HILLIARD, Fla. – The leader of a Hilliard Veterans of Foreign Wars post is hoping to get Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attention, urging him to let the nonprofit reopen its doors to veterans.
David Lewis, the commander of VFW Post 10095, posted a video to Facebook on Thursday. He said that he believes since posts in Florida closed due to COVID-19 that it’s played a role in the mental health of veterans.
“For the past two months, since ordered to close, I’ve personally seen an increase in depression among our veterans," Lewis says in the video. “We’ve all been trained to complete a mission. We have a mission. To take care of our veterans. But our mission has been put on hold and is actually at a complete stop right now.”
Lewis points out that keeping doors closed keeps veterans away from mental health counseling and financial services. He says the reason the post can’t reopen is due to the liquor license.
“Yes we have a liquor license, and yes we have a bar by definition, we call it canteen. Due to this fact, all veterans organizations are grouped into the bar category," he says. “I’m asking that you consider taking immediate action today to allow us to reopen.”
Lewis said if his post doesn’t reopen soon that paying bills will be a struggle.
“We need to be open to be able to serve, and we need a source of income,” Lewis said. "We have no source of income at this time.”
With DeSantis being a combat veteran himself, Lewis hopes he’ll understand.
“A lot of people are depending on us, and I pray you will consider allowing us to do what we do and to continue our mission,” Lewis said, before pausing to salute the camera. “Thank you, governor, and Semper Fi.”