Mon Valley veteran elected to top office at state VFW convention
First Iraq War vet named as Department Commander
Last updated 6/14/2022 at 11:05am
A local veteran with Mon Valley ties and first from the Iraq War was tapped as commander during the 2022 Department of Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary Convention.
West Mifflin resident Henry R. Mannella was elevated to VFW Department of PA State Commander. He won election June 11 at the Wyndham Resort and Convention Center in Lancaster, Pa.
A life member of VFW Post 1810 Brentwood in Allegheny County's VFW District 29, Mr. Mannella now heads the 60,000 members that make up the Commonwealth's largest group of combat veterans.
"I'm grateful and honored that I've been given this opportunity," said Mr. Mannella. "Pennsylvania has always honored those who've served in uniform, and the VFW here has been in the forefront in caring for our country's veterans."
While in the Army, Mr. Mannella deployed with the 107th Field Artillery Regiment, 28th Infantry Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has held a variety of successive officer positions at his home post and through the state level. Most recently, he served as the VFW Department of PA Senior Vice Commander. He has also organized a number of VFW events for fellow Mon Valley veterans, such as a Veterans Information Fair at the United Steelworkers Local 2227 Hall, West Mifflin, Pa., in 2019.
Mr. Mannella said that he intends to continue to reach out to fellow veterans – just as those in the VFW helped him and his family after his tour in Iraq.
"I will encourage members of the VFW to be more active in contacting all veterans who've served," he said. "We need to get the word out that we are an organization that promotes youth and scholarship programs, vocational and medical benefits, pensions, and a variety of other services that young veterans and their families should be using to help make the adjustment to civilian life easier."
Founded in Pittsburgh more than a century ago, the VFW is the country's largest organization of combat veterans. Approximately 400 posts across the state currently belong to the VFW Department of PA, with nearly three dozen of these in VFW District 29.
Through its community service projects and scholarships targeted towards veterans and their family members, the VFW Department of PA donates more than $15 million each year. Its full-time cadre of service officers that work for all veterans at no cost connected more than $30 million in benefits to eligible former servicemembers in 2021.
Membership to the VFW is open to all United States citizens - regardless of race, gender, color or creed - who have served honorably in the armed forces, have been awarded a campaign or expeditionary medal, served on occupational duty, or can document receiving hostile fire pay.
For more information about the VFW Department of PA, visit the group's website at: http://www.vfwpa.org.