Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Local veteran appointed to district task

Stephen Kemp never really expected to be appointed as a national aide-de-camp with the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The longtime accountant knew the percentages weren’t really in his favor.

“I was surprised when I opened the letter,” Kemp said. “I wasn’t expecting it ... I wasn’t even trying to work for it. I was just trying to keep our post in proper order, doing everything that needed to be done.”

That’s the reason Kemp was nominated despite being in Portales’ Post 9515, one of the district’s smaller posts.

As a national aide-de-camp, Kemp will do general tasks for the various posts and act as a liaison to other districts, the state department and Commander-in-Chief Ed Banas.

“It means if one of the other posts needs help,” Kemp said, “I have to render whatever help they need.”

The job itself isn’t glorious, Kemp and Post 9515 Commander John Marsh admit. The appointment, however, is a high honor, they said.

“The biggest thing is the recognition,” Marsh said. “We’re a non-profit organization, we take care of veterans.”

Marsh was elated when he found out about the nomination in late March.

Post 9515 has about 135 members, Marsh said, approximately one-tenth of the membership for Clovis post 3280. The district includes another post in Clovis, and posts in Tucumcari and Santa Rosa.

“We don’t really compete, we’re all together,” Marsh said of the district’s posts. “But for a small post to get recognized is excellent. It means we’ve really worked hard.”

The appointment should not keep Kemp from his regular duties at the post, which includes accounting for membership dues and most of the post’s paperwork.

Kemp, the senior accountant at La Casa Family Health Clinic, said he works 10 to 20 hours a week at the post.

Kemp served four years in the Navy, including a two-year stretch in the Vietnam War from 1965-66.