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VFW convention takes over Pullman Plaza Hotel

Jun. 14, 2014 @ 11:00 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Hundreds of veterans could be seen coming and going around the Pullman Plaza Hotel on 3rd Avenue Saturday, sporting their peaked caps with golden embroidery, as they engaged each other in friendly debate or just light conversation.

The hotel was the site for the West Virginia Veterans of Foreign Wars state convention, which has taken place in Huntington for the past four years.

Saturday was a bustle of meetings, motions and discussion, as various state committees discussed proposals for changes in bylaws, rules or other issues.

It is also at the state convention when the organization's state officers are elected.

Presiding over everything was Wes Shephard, of VFW Post 9738 in Huntington's Guyandotte area.

"This time last year I had black hair," joked the gray-headed Shepard, of the responsibilities that come with organizing such a large event.

"It's always fun. You see a lot of people from the northern panhandle, people you may only see once or twice a year," he said. "It's all business until the sun goes down, and then it's 'let's get together' just like any convention."

The convention is not just for VFW members. Also playing a large role in the activities is the VFW Auxiliary, the women who put so much work and effort into VFW events.

State Auxiliary President Barbara Robinson, of Grafton, could be found in a conference room, trying to sort trophies that would later be distributed to auxiliary members from around the state for their efforts in raising money, organizing events and helping in their communities.

"We do the programs that support the veterans and their families, we deal with scholarships and youth activities. There's a lot," Robinson said. "This is the culmination of a whole year of work."

And the work didn't stop at the convention. Robinson improvised a Flag Day ceremony that wasn't on the agenda because she knew representatives from the 57 auxiliary districts would be paying attention.

"It's a way of life," she said of the auxiliary. "You just throw yourself into it."

Follow reporter Ben Fields on Twitter @BenFieldsHD



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