VFW post in Montgomery County struggles with alleged theft by one of their own
A Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post in Montgomery County is reeling, after the man in charge of their finances was arrested for grand larceny.
Kevin Bishop, 55, is accused of making $1,300 in cash withdrawals from the organization’s account. He was processed by State Police in Fonda on Saturday, and released on an appearance ticket.
The commander of Glen-Mohawk VFW Post 942 in Fonda said he would like to upgrade the ramp outside, build a new lift for veterans with disabilities, or be able to afford a fresh coat of paint for the gathering spot enjoyed by the community of mostly older veterans.
That’s why, he said, it’s a disappointment that those plans are on hold because of someone he thought had the same respect and reverence for the VFW.
Commander Thomas Crosier said at the end of last year, the books weren’t adding up.
“I was in disbelief. Then I was like, ‘Well, there’s got to be a reason for it. There’s got to be explanations, receipts, something,’” said Crosier.
Only, he said, there were none from Bishop. Crosier and other members are grappling with why one of their own would take advantage of their trust.
“I mean, it’s probably just greed,” he said.
All the more disappointing, because of the code of honor that exists between the veterans who served the country overseas, and have forged a community back home. Crosier said if Bishop or anyone needed help paying the bills, members would help in a heartbeat. Crosier is a Marine Corps veteran who served in the late 90s and early 2000s.
“Everyone knows everything’s going up, everyone’s feeling it, and especially, we’re feeling it, I can tell you that,” he said.
The VFW routinely gives back to the community. They offer a scholarship to a local high school senior, sponsor two families in need at Christmas, donate to the Veterans Miracle Center, which helps veterans and service members afford basic items.
“Everything we get, after we pay our bills, there’s a good portion of that money that goes right back out to the community,” Crosier said.
With a long maintenance to-do list, it’s clear the organization puts its own needs last. Crosier said the bar is caving in, the cable breaks, and he would like to mend the breaking blacktop outside. He watches mostly older veterans volunteer to keep the place going.
“He’s a serious guy, and he’s in his 80s now, parking cars for pennies on the dollar, just to get enough money let’s say, for paying the NiMo bill, or paying the propane bill to keep the heat in the place,” Crosier said, describing the average member.
Membership at VFW posts across the country is on the decline. Crosier said veterans post-9/11 are more hesitant to join. Membership at Post 942 is down from about 100 last year, to 77 people. Mostly older veterans drink and laugh there. The average age of a member is 67 years old. They use it as an anchor and a constant after what they’ve been through. Perhaps most importantly, they bond over the shared value of service.
The post also hosts celebrations of life, weddings, spaghetti dinners and Super Bowl parties in its hall. You can contact the VFW at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bishop was released and given a ticket to appear in the Mohawk Town Court in February.