Families join for cookout at post

By Darrell Todd Maurina: CNJ News Journal

While many Clovis families enjoyed Memorial Day by cooking food in back yards on a family grill, members and friends of VFW Post 3015 came to a Monday afternoon cookout at the veterans’ post.

“This is our family,” said Post Commander Dale Huft. “We get together as veterans — it’s tradition.”

As he ate a meal of large hot dogs and hamburgers, longtime VFW member Alfonzo Chavez said the post has been sponsoring a Memorial Day lunch since the post began in 1934.

“It’s been the best times in my life and I’ve come here since I was a child,” said Chavez’s granddaughter, Florene Michaels, who said five generations of the Chavez family turned out Monday.

Senior Master Sgt. James Stewart of Cannon Air Force Base said he enjoys spending time with veterans on Memorial Day.

“Veterans share a common bond,” Stewart said. “No matter what war they are from, World War I, World War II, Korea, or Vietnam, they are always bonded together and try to give back to the community.”

Stewart said he’s the son of a 20-year Navy veteran and grandson of a 20-year Army veteran who remembered seeing the VFW in various towns put on parades and other events, and joined as soon as he could after having served in a foreign conflict — a VFW membership requirement.

World War II veteran Ira Pottard said he’s also been coming to the event for years, often with some of his 16 children, 25 grandchildren, and 60 great-grandchildren. On Monday, he brought three of his descendants to show them what it means to be a veteran.

“It’s something we enjoy doing as a family,” Pottard said. “I’m a member here, and we’ve been doing it for years.”