Florence Feldmeier retired from her career as a banker years ago.
But the 92-year-old Maeystown woman continues to stay active with the countless hours she volunteers at the Waterloo VFW.
“I just love to be helping people,” she told the Republic-Times as she donned her kitchen apron at the VFW hall during Charlie Metzger’s 65th anniversary with the VFW. “I love to work. That’s why I’m here tonight.”
Feldmeier began serving with the Waterloo VFW Auxiliary — she currently serves as its chaplain — about 45 years ago. Thirty-one years ago, she took over as chairman of the Red Cross blood drive hosted at the VFW. She continues to coordinate the biannual event as well as serve the VFW’s traditional ham salad recipe that draws people to donate.
“That’s our drawing card. People really like that,” she said, reluctant to share the recipe with the newspaper. “That’s something we keep kind of a secret.”
In addition to making the ham salad, Feldmeier must coordinate moving the tables and chairs to make room for the Red Cross, among other activities, and she must do so twice a year.
“I’ve always got enough help that I don’t have to do it all myself,” she added.
But her service to veterans carries on outside of the VFW, as she also helps the Jefferson Barracks Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis with donations. Feldmeier said the center received $2,400 in donations from the VFW Auxiliary for the holidays.
In recognition of her efforts to help the hospital, Feldmeier received a voluntary service certificate from the Department of Veterans Affairs earlier in the month. VFW Auxiliary President Carol Schilling presented her with the award.
“I have a great admiration, respect and love for her,” said Schilling, who began working with Feldmeier in 2007. “She is devoted to the VFW and auxiliary. I am sure I still don’t know everything she does for the VFW.”
Past auxiliary president Laurie Sparwasser has also worked closely with Feldmeier and concurred with Schilling about her character.
“She’s always at the VFW doing whatever she can, whenever she can,” Sparwasser said. “She’s just a wonderful person. She’s a wonderful helper. She’s just great to be around.”
Anyone who sees Feldmeier at every Friday fish fry would agree that she puts her heart into volunteering. She also commits to helping at weddings, anniversaries, Christmas parties and other events at the VFW.
“I just love to be (at the VFW) and keep the post and auxiliary going,” she said.
The 92-year-old’s milestone also comes on the heels of the Waterloo VFW celebrating 70 years in existence. When asked how much longer she would volunteer, Feldmeier, who has served the VFW for a majority of its lifespan, said “until I can’t anymore,” thinking in terms of death or severe health problems.
Hopefully, that’s not anytime soon.