letter for Vince Poxleitner
Vincent M. Poxleitner was born in Ferdinand, Idaho May 1, 1925, and after high school he earned the right to join the Veterans of Foreign Wars by joining the U.S. Navy February 8, 1944. The Navy sent Vince to Diesel training school in Ames, Iowa. After training he was assigned as an evaporator engineer aboard the Tank Landing Ship LST 681. Vince served two years aboard his ship (1945-1946). The ship was decommissioned at the end of the war on September 6, 1946, but the old ship was given new life in 2004. LST 681 was sold to the Republic of Korea, refitted and is in use again, as seen in this March 27, 2004 U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Nicholas C. Messina.
At the end of World War II, Vince heard the siren song of Alma Sarbacher, also of Ferdinand, Idaho, and on November 5, 1946 they were married. This November, they will celebrate their 67th anniversary. Vince and Alma's son Jim served a tour in the U.S. Air Force, and their grandson Joseph is currently serving his second tour with the U.S. Marines. Serving the country is a three generation tradition for the Poxleitner family.
Vince joined the Cottonwood VFW Post 4902 in 1951, just four years after the original post charter was drafted. In the early years Vince almost single handedly saved the post from insolvency and financial ruin. On one occasion, the district commander showed up to evaluate the financial records and discovered much of the post funds missing. Vince found after an investigation that the post quartermaster had a bit of a drinking habit and spent the post funds on liquor. After this turmoil there were only four or so members left in the post, and Vince assumed his first tour as commander in 1954.
During his first command tour, Vince recruited about a dozen post members, but they were holding their own with limited dues. Vince started the first post fund raising activity by clearing some timber on Cottonwood Butte, and started the first rope-tow ski hill. Alma diligently provided a bowl of homemade steaming hot chili, at the bottom of the hill for all the happy skiers. The post operated the ski hill for three years, earning enough to keep the threat of financial insolvency at bay.
After the success of the ski hill, Vince was not content to sit on his laurels. He and post member Harold Schacher garnered permission to hold the first Post 4902 turkey shoot in a local rock pit. This annual event went through several changes over the years, moving to the Cottonwood Gun Club, and finally changing from actual "shooting" to rolling dice, but is still going strong today. Vince and Harold started this tradition in 1957.
Vince, having saved the post and made it solvent, stepped down as commander in 1958. The new commander lacked the zeal to inspire the post and it fell into apathetic ruin. Vince recounted that the post went almost two years without a meeting. Finally, Vince stepped in again, organized a few meetings and brought the post back to life by holding new elections. Once again, a district inspection turned up missing funds, and again it was a quartermaster with a penchant for alcohol. Vince got the books straightened out, and set the post on a positive path. To guarantee the protection of the post funds in the future, Vince accepted the position of Quartermaster. This is his legacy, as he spent nearly 40 years off and on in this position.
He spent four tours as commander, rotating between commander and quartermaster. He continued to be innovative in recruiting and raising funds. The post currently has a very successful annual raffle that Vince and Harold Schacher originated in the 1960s. It is still one of the post's largest fund raisers every year. Over the years, Vince recruited dozens of post members, and inspired others to become life members.
Throughout Vince's past with the checkered history of the post, the meeting place moved around four times before finding the current home. The first VFW Post 4902 meetings were held in a member's shop. The member was a Horologist (watch & clock repairman). He was also the quartermaster, and after being caught boozing on post funds, he was removed and the post moved to Ferdinand. The post meetings were held in the Ferdinand Grange Hall for a number of years until it moved again to Keuterville. This time the meetings were held in the back room of the Keuterville Pub, owned then by Miss Lillian Hilbert. Finally, the post moved to Cottonwood, to the current shared location in the American Legion Hall. Vince was instrumental in every move, ensuring continuity of meetings despite moving around.
You cannot keep a man like Vince down. A couple years ago, he was inflicted with a severe illness and was not expected to recover. He spent six months in the Lewiston, Idaho Veteran's Home, where the best care available combined with Vince's tenacity defeated the illness. Vince returned to Cottonwood, and at 88 years old, he still makes almost every meeting!
Vince is very deserving of the Lifetime Achievement Award, and he is the reason Post 4902 still exists. He saved the post twice, commanded it 4 times, served almost 4 decades as quartermaster, and still serves the VFW today!