The Wayne County Commissioners accepted the deed to the VFW Post building in Hawley, Tuesday.


The Wayne County Commissioners accepted the deed to the VFW Post building in Hawley, Tuesday.
Transferred for one dollar, the former VFW headquarters will continue to serve senior citizens in the Hawley area, as well as be available for veteran functions. In honor of the late Robert J. Drake, whose name adorned the Post headquarters, the Commissioners approved naming the facility, the “Robert J. Drake Senior Center of Hawley, Pa.”
On hand was Joseph Drake, who with his brother Robert and Edward, all served in World War II. Joseph was a charter member of Post 5823, which was organized in about 1947 largely through the efforts of his brother Robert. After Robert died in 1965, from his war-inflicted injuries in the Pacific Theater, the Post was named the Robert J. Drake Memorial Post 5823.
About 35 years ago, the Post started renting the building overlooking Bingham Park, to the County for senior citizen programs.
In recent years, Post membership had declined, and early in 2008, the few remaining discussed transferring the building over to the County. In June, the charter for Post 5823 was voluntarily relinquished to the national VFW office. Since then, County solicitor Lee Krause has been working with the VFW to have the deed transferred.
The Post’s’ Ladies Auxiliary was necessarily dissolved as well.
The Hawley Senior Center is very active, indicated Andrea Whyte, administrator of Wayne County Human Services. They have noon time meals Monday through Friday and a host of activities. Drake said he was concerned that the VFW would sell the property and perhaps a less than desirable use would begin in the old Post home. The VFW had evaluated the property at around $250,000, said Drake. He said 10th District Commander Kenneth West was very persuasive at the state level to get the VFW to approve the transfer. In the meantime, Senior Center functions continued.
Whyte stated that for these past 35 years or so, the Hawley VFW and the Aging office has enjoyed cooperation, trust and openness.
Drake served as Post quartermaster.After his service in the Army in the European Theater, he served in Hawley several years in the Post Office and was postmaster.
Krause noted that the VFW monument will remain and any request by the VFW to use the facility in the future, would certainly be honored by the County. Commissioners Tony Herzog and Wendell Kay heartily agreed (Chairman Brian Smith was not present at the meeting). Drake expressed his deep appreciation to the Area Agency on Aging and the Commissioners.
Whyte said she expects to have a ceremony at the facility on Veteran’s Day (November 11).