VFW officer training was held in Austin this past week. As Post Commander, I attended the conference. This training is informative in the bylaw changes and goals for the VFW state, district and posts set by the new State Commander, John Spaher of Post 8787 in Austin. He replaced Wayne Dupue of Galveston at the state convention held in Houston in June of this year.The new direction of the 350 VFW posts of the state of Texas is to cast off the rep of being "that bunch of old men that meet once a month and tell war stories." The VFW was formed in 1899 by 13 Spanish-American War veterans. The sole purpose was to help fellow veterans; and, I am proud to say that, today, the VFW is still about helping veterans.There was a veterans group known as "The Grand Army of the Republic" in place at that time; but, because the vets coming back from Cuba did not stand out shoulder to shoulder and ram balls down the barrels of the rifle and fire at the enemy standing across the field from them, they were denied membership. Do any of you remember that group? As the musket loader rifle went out, so did their group.New members are the key. When World War I came along, the returning veterans were welcomed into the VFW, as were the World War II veterans. The the Viet Nam veterans came home. After some discussion, they were welcomed into the group. Now, most of the officers at Post, District, State and National level are members of that war. The new vets from Desert Storm, Iraq and the War of Terror are now the future of the VFW. In a few years, they will be the officers running this organization, so the Mason Post welcomes yu to come to one of our meetings, held the third Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the American Legion building located behind the jail.The VFW would like for the Posts to become a family organization where events are held to include the families.VFW events in the local area include a District 13 meeting in Fredericksburg on August 14, starting at 8:00 a.m., with coffee and doughnuts; open meeting for VFW and Auxiliary members at 10:30 a.m., a lunch will be available at the Post at noon, closed meeting for Auxiliary and VFW members only at 1:00 p.m.The next Post meeting in Mason will be held on August 15th at 6:30 p.m.The VFW will be selling raffle tickets at Super S on August 6th for a Remington 870 shotgun to be given away on the third Saturday in September. Also, the County Service Officer will have information on some new forms for VA claims.When you are approached by a VFW member with a raffle ticket, please understand that the proceeds from this raffle will be going to help veterans. Also know that when you are handed a "buddy poppy," we are not selling them. Any money you may hand to that veteran is a donation. That money is used to help vets and their families.For complete information, please contact Lawrence Spell, Post Commander, 429-6224.