KING CITY — King City Veterans of Foreign Wars Post will celebrate its diamond jubilee, the 75th anniversary of the Sgt. Frank Lillard VFW Post 6747, on April 15.
On April 15, 1946, under the command of Harold J. Gill, a group of 90 World War I and World War II veterans established the charter for King City post. Since its inception, the post has had members who also served in combat zones representing the Korean, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Gulf and Iraq wars.
In addition, on April 11, 2011, an Auxiliary was chartered under the Founding President Sandra Lockwood and 25 members, which consisted of parents, spouses and children of qualifying veterans.
The King City Post was named after Lillard, a resident of Monterey County who served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Army Presidential Unit Citation, and the Army Good Conduct Medal.
Lillard gave the ultimate sacrifice, a casualty of the Bataan Death March in 1942.
While the Post is known for its chicken, tri-tip and rib during barbecues, its purpose has always been to foster camaraderie among veterans of overseas conflicts, advocate on behalf of all veterans, and serve veterans, the military and communities.
Over the years, the King City chapter has been deeply entwined in veteran causes, such as helping to establish the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery Foundation. Members donate money to the United Veterans Council and Veterans Transition Center in Marina, which helps to support homeless and transitional veterans in need.
They also support Fort Hunter Liggett by donating holiday food boxes for military families in need, provide money and toys for the annual Military Toys for Children drives during the holidays, and help to staff the annual fishing derby.
Members of the VFW post and Auxiliary have been integral in the success of the Veterans Homeless Stand Down, which brings homeless veterans and their families together for a weekend of medical, legal, career counseling and clothing distribution opportunities.
The local post has taken its pledge to the Monterey County communities to heart as well. Every Memorial Day, Veterans Day and the Fourth of July local veterans, in conjunction with their sponsored Boy Scout troop, create the Avenue of Flags, a collection of more than 350 flags at the King City Cemetery to honor fallen veterans from the South County area.
The honor guard team has opened countless baseball seasons, parades and local events. Each year two annual barbecues feed thousands of citizens and allow the post to donate hundreds of free meals to the local military bases. They have contributed to Old Timers Day and the Salinas Valley Fair and sponsored several youth-related activities, like Boy and Girl Scout troops in King City.
Members help promote patriotism in schools by donating flags, attending assemblies and providing patriotic educational materials. Also, each year the post and Auxiliary host the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay contests, which have donated tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship funds to local youth.
Over the past 75 years, there have been nine outstanding members who have received the Monterey County Veteran of the Year Award. These include Earl Cauley, John Clemens, Thomas Perkins, James Soares, Patrick McCoy, Bob Lockwood, Charles De Schepper, Lorenzo Espino and Cliff Williams.
This year, past commander Cliff Williams was appointed as Aide-de-Camp to the National VFW organization, and for 2021 will serve as the assistant to the U.S. National Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
VFW Post 6747 is always looking for individuals that care about their community and fellow veterans and wish to make a difference. Veterans or family members of veterans interested in supporting the interests of veterans or the community can contact 831-385-7555.