|Hollis Memorial Post - Veterans of Foreign Wars|
Early in the Spring of 1992, a representative from VFW National Headquarters came to the area to check the feasibility of creating new VFW Posts. He, along with the able assistance of Richard Jowders of the Milford VFW Post and Bob Madigan of the Nashua VFW Post (both past NH State Commanders) went through Hollis and Brookline looking for candidates. Their strategy was to drive through the streets of town and look for American flags displayed outside homes. This gave them a clue that the resident just might be a veteran.
The trio assembled names of 26 veterans who agreed to join up and form a VFW Post. As a majority of the members were Hollis residents, the post chose Hollis Memorial VFW as a post name and an organizational meeting was held at the Hollis Police Station. Everyone was new to VFW and it took over a year for the post to get on its feet and start looking like a VFW post should. Jim Belanger, a Hollis Selectman at the time, was elected as the first Commander, Bob McShea as Senior Vice Commander and Frank Mancuso as Junior Vice Commander. Bob Sykes became the first Quartermaster. The Post started without an Adjutant and Jim filled in, taking minutes and publishing a monthly newsletter which he hand delivered to each memberís home for the first three months. The newsletter started being published the first month the post was in existence.
Milford VFW was instrumental in the success of the Hollis VFW Post as it contributed funds to purchase Hollisí first American Flag, Post Flag and all the material necessary to start the post. Dick Jowders attended most of the meetings that first year and guided the post in procedure as well as protocol. All officers served in the office they were elected for a two year term, a practice that continued for several years.
After a few years, there was some friction with the VFW meetings at the Police Station as some of the officers felt that VFW members should not be using the same facilities that the officers used which were located in the officer locker room. A meeting place at a local church which was operating out of the ex Pie Factory building on South Merrimack Rd was offered as a meeting place as one of the members (Joseph Ferranti) was a member and the pastor agreed to allow the VFW to meet there. That only lasted about one winter when the meeting room was cold and, on some occasions, the church members were practicing their music selections in the adjoining room during the VFW meetings.
An agreement was reached with the Brookline American Legion to use their Post Home as a meeting place for Hollis VFW with a sharing of ongoing expenses of the building, like heat and electric. VFW contributed to a new roof replacement at one point but mostly, the financial agreement was only for electric and heat.
The VFW Post immediately, after its founding, started doing patriotic education in the schools and providing Poppy Distribution at the town transfer station on the Saturday prior to Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The post also took part in the annual Memorial Day parade (which was discontinued in 2006) and ceremony on the town common. An outdoor Veterans Day ceremony quickly made post members realize that Veterans Day can bring some rather unpleasant weather conditions and public attendance suffered as a result. Post member Mabel Hills, a member of the Hollis Congregational Church, arranged for the Veterans Day service to be held indoors at the church and also arranged for the DAR to provide refreshments afterwards.