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Veterans of Foreign Wars post prepares to celebrate 80th birthday

Veterans of Foreign Wars Pacific Beach Post 5985, now nearly 400 members strong, started out humbly with just 37 ex-servicemen in 1930.

On Friday, the post, which also serves La Jolla, Clairemont, Mission Bay and Bay Park, will celebrate its 80th birthday with a prime rib dinner with all the trimmings for post members and their families.

“We’ll have special music and dancing following dinner in celebration of our birthday,” noted post member Jack Porath of the special occasion.

Porath talked about what makes his outfit special.

“We are the fourth-oldest post in the (VFW) 1st District in San Diego, which has 32 posts,” he said, adding 5985 is known for the worthy community causes it supports. “We provide scholarships for children grades 7 to 12,” he cited as one example.

Veterans of Foreign Wars, District 1 of California, chartered on June 20, 1949, is part of the oldest major veterans group in the United States, according to the district’s Web site. In 1899, 13 former Spanish-American War soldiers formed the forerunner of the VFW in Columbus, Ohio. The site says membership in the VFW is the most exclusive of all U.S. veterans organizations because it demands service overseas in time of war or international crisis to qualify.