Post 304

1838 Generals Hwy
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-919-3700
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As VFW prepares to kick off its 125th year of service, VFW magazine is launching in this issue a “Destination Post Series.” The series will feature 125 VFW Posts located in sought-after tourist destinations around the globe.

Featured VFW Posts are those that make a real difference in the communi- ties in which the Posts are located. Not surprisingly, most of the VFW Posts mentioned throughout the series are All-American Posts.

The first destination VFW Post in this series is in “America’s Sailing Capital” — Annapolis, Md. Located one hour from Washington, D.C., and 35 minutes from Baltimore, Annapolis, the nation’s capital from 1783-84, is a top tourist destination.

VFW Post 304 members are out and about in Annapolis, which is how Post Commander Kurt Surber came to join VFW in 2007. A retired Army warrant officer, Surber was at the Anne Arundel County Fair where he visited the VFW Post 304 booth.

Then-Post Commander Ken Smith mentored Surber and took him to District meetings and Department of Maryland Council of Administration meetings.

In 2010, Surber, who served in Bosnia and Iraq, became Post com- mander and has held that position ever since. He also is in his sixth year as District commander.

VFW Post 304 members and guests prepare to greet visitors to their booth last September at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Manning the booth were, from left, Post Adjutant Sandra Salvatori, VFW Washington Office Executive Director Ryan Gallucci, Post Chaplain Frank Willoughby, Post Senior Vice Commander Mike Blackwell, Post Commander Kurt Surber, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief Carol Whitmore, Post 304 member Elizabeth Durand and a VFW member visiting from Pennsylvania.

Unlike many VFW Posts, VFW Post 304 does not have a bar or restaurant. It does not have regular hours. Members meet the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. to discuss how to best serve their community. If a member cannot get to the Post home at 1838 Generals Highway, the meetings are also accessible via Zoom.

“We are a no-stress, no-drama Post,” Surber said. “We are focused on the community and legislative activities.”

During the Anne Arundel County Fair each year, the Post is present for the five-day event. Members distribute VFW’s Buddy Poppies, VFW’s nation- al flower, and veterans’ benefits infor- mation. And just as Surber signed up for membership in 2007 at the fair, the Post recruits veterans for its roster.

Octoberfest is another popular fes- tivity in Annapolis, which means the Post members are present. Members regularly distribute Buddy Poppies at the Navy Exchange.

Surber said the Post is working to make a tighter connection with the United States Naval Academy, also locat- ed in Annapolis. Last fall, Post members had the opportunity to set up a booth in the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at the Academy before the season-opener football game. This was the first time Post 304 members had the opportunity to do this. VFW Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief Carol Whitmore also helped out at the booth.

Another key part of the Post’s com- munity involvement is its honor guard service. On a recent Friday, Surber said that four veterans were buried, and the VFW Post 304 Honor Guard per- formed the appropriate ceremony.

The Post is involved in VFW- sanctioned activities, too.

“We do all the youth programs,” Surber said. “We have a good tie-in with one of the private schools in town which employs a lot of veterans and Reserve members.”

Surber said that the Post’s nearly 200 members easily fill the positions because “everyone shares the load.” He especially credits members such as Mike Blackwell for the success of VFW Post 304.

“I’m still working full-time, and he is retired,” Surber said. “By working together, we can cover more territory and take care of more things.”

Why Visit Annapolis?

VFW Post 304 members tell VFW magazine readers why Annapolis is worth a visit.

“The bay itself is beautiful. The downtown area is so historic and has nice shops. Let’s not forget the proximity to Ft. Meade, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Annapolis has a small-town feel to it.”

VFW Post 304 Commander Kurt Surber

“City Dock, Ego Alley, the Alex Haley statue, and old, colonial buildings are some Annapolis favorites. Also, the Maryland WWII Memorial.”

Post 304 member Peter M. Speier

“Being an Army veteran, still in the Army Reserve, I didn’t know what to expect living in a ‘Navy town.’ I quick- ly learned that Annapolis embraces everyone in the military community. Its patriotism knows no bounds. It is close to rivers, Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean for water sports and leisure water activities. There are so many restaurants and bars, some in buildings that are centuries old.”

Army Reserve Maj. Michael O’Neill

“One of my favorite things is the Unit- ed States Naval Academy’s Division 1 college athletics. Also, eligibility to join the Fleet Reserve Association with the club facility on Ego Alley.”

Post 304 member Mike Blackwell

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ANNAPOLIS

  • The city draws more than 4 million visitors each year. It was once known as the “Athens of America.”
  • Annapolis was first called Providence. Its name was later changed to Annapolis in honor of Princess Anne, the future queen of England.
  • The nation’s third oldest college is in Annapolis — St. John’s College, founded in 1696 as King William’s School.
  • Annapolis was the country’s capital when the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Revolutionary War.

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