BALDWIN -- It was rarefied air on recent Friday night at The Phoenix Bar & Grill when the members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10818 New Richmond / St. Croix County gathered to celebrate the Post’s 30th anniversary.

On Oct. 30, 1989, 27 combat veterans founded Post 10818. In the ensuing years, the post has grown to over 400 members making it one of the largest veterans service organizations in western Wisconsin. A tradition of exceptional leadership has garnered the Post state awards and national acclaim.

“I consider it an honor to be in the presence of those with such dedication and commitment to supporting our service members, veterans and their families. On behalf of the more than 400 members of VFW Post 10818 and its auxiliary, I want to extend congratulations for all you’ve done to improve the lives of individuals, children and families across New Richmond and beyond these past 30 years,” Post Commander Ron Ramos said Oct. 4.

VFW Post 10818 Commander Ron Ramos reminded audience members of the Post's legislative legacy on behalf of veterans including the Wisconsin Green Alert Bill, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act and WI Senate Bill 153. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia
VFW Post 10818 Commander Ron Ramos reminded audience members of the Post's legislative legacy on behalf of veterans including the Wisconsin Green Alert Bill, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act and WI Senate Bill 153. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia

Ramos sighted specific legislative accomplishments in which post members played significant roles. In 2015, Commander Dave Green and Quartermaster Ken House played central roles in the writing and passage of Wisconsin Senate Bill 153 which allows veterans organizations to receive vehicles from law enforcement agencies that cannot be auctioned off. The statute allows those vehicles to be sold or scrapped with at least 50% of those proceeds going directly to help veterans in need. Past Commander Jasen Pomroy lobbied on behalf of Post 10818 for passage of the Wisconsin Green Alert Bill which prompts an alert to be sent out statewide for veterans who go missing and may have mental health concerns. In 2019, Ramos lobbied for the passage of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act which allows thousands of Vietnam veterans to receive the care they have earned.

READ MORE: River Falls soccer draws No. 4 seed for WIAA regional | Wisconsin roundup: Man charged with threatening UW-Eau Claire chancellor, officials; more state news stories

When Ramos paused for a moment mid address, overwhelmed in the moment by the memory of his homelessness, and maybe to by his salvation, we were all reminded of how tenuous life is from day to day, and how precious.

There is no living without them, ghosts, memories of battle, brothers lost, it is a fact of war. A lot of times, in a room like this filled with veterans and their wives, it feels like they’re just holding on behind the smiles and handshakes and bear hugs, a thin, ever so fragile truce between the living and the dead.

They shouldn’t have to do any more, their service was enough, yet they do. Last year, members of Post 10818 volunteered over 12,000 hours of service in our community.

VFW Post 10818 Auxiliary Senior Vice President Rhonda Rimarcik presented Post Commander Ron Ramos with a check for $500 for the Freedom Park Center building fund during a celebration of the Post's 30th Anniversary, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia
VFW Post 10818 Auxiliary Senior Vice President Rhonda Rimarcik presented Post Commander Ron Ramos with a check for $500 for the Freedom Park Center building fund during a celebration of the Post's 30th Anniversary, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia

“The VFW exists to care for those who selflessly fall and sacrifice to protect the American way of life, a mission that won’t change any time soon. Every member of the VFW has served our incredible nation and we understand the sacrifices every veteran has made and what is needed when they return home. We understand because we’ve been there. We will never stop fighting for veterans because we are an organization that shares the bond of battle and what it means to put your life on the line for our nation,” said Ramos.

Rarefied air.