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VFW wants computers, training for vets

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Goal is for them to become computer literate

By Lisa King

What would happen if World War II and Vietnam era veterans put their heads together to identify an area where they could really use some help?

It didn’t take about 17 members of the VFW Post 1179 in Shelbyville very long to do just that Monday night.

“We need to learn how to use a computer,” was the general consensus around the long table where the vets met to brainstorm.

“I have a computer; I just don’t know how to turn it on,” one said.

Noble Roberts, chaplain of the post and a veteran of World War II who served aboard the LST 793 as a Coast Guard signalman, smiled at the confessions of computer illiteracy among his comrades. Though he knows his way around a keyboard quite well, he sympathized with their plight.

“We do need to get some kind of computer instruction started here,” he said.

The main problem with that idea is the lack of computers.

Col. Roger Green, commander of the post, led the discussion as the members discussed how the problem could be remedied, some suggesting that if they could obtain a few used computers to install at the post, that would be a start.

“If we could get that accomplished, then maybe we could schedule times to have those computers available to the members,” he said.

Green said he would welcome any pre-owned computers the public has that they would like to donate to the post.

Members talked about the disadvantages of not being computer savvy, which includes having difficulty in finding out what types of benefits and other types of things exist that would be of benefit to veterans, as well as just being able to keep up with simple tasks that are becoming more and more online-oriented.

Jamie James, an honorary member of the post, suggested that getting a “hot spot” wireless connection to the post would have to be the first order of business.

She also volunteered to help with computer instruction when computers become available.

“I would be glad to help in any way I can,” she said.

Vets talked about other advantages of learning to use a computer, such as being able to keep in touch with other veterans and be aware of veterans’ events and activities throughout the state.

Another suggested learning to use EBAY in order to sell items and use the proceeds to purchase new computer equipment to benefit the post.

Green said that in addition to computer equipment, he would also welcome any donations to the post museum.

“Any military items that people want to donate would be really appreciated, from socks to medals to canteens,” he said.

Green has worked extensively to add to the military memorabilia in the post’s museum,  including a fully-clothed mannequin wearing the uniform of his late uncle, Boyd Green, who was in the Army Air Corps.

Unlike the exhibit at the welcome center next door that will run only until November, the military exhibit at the VFW is a permanent display.

“It started out with members bringing in their memorabilia, and it evolved to this,” he said, glancing around at a roomful of World War II artifacts, such as huge 105mm artillery shells, an old footlocker and uniform, swords, flight jackets, and a wall full of medals and old photos.

Anyone wishing to donate computer equipment or military items to the post may contact Green at 633-6331.