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New VFW post coming to LO

Special event on Aug. 14 will bring veterans' group back to the city

Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: CLIFF NEWELL - Ken Kraft will welcome American veterans and their friends at the new VFW post in Lake Oswego. The grand-opening event is set for Aug. 14 at the Waluga Mason Lodge.Lake Oswego hasn’t had a VFW post in many years, but that will change on Thursday, Aug. 14, when a special event will launch the new Lawrence Alberti Lake Oswego Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12140.

The event, scheduled from 1-2 p.m. at the Waluga Masonic Lodge (417 Second St.), will feature a lineup of guest speakers, including U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, state Reps. Julie Parish and Dennis Richardson, Clackamas County Commissioner Martha Schrader, and Cameron Smith, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The post is being founded by Ken Kraft, a veteran and the incoming state VFW commander, who is beginning the new project with two goals: to transform the lives of veterans in Lake Oswego, and to have a big impact on the overall community.

“There are a lot of veterans coming home from the Middle East,” Kraft said. “They have the chance to be mentored by our Vietnam veterans, who didn’t have much chance for mentoring when they returned home.”

Kraft appreciates the tremendous sacrifices that American veterans made for their country, because he is one of them. Kraft lost both of his lower legs in a mortar attack in Iraq in 2005. He had 24 surgeries in two years and had to learn how to walk and talk all over again.

“No one visited me in the hospital,” he said, but among the duties for Post 12140 will be visiting American service men and women in area medical facilities.

Other causes that help veterans will be on the agenda, including working to pass the proposed Veterans Lottery Bill, which would divert five percent of proceeds from the state lottery into a fund for veterans services.

“Every piece of veterans legislation has come through the VFW, the oldest veterans organization in the U.S.,” Kraft said.

Kraft also wants to reach out to schools and senior centers, because students can benefit from the many VFW scholarships available, he said, and many veterans live in area senior centers.

Simply put, Post 12140 will have a strong presence throughout Lake Oswego, Kraft said.

“We plan to be in the Veterans Day Parade, the Memorial Day Parade and we want to sell (VFW Buddy Poppies),” Kraft said. “We made $27,000 selling poppies in Oregon City” when he was commander of the Three Rivers Post there.

The VFW isn’t about politics, Kraft said, but about patriotism.

“We will tell people to go vote, not whether they should be a Republican or a Democrat,” he said.

How did the post get its name?

“Lawrence Alberti was a Vietnam veteran who lived in Lake Oswego,” Kraft said, “and he kept the post going. But after he died, the post had to close.”

It now will reopen in Alberti’s name, with meetings planned for the first Thursday and last Thursday of every month.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or cnewell@lakeoswegoreview.com.

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