VFW Post 1090 in Warren marks 90th anniversary

WARREN – Former District 8 Commander Richard McGrath Sr. of Warren said he was glad he made it to the 90th anniversary of the Warren VFW Post 1090, and now he’s hoping to make it in for the 100th.

Members gathered for comraderie and a slice of cake Saturday to celebrate the post’s many years, some having served numerous positions.

“I did everything in this post except for quartermaster. I’m not mathematically inclined,” McGrath said with a smile.

The Korean War-era Army veteran, the post’s unofficial historian, shared his memories of the post and its former and current members.

Pointing at a 1954 photograph of the Warren Junior Military Band, McGrath said it proves Post 1090 is who first sponsored the unit. McGrath said in the early 40s, there was a dispute between their post and Post 419 in Girard as to whom it belonged.

“This here is the proof of the pudding. They found out it was a big burden, it meant a lot of work, so they threw it back to us,” he said.

Pointing out another photo, McGrath spoke about his time on the Ritual Team.

“When I started here, every member that passed away we stood casket guard and also did committal service at the cemetery,” he said. Now only two members remain from the original 31 on the roster: McGrath and Richard Kopiak.

“Our team broke up and we couldn’t get the younger generation to take time to do it,” he said. “I think it’s a generational thing. The world’s changing,” he said.

Roger Burns of Niles, who joined the post in 1944, said it is still a safe place to enjoy the company of others.

“It’s a good family gathering place. You can sit your wife down, walk away, you don’t have to worry about it,” he said.

When McGrath first joined the post in the early 1970s, there were 840 members. At one time, the post was only three members away from its goal of attaining 1,090 members. Now, there are around 345 members.

“If we don’t turn it over to someone, we’ll have to surrender our charter. It takes so many people to keep a big building like this running. We’re kind of struggling as it is,” he said.

Warren Wortman of Warren added, “We’d like them to join here; they’re all welcome.”

Despite the dwindling numbers, leadership of the post said they are grateful for the members who remain and happy to donate to various charities throughout Trumbull County.

Last week, the post donated $1,250 to Toys for Tots.

“We’ve been able to make a lot of donations over the years. We try to help the community, the veterans in the community,” Wortman said.