Our veterans of foreign wars are on the front lines here on the home front, especially here in South Mississippi at the Mark Seymour VFW Post 5699 in Ocean Springs.
A lot has changed since the Ocean Springs VFW opened its doors in 1946, but the mission remains the same-honoring our veterans and the memory of those who have since passed including Mark Seymour, the namesake of VFW Post 5699, a cause close to the heart of the post’s new commander Lela Breman who wound up here in South Mississippi three years ago. “On my way here, I had a family member pass away, and I had some trouble. I reached out to this Post, and not knowing anything about me, they stepped up and helped me get here. I actually met with an Auxiliary member. She took care of me. I knew this was a home I wanted to be a part of. They knew nothing about me except that I was a veteran and they took care of me. This is definitely a home, I tell other veterans, come see us. Come be a part of us. We are here to support one another.”
This VFW post is also a second home to Lucia Barberena who has learned much from her patriotic friends here who were on hand as the 17-year-old donated a hand-made receptacle to retire old and tattered flags. “One of the reasons I chose a flag drop off box is out of love and respect for the country, I decided it would be a great way to respect the flag and also respect those who have served us. I contacted Ms. Lela. She loved the idea, so we decided to work together on the box.”
Bremen is the first female commander of VFW Post 5699, but what matters most here is comradery and everyone’s ties to the service, past and present. ” We are the voice for our fellow veterans. We are in D.C. speaking for our fellow veterans, pushing for the correct care of our veterans.”
They’re preparing for a food drive for all of our local veterans. “We have boxes placed throughout the community to do collections. On September 19th, we’re going to do a mobile food drive. We want veterans to come up, pull up in their car and we’re going to give them some food to help them out. Everybody’s struggling during this time, and as I stated, we take care of our veterans, and that’s what we want to do.”