ROCK HILL — A Rock Hill chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has earned the highest honor one can receive.
Rock Hill's Old Hickory Post 2889 will be presented with an award recognizing its "All American" status for its commitment to community service and membership. The honor is the highest a post can receive.
The recognition is awarded to VFW posts that do an exceptional job carrying out the organization's programs.
"This recognition coming from (the national level) is something that Rock Hill hasn't had in 20 years," said Don Vinsack, commander of the Old Hickory post on West Main Street.
The award will be the third the post has received since it was established in 1933, he said. The last award it received was in 1991.
"We're on target to make it again this year," Vinsack said.
Tonight the state commander will visit the post to give out the All American award. Dinner and dancing will follow the presentation.
The festivities are part of a fundraiser to help the post meet the remainder of its donation commitment to the city of Rock Hill for a memorial at Glencairn Garden, Vinsack said. The post pledged $50,000, he said.
Out of 89 posts in South Carolina, only five received the honor this year, said Quartermaster John Sullivan. Posts in Gaffney, Spartanburg, Kingstree and Piedmont also received the honor, Rodney Burne with the Wildcat Post in Gaffney said.
Post 2889 in Rock Hill participated in several community projects. Post members put out more than 1,700 flags in cemeteries for Memorial Day. Their honor guard performed last rites at between 40 and 45 funerals of veterans who otherwise might not have had the honor, Vinsack said.
The post also has facilitated competitions in York County schools that showcase students' public speaking and writing abilities called Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy, Vinsack said.
Students have the opportunity to compete at the post, state and national levels, win gift certificates and a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet members of Congress and other national leaders.
The post also raises money for veterans organizations and gives teacher and firefighter of the year awards.
Vinsack, who just last year came on board as post commander, is excited about the post's success. He attributed it to members.
"My first year in office? I'm extremely excited," Vinsack said of receiving the honor.
"If it wasn't for my team, it would have never happened. I give them all the accolades."
Jamie Self 803-329-4062