even though Post 1083 has reopened, it still has debt, so the officers are working to increase membership, invite people to come there for food and drinks and plan fundraisers.

Veterans from all wars are welcome to join, and non-combat veterans and people with relatives who have served can be a part of the auxiliary.

Perry said VFW posts are losing members, especially veterans from World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War.

“We need people to step up and be true veterans,” he said. “I’ve known some people out there, they are running around thinking they don’t need this, don’t need that. One of these days, it will click they need it.”

Tracy said younger veterans, including those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, are welcome, too.

“A lot of people don’t understand the VFW takes a certain criteria to become a member, but we have people in Washington (D.C.) that fight for the rights of all veterans, not just combat vets,” he said. “They fight for the rights of all veterans to where they get their rights.”

Auxiliary members are just as important, McAllister said.

“Our auxiliary is a big part of us,” she said. “We’re not just giving them the opportunity or permission to come in. They are part of us. They helped us. When we were down and out, they spent every dime in their account to help us to pay bills and stuff, and they didn’t have to do that, but they did until they were wiped out, which I appreciate. … We love our auxiliary, and they support us, and we support them.”

Post 1083 opens daily at 11 a.m. and typically closes around 10 p.m., depending upon how many people are there to buy food and drinks and socialize. There are smoking and nonsmoking sections, and a pool table and a jukebox are available for entertainment.

The post can’t currently afford to pay musicians to come in and play, but it welcomes people to donate their time. A man known as Brick Chance has volunteered to play for a couple of hours Friday and Saturday night.

Any donations made are tax-deductible. Some people already have donated food and money.

“We can’t do this on our own because of the extent of the debt, but if people don’t use our club and nobody can be out there to help us out with donations, it’s going to be difficult to achieve our goal of making it and paying our debts off,” McAllister said.

“We want people in here, and we want them to come. That’s what needs to be done,” she said. “Otherwise, we would be forced to having to close it on our own. This building has been here since the 1950s. It has been here a long time. Anything you want to donate, we’re happy to accept that, and we appreciate it very much.”

Tracy said he also hopes to build up funds to be able to present scholarships to local students again.

“We really need to get the community involved so we can give back to the community,” he said. “Until we get some money coming in, we’ve got these bills we’ve got to pay, but yet we still want to give to these other programs, too.”

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Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1083 is at 103 W. Main St., Crothersville.

For information, call 812-793-3565 or visit


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