A member of Fort Mill’s VFW Post 9138 is the recipient of the highest honor given by Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Rock Hill resident Ralph Best is commander of District 5, covering York, Lancaster, Chester and Kershaw counties. Best is a member and past quartermaster of the Fort Mill post. On Thursday the national VFW office announced Best achieved All-American status.
“The criteria for this honor are based on outstanding achievements in membership growth and participation in other VFW programs that benefit veterans and their communities,” said national commander William Thien. “The title of All-American Commander is the most prestigious honor given by our organization.”
Best is one of only 29 commanders worldwide selected for the recent award.
“I just happened to be the district commander,” Best said. “These projects are projects that the post has to do. By them doing them, I’m the one who gets to be All-American this year but they’re the ones that did it.”
Various fundraisers, community recognitions, donations to military groups and other factors go into the All-American decision. District 5 has nine posts, including one added this year in Indian Land. They have 1,089 members between them, ranging from 32 in Hickory Grove to 404 in Rock Hill’s larger post. The Fort Mill post where Best serves has more than 200 members.
“They do a good job,” Best said.
Posts in Fort Mill and Rock Hill won state awards, too. The U.S. Navy and Vietnam veteran Best, who joined the Fort Mill group in 2005 from Rock Hill, said groups are looking to become more involved in local festivals and other events to expand their presence throughout the district.
“There’s a bunch of good folks in this district,” Best said. “They work hard.”
Veterans of Foreign Wars is a nonprofit veterans organization founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936. It’s the nation’s largest organization of war veterans and the oldest major veterans organization. It includes almost 1.9 million members in almost 7,000 posts.