On March 24, 1946, several dozen World War II veterans gathered at Veterans Memorial Hall on Main Street in Pleasanton to establish the Ambrose D. Regalia Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6298.
"We still have the VFW minutes book," former post commander Doug Miller said. "It starts in 1946."
Veterans of Foreign Wars, the largest organization of American combat veterans, traces its roots to the Spanish American War in 1898. The local post was named after the first Pleasanton casualty of WWII, Ambrose D. Regalia, who died June 4, 1942, during the battle of Dutch Harbor when the Japanese Navy attacked the Aleutian Islands.
A letter dated May 1, 1946, from Mr. and Mrs. Mario C. Regalia, the parents of Pvt. Regalia, apparently accompanied a contribution of $100 toward the purchase of flags, stating, "This offer is in appreciation and gratitude to you for your great kindness and esteem and in loving memory of our beloved son Ambrose D. Regalia."
Now Post 6298 is celebrating its 75th anniversary and its many years of veterans' gatherings and support as well as community service.
"We do three things," Miller said. "First, we honor and assist senior veterans, from World War II and the Korean War."
Second, the VFW helps young veterans just returning from overseas deployments. "We help them transition," Miller said.
And third, the organization provides scholarships for middle and high school students, part of a regional, state and national endeavor.
Veterans are welcome to drop in for coffee and donuts at Veterans Memorial Building, 301 Main St., from 7:30-8:45 a.m. each Saturday. But much more goes on behind the scenes.
"The VFW is the one that goes and supports veterans attending Las Positas College," Miller said. "Any given semester there are about 500 veterans enrolled. We try to provide transition support and mentoring -- we've been around the block, and we've found jobs, settled down and raised our families."
Post 6298 also sponsors local Boy Scout troops and the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps based at Camp Parks in Dublin.
VFW members can be seen in front of stores around Memorial Day and Veterans Day offering poppies, which are made by disabled veterans.
"We raise money with the poppies. We hand them out and sometimes people will provide a donation," Miller said. "We have continued to do that in the last year."
Monthly meetings have gone on Zoom during the last year to plan social and fundraising events. Annual memberships are $40, and lifetime memberships are also available.
The VFW post planned a small gathering in the early evening on Thursday to celebrate its 75th anniversary, with a cake and speeches by local officials.
"We've changed in several ways," Miller noted. "It used to be and still is a social organization but we are trying to reach out more to younger folks and to help them."