The December 2011 fire that tore through the Howard-Lathrop Post 2307 VFW in Lynbrook destroyed nearly everything in its path and left veterans with a long road to restore their “second home.” Patches, plaques and photos were all lost in the blaze, but members of the Lynbrook Fire Department did save some of the post’s most prized possessions: photos of the men who the post is named after, Frank Howard and Howard Lathrop, and the post’s charter.
A few weeks after the fire, as VFW officials were devising a plan to rebuild their post, Pat Cardone, the post’s commander from 2007-2012, told the Herald that saving the photos of Howard and Lathrop, as well as the charter, “was huge for [VFW members].”
Now, as the building is ready to reopen its doors, the two photos and charters will be proudly displayed once again.
The charter was granted in 1932 largely through the efforts Major Daniel S. Serr. To decide a name for the newly-formed post, the names of the first two men from Lynbrook that were killed in action during World War I were selected: Frank Howard and Howard Lathrop.
Both Lathrop and Howard were members of the 106th Infantry, 27th Division.
According to a statement prepared by Cardone in 2007 for the post’s 75th anniversary, the Lynbrook VFW used fundraising and hard work, with the help of volunteers, to purchase a plot of land on Merrick Road. In 1961, the plot was sold to Liberty Insurance Company and the post relocated to its current location at the corner of Merrick Road and Vincent Avenue, which was also erected in 1961.
Due to an increase in membership, an extension was added in 1966, which was followed by the purchase of a neighboring parcel of land in 1971.
Following World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, membership at the post continued to grow, Cardone, a veteran of the U.S. Marines who served in Operation Desert Storm, said.
In his 2007 address and during the rebuilding process since the fire, Cardone has said it’s important for the Lynbrook VFW to reach out returning veterans in order to support them.
Memorial Day is a time for the community and nation to come together and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that others can live freely. For veterans and residents in Lynbrook, the memory of Howard and Lathrop will continue to live on at the VFW always.