COPPERAS COVE — The mood was jovial at Friday’s Independence Day festivities at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8577.

Guests were chowing down on homemade brisket, plus sides, and a dessert table that would put a buffet restaurant to shame.

Throw in rolls the size of bread loaves, and the entire meal was fit for a king.

Kids were jetting among adults’ legs, running from event to event.

One moment they’d bounce on the bounce house, next they would run inside the post, grab a cupcake or two and head over to get a balloon animal.

“We have thought of many ways to integrate the VFW with a family environment,” said Tim Sawyer, the event coordinator and post member. “We

want people to see that we are not a bar. We are a social club of like-minded veterans and families that are here for one another.”

Post commander Mike Tingley has held that position six times and feels a need to create a more public face for the VFW.

“We want citizens to see that this is more than just an old building,” he said. “We welcome families because we have families.

“And more often than not, families are side by side working toward the VFW’s only goals — to serve our veterans, their families and the community,” he said.

For Elke Godshall, the most exciting part of the day was the start.

“They shot off the Civil War cannon,” she said.

“Even though I knew it was coming, I still jumped back several feet — it was so loud. But boy was it fun.”

Post 8577 served the community for free, and was able to do so because the food they prepared was donated — some by businesses, some by individuals.

President Juanita Workman and the rest of the Post 8577 Ladies Auxiliary baked desserts for the public and for their drawings.

Even the Junior Girls Unit got involved in the day’s festivities.

They participated in a Tupperware fundraiser, where they were able to offer customers exclusive items and also had items available for an on-site drawing.

“It gets the girls involved in volunteering,” said Bonnie Henderson, the unit adviser. “And they really learn and understand the value of giving back to the military.”

Contact James Harper at or 254-501-7554.​

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