VFW Post 1 / Veteran Community Center
History of VFW Post 1
Post 1 is one of the country’s oldest, all-volunteer non-profit and Veteran service organizations.
VFW Post 1 was started in 1899 by the returning Veterans of the Spanish American War. These Veterans were members of the Colorado First Volunteers- today’s Colorado National Guard.
General Irving Hale (Camp Hale is named after him), with 16 other Veterans started the Army of the Philippines, John S. Stewart Camp No. 1 on the eighth floor of the Brown Palace. Their mission was to provide support, camaraderie and opportunities for Veterans of the Spanish-American War.
15 years later, Camp 1 merged with two other Veteran organizations to create the Veterans of Foreign Wars, becoming VFW John S. Stewart Post 1—the first VFW Post in the world.
Since that day, VFW Post 1 continues that mission by meeting the needs of today’s Veterans while fulfilling and honoring our Founders’ intent. They do so by providing meaningful programs and services to all Veterans in the Metro Denver community regardless of VFW eligibility or membership. (To be a member of the VFW, the service member must have served in a combat theater and received a qualifying medal).
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce named VFW Post 1 the Small Non-Profit of the year in 2015. The New York Times, Military Times, AARP, Christian Science Monitor and other national publications have featured VFW Post 1 for its innovative programs.
Currently, VFW Post 1’s major project is the renovation of their building to continue the Veteran Community Center capabilities. This will allow the expansion of health/wellness programs, specific activities for elderly Veterans, career services and Veteran art programs with future programs to be added.
Veteran Community Center
While most VFW’s main business focus are around bar operations, VFW Post 1 operates a Veteran Community Center for its programs and is available for other Veteran service and community organizations.
VFW Post 1 Principal Programs include the Veterans Arts Council, Health/Wellness (Yoga, massage/acupuncture therapy, one-on-one peer counseling) and elder care services, while fostering both Veteran comraderies and community partnerships.
VFW Post 1 ties with the Denver community runs deep. From the 1940s to early 1970s, VFW Post 1 hosted Huck Finn Adventure days at Washington Park for boys and girls to engage in outdoor activities that include races, fishing and other youth sports. Today, VFW Post 1 sponsors Boys and Girl Scouts, Host health fairs, volunteers in the community, provides non-Veteran organizations free meeting space in the Art Gallery and more.