SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Ketchikan VFW Provides Many Services & Activities
Hosting First Annual Teen Dance on New Year's Eve


December 20, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - "We're more than just a bar, and we want people to know that," said Ken Horn, Commander of Ketchikan's Veteran's of Foreign Wars, Post 4352.  Horn, a Navy veteran who came to Ketchikan in 2000, is married, with five children.  Employed at our local Coast Guard base by the Department of Homeland Security, Horn first served as the Senior Vice Commander for the VFW from 2002 to 2003, eventually taking over the office of Post Commander which he holds today. 

jpg VFW Commander

Ken Horn, Commander of Ketchikan's Veteran's of Foreign Wars, and Tod Willis Ketchikan's Veteran's of Foreign Wars Senior Vice Commander.

The current Senior Vice Commander, Tod Willis reiterates what Horn said, and added, "We have made many improvements to the post in the past year.  In the downstairs alone, we purchased a big screen TV, installed new smoke eaters, new carpeting, new tables and chairs and added wireless internet service along with a computer for members to use free of charge." 
As we tour the second floor, the smell of fresh paint lingers in the air.  Many improvements have been made there as well.  The freshly painted walls shine under the new lighting.  There is a brand new dance floor that covers approximately one third of the room and the rest of the area has new carpeting.  New chairs were also added, as well as newly installed smoke eaters.
More than a bar, more than new tables and chairs, the VFW is the oldest veteran's organization in the country that was established in 1899 to provide service to our country's veteran's and their families.  There are over 9,000 posts around the world where veterans can find camaraderie in the company of fellow vets.  All members are sworn to maintain true allegiance to the Constitution and laws of the United States and to defend her from all enemies.
The local post in Ketchikan was established in October 1945 and is named in honor of Ragnar Myking who served in the war during Pearl Harbor and was later killed in action. 
The VFW is steadfast in its goal; to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead through acts of remembrance, to preserve and defend the honor, integrity and rights of all veterans and those currently on active duty,  to foster patriotism through education and by volunteering within the community and to advocate a strong national defense.

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Just just a few of the photographs of veterans displayed on the
walls of the Ketchikan's Veteran's of Foreign Wars.
Photo by Marie L. Monyak

These noble goals are visible right here in Ketchikan when we see the VFW members placing American flags on veterans graves on Memorial Day, marching in the 4th of July parade, selling buddy poppies to raise funds for veterans' programs and sending care packages and phone cards to our troops overseas.   There are many ways the VFW contributes to the community, as well as its affiliates.  Members and officers make monthly visits to the Pioneers Home, teach flag awareness and patriotism in our local schools, visit with veterans and their family members who are hospitalized, as well as provide sponsorship or donations to local causes.
"Ragnar Myking Post 4352 may have over 400 members, but 92% live outside of Ketchikan, Metlakatla and Prince of Wales Island," Horn proudly stated, "our post has members from all over the country."  When asked if the number of members fluctuates much, Horn replied, "Our WWII and Korean veterans are dying off but we currently have seven active duty soldiers in Iraq that will be returning to Ketchikan"  "We don't have a very large pool of veterans in Ketchikan, not like Anchorage or Fairbanks," he added.  Horn did mention, "I would like to see more female veterans join, as it's just as much their club as anyone's."

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Dining area and dance floor.
Photo by Marie L. Monyak

Senior Vice Commander Willis points out, "We want to remind people that we currently have a Ladies' Auxiliary and are in the process of establishing a Men's Auxiliary, anyone that is interested in joining should contact the post."
Willis is eager to get the word out that the post serves food daily and is open to the public. Only the bar area, is restricted to members and their guests.  Lunch is served six days a week, replaced by brunch on Sundays.  Friday night dinner is "Cook's Choice" with the proceeds benefiting the Ladies' Auxiliary.  Saturday night is Prime Rib or Steak Night which benefits the post.  Horn chimed in, "Don't forget to let people know that the VFW is hosting its First Annual Teen Dance on New Year's Eve for ages 14 through 18."  The alcohol free event will take place in the newly remodeled upstairs dance hall.   
The VFW is active in numerous programs such as; providing support for our active duty troops, offering scholarships for high school students, lobbying government agencies to support veterans causes, distributing pre-paid calling cards to hospitalized veterans and troops overseas,  paying homage to vets on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, supporting memorials to war veterans through substantial contributions and many more worthwhile and honorable endeavors.
It's through these activities that the VFW truly lives up to its motto, "Remembering the dead, by helping the living."  

The VFW is located at 3113 Tongass Ave Ketchikan and they can be reach at 225-5510.


Marie L. Monyak is a freelance writer and a veteran living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
This freelance story was commissioned by SitNews whose publisher,
Dick Kauffman, is also a veteran.
Contact Marie at

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