VFW post doors open again for bingo, programs
By PAMELA GRANT
Bingo at the VFW is back in business. For a few weeks now, the Olan Forest Smith Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8577, has welcomed bingo fans back into their halls, with restrictions of course.
Dana Watson, Bingo Chairman, said that Bingo nights have been in effect for a few weeks now. Right now, the VFW holds Bingo on Saturdays and Sundays at 4:30 p.m., Thursdays at 7 p.m., and on the last two Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
In order to keep things safe, they encourage patrons to social distance. They are currently allowed to be at 50% capacity, so no more than two people are allowed at a table and they sit diagonal from each other. They also put up barriers between the cashiers and the patrons. So far, Watson said that 93 people attended on the most crowded night and 78 on their least crowded night.
“We have a really dedicated bingo crowd,” said Watson. “They seemed happy to be back…they love the game.”
Watson said that bingo is used as a fundraiser for the VFW.
“Our mission is to give our money away to help the community, veterans, and their families,” said Watson. “All of us here are veterans. We served our country and our community, and a lot of us are retired and we’re a little older now, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to give.”
The money they make goes to a wide range of causes including helping both the Police Department and Fire Department, the Soup Kitchen, Boy Scouts, Senior Center, other programs to benefit the elderly, and more. They donate to help provide scholarships and even donate to the Miss 5 Hills Pageant.
Bingo enthusiasts were excited that they finally get to come out and play a favorite game, socialize, and have a chance to win.
“We have missed coming out to this for forever,” said Geneva Guerrieri, who attended the event with her mother. Her mother had been sick, so getting to play bingo with her again was a treat. “It means that things are opening up and things are returning to normal.”
Bingo fan Michael Trubee was both excited to play bingo and support a good cause while doing so.
“It’s awesome. It gives us something to do,” said Trubee. “And we are able to enjoy other people’s company instead of being isolated, and, as you can see, everybody’s smiling.”
Trubee said that he works at Denny’s and has long hours, so he’s excited to be able to come to the VFW and play bingo. He added that the VFW has been a great help to him and his family, and he knows that he is not alone in appreciating the VFW.
“The VFW donates a lot of time and helps a lot of people,” said Trubee. “We are lucky to have a VFW that’s active.”
In addition to the bingo nights, the VFW also holds karaoke nights on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 p.m. until closing time.