Celebrating 70 years at the Lakeside Carter-Smith VFW Post 5867
For seven decades, Lakeside’s Carter-Smith VFW Post 5867 has supported its veterans, and on Feb. 6, it celebrated its 70th anniversary of its Post Charter. One by one, members of the Post, new, old, veteran and active duty shared their experiences of the Post’s history and the people that made it what it is today. Only the beginning of February, the Post met its enrollment at 102 percent. With memorabilia of veterans of wars past, the gathering quickly became an intimate community family occasion.
Post Commander Steven Williams accredited former Post commanders and Auxiliary presidents and officers for making the VFW what it is today. He recognized the contributions of the 2015 Lakeside ambassadors, and its chartered scouts, Boy Scout Troop 346 and Cub Scout Packs 342 and 346, and Venture Crew 11833, and all the volunteers that made the event possible.
“I want to thank all of the veterans and families that have come to this Post for years, it’s nice to see the eras coming together in a room like this,” he said.
The Post has a long and storied history, said Williams. The Post was chartered on Feb. 6, 1946, beginning with 60 chartered members.
“At last count today, we have 581 members and we have an Auxiliary that has 218 members, which was chartered on July 6, 1946 as well.”
He said the building that stands today is a testament to the people living in Lakeside, which it has always had as a community.
“It was the Women’s Club of Lakeside that funded construction, and from 1946 to 1948 and it was the able hands and strong backs of the community of volunteers that put in the hard labor to place every brick and hammer every nail,” he said.
Originally the Lakeside Community Center, Women’s Club of Lakeside donated the building to the Post in 1956.
“Many of the stories of the history of this Post are sitting with you right among you today,” he said. “Not among us today, are the namesakes of our beloved Post, Howard Carter and Rowland Smith. Both were sailors from Lakeside that perished during the attack on Pearl Harbor.”
Smith served aboard the USS Oklahoma and Carter served aboard the USS Dobbin.
In recognition, Senator Joel Anderson presented the Post a Senate Resolution, also signed by Assemblyman Brian Jones, for the Post’s continuous work with local veterans and being a positive contributor to the Lakeside community and beyond. Although not present, Congressman Duncan Hunter, a lifetime member of VFW Post 5967 delivered a certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in honor of the 70th celebration and its continuous service to veterans in East County.
The Department of VFW Legislator of the Year, Anderson said veteran’s halls were an act of Congress so veterans would always have a place to meet.
“When we look at all that we see that you do, it is incredible,” said Anderson. “When I look out at you I do not just see veterans. I see Little League coaches, Kiwanis members, Rotary members, people that whose service might have started in the military, but your service to the community has never ended. You are there, the backbone and the glue to the community.”
Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Nation Tribal Councilman Adrian Brown, Army tank driver and lifetime member of Post 5867 said when he was a kid his grandfather, commander for the Viejas Post, brought him to this location often. Until he was older he did not know that his grandfather was sending him on VFW Post trips around the county.
Brown said it was then he began to understand his grandfather’s Army career and subsequently comprehend the importance of the members of the Post and the Kumeyaay tribe, which dismantled as the tribal members got older. He said when his grandfather volunteered in World War II, it was the first time that Native Americans served in uniform as citizens of the United States. He earned two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars.
Brown said Native Americans have the highest percentage of service per capita than any other ethnicity, serving every war on record since the American Revolutionary War.
“In carrying my grandfather’s legacy, it was a no brainer to join the Carter-Smith Post for life,” he said. “My grandfather loved this post, he lived for this post.”
After the short ceremony, live country music was provided by Valor and Lace, with retired Marine sniper Chris Hamilton as lead singer and lead guitar, Emily Ridings, vocals, Ian Belmondo, the harmonica and guest guitarist James Boyan.