VFW Post 1273: More than just a canteen

November 03, 2020

Written By: Main Street Square

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Post 1273 is a restaurant and lounge in downtown Rapid City, but it is so much more. It is a place for veterans to gather and share stories. It is a resource for services, made available through collaborations with regional nonprofits such as the Front Porch Coalition. “We are an advocacy service first and foremost for veterans locally and nationally,” explains Tom Renner.

He is both a lifetime member of the VFW as well as a current officer. “There has been a decline of veterans in congress and government over the past 20 years,” he adds, “and we want to ensure Veterans continue have a voice. This is a place we can discuss everything.” 

As the local VFW post, the organization offers veterans help in a lot of capacities, most of which the public never hears of. “Veterans are extremely prideful, many of them find it hard to ask for help, even if they need it,” shares Events Manager Bridget Swier. “That is why this place is so special for veterans. It is a place they can talk about things they would not be able to talk to civilians about without judgement. You don’t have to be a veteran to support or enjoy the VFW.  Anyone is welcome to come and have a cheeseburger. Which is a great way to support the work of the VFW as they continue to serve veterans. 

While their work serving and supporting veterans may not be in the public eye, the organization also serves the Rapid City community. Post 1273 organizes the annual Veterans Day parade in Downtown Rapid City. Volunteers also serve as the Honor Guard for veteran funerals. The emotional three-shot volley and taps played during the ceremony at the Black Hills National Cemetery was likely done by these Honor Guard volunteers. 

The VFW Post 1273 also hosts classes for veterans the community throughout the year. Topics include mental health awareness, firearm safety and suicide prevention. Troy Falardeau, Volunteer and member, sums up their work perfectly: “The goal of a VFW is to be the conduit between the community, veterans, and city government.” 

So the next time you’re wanting to grab a quick bite, consider stopping in to the VFW and support an organization that supports our veterans.

Did you know...

  • All Post 1273 canteen employees are spouses of veterans or veterans themselves. 
  • Post 1273 has a tattered flag drop off where you can properly dispose of flags the honorable way, with the help of a local funeral home. 
  • Food and beverage sales at the VFW supports the advocacy efforts for the VFW overall.
  • Post 1273 has caskets and urns for deceased veterans made by regional veterans. 
  • The 21 gun salute is not performed at military funerals, that act is actually called the three-shot volley.