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Pontious first female VFW officer

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By Panzi Blackwell

About 10 years ago, Robyn Pontious was home on leave when she attended a meeting of VFW Post 9770 with the thought of joining.

“I was still in the military and Sam Miller (a Brownstown man also serving in the armed forces) asked me if I had ever thought about joining the VFW. He told me a little bit about it, so I went ahead and signed up,” she said.
“I had about two years left in the military and when I got out in 2008, I became really active in the VFW. It has been 10 years since I joined, and I’ve been really active in it for six years.”
Robyn was in the Navy for six years, serving as an intelligence specialist. She was in Washington, D.C., the first two years, then traveled extensively, spending the last two years in England. She feels like she has traveled just about everywhere.
She saw some warfare as she worked and flew with a crew “quite a bit” in a patrol airplane that was flying to countries like Afghanistan and Africa.  
Joining VFW Post 9770
“I really enjoy the VFW,” Robyn said, admitting that she was at first hesitant to become a member.
“I really wasn’t sure at first, because I was the only girl and I didn’t know how that was going to be, or if it would be something that I would enjoy doing."
But after being active in the organization for some time, she has high praise for not only the good Brownstown VFW Post 9770 does, but also for the members.
“It’s a really good group of guys,” she said.                       
And Now
Robyn is the first female officer for Post 9770.
“I take over Jim Rine’s position, who is the quartermaster, in June,” she said.  “He handles a lot of the paperwork – the new memberships, keeps track of the different things that we have, keeps the books.
“He has done this for a lot of years and he really knows what he is doing. He is retiring from it and I try not to look at (all he does) too much, so I won’t get really overwhelmed. His are really big shoes to fill,” she said.
She is hoping the post will bring in new members. They have a new building now, which was badly needed, and she has hopes that will attract the younger veterans of the more recent wars.
She plans to contact Carl Rhodes and Gene Beckman of the new Veteran’s Outreach Center in Vandalia to see if they can help out there.
Honor Flights, School, Job, Etc.
Since returning home, Robyn has been heavily involved in the Honor Flight Program, having made numerous flights with local veterans, and no doubt will continue to be involved with the program.
Robyn works at the Academy in Nokomis and is also working on her master’s degree.
She praised the Post 9770 members for all the work they do.
“This is a small town and we have a small post, but the guys work really hard and do so much,” she said. “They really put their heart into it, and I think it shows.
With her spirit, ability, integrity, patriotism and her compassion for all (especially veterans) and a commitment to duty, the confidence placed in Robyn Pontious is not misplaced
Memorial Day Program
One of the most visible and appreciated things they do is hold the annual Memorial Day program at the Veterans’ Memorial Wall at the park in Brownstown.  
It makes such a reverent impression that people from surrounding towns attend it every year. Although it is held by VFW Post 0977, many in the community are also involved, young and old.
This year, the 19th annual Memorial Day program will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday.
Robyn has been a part of the event for several years, and as for this year, “I’ll be there,” she said.