Here Say: Your Stories about Camaraderie, Told at VFW Post 280

Here Say is a project in community storytelling. We travel to a new place each week and ask people to share true stories about things we all experience: love, family, learning and more. To see where we've been, check out our interactive map. And to hear your favorite stories from this season, you can find our free podcast on itunes.

(From left to right) Ken Fellenstein, Bonnie Trombley, Joe Trombley, and Ingrid Fellenstein
Credit Hope Kirwan / KBIA

Joe Trombley and his wife, Bonnie, were visiting with friends - Joe’s former wife and her husband. Joe and Bonnie told us that their children unite their extended family.

"There’s four people sitting here right? That’s my wife, that’s my ex-wife. That’s her husband now, and of course I was her husband before… so if this ain’t camaraderie between four people, ain’t nothing is. We had five kids together and her and her ex had four kids together."

"But the kids is the reason basically that we’re all friends and get along good. We’ve had our ups and downs just like any ex families or whatever have you but it's basically the kids that have drawn us closer."

Kim Wischmeyer
Credit Hope Kirwan / KBIA

Kim Wischmeyer told us that members understand and support each other.

"We all know what each other’s going through. If somebody’s having a hard time we’re there for them, not there to make fun of them. Some of us go through flashbacks and it brings back other stuff. Nobody talks about anything that would bring up somebody else’s harm. We’re always here for each other so that’s what camaraderie is… it’s good stuff."

Gerry Townscend
Credit Caty Eisterhold / KBIA

Gerry Townsend says the VFW keeps her social life lively.

"My husband passed away 15 years ago and it's a friendship with the people and plus I like dancing. There’s a fellow from Jeff City, he comes up from there and he gets me out there and we dance all over the floor. At my age, I enjoy something like that."

Donald Briggs
Credit Hope Kirwan / KBIA

Donald Briggs told us how important it is to be a comrade - to the very end.

"Because in the end what we call each other, is not what everybody else calls each other. We call each other comrades. When we talk about saying comrades, we’re comrades in arms. It means we’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we understand what’s going on. I’m in the honor guard for the VFW. I’ve buried 33 veterans as of today, this year. Thirty-three. That’s an honor to me. We pay them their respect, they get their final due when we put them in the ground." For more stories about camaraderie, check out our interactive map here.