Camptown VFW Post 1941 serves a pre-Mother’s Day breakfast

Photo by Chris Sykes
The members of Camptown VFW Post 1941, including its commander, Shawn Johnson, seated center, and Sr. Vice Commander William Powell, standing third from left, gather together on Saturday, May 13, following a successful pre-Mother’s Day Breakfast served at the post the day before Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14.

IRVINGTON, NJ — The members of Camptown Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1941 celebrated Mother’s Day by hosting a pre-Mother’s Day Breakfast at the post building on Chestnut Street on Saturday, May 13, the day before the official national celebration.

“We all have mothers and we all came here on earth from a woman, so it’s only right to celebrate Mother’s Day, and we took it a step further and invited the community into our house for this pre-Mother’s Day event,” said Camptown VFW Post 1941 Commander Shawn Johnson on Saturday, May 13. “We had a busload of senior citizens to come by. We had a lot of young youth representatives to come out and support. They actually went out and helped the ladies off the bus and they served the food and stuff. We had other mothers, such as the twins, come out and bless us with their presence at this pre-Mother’s Day event.”

The twins Johnson referred to are sisters Debra and Dorothy Bishop, who said they are mothers themselves and who came out to honor other mothers. Their brother, Stephen, is also a member of the VFW post.

“This is a very good thing that they did today,” said Debra Bishop on Saturday, May 13. “It was a very lovely thing they did today. They fed the senior citizens, the played the good music and everything. I liked it.”

Dorothy Bishop agreed with her twin and said she came out to “support my brother,” and Debra Bishop agreed.

“I’m a mother, grandmother and I come out here to be here and help all the mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers,’ said Dorothy Bishop on Saturday, May 13. “My sister’s a great-grandmother, too. It’s nice. I looked around and it’s nice. We come here from time to time. It’s nice.”

The twins said they didn’t know post members serve free breakfast to the public every Saturday, not just the Saturday before Mother’s Day.

“We didn’t know, but it’s a wonderful thing,” said Dorothy Bishop. “It’s beautiful. It’s great. Sometimes, you’ve got to do things from the heart. It ain’t always about something else.”

Camptown VFW Post 1941 Senior Vice Commander William Powell agreed.

“Today was a different community event; it was as community event where we had seniors come in. We had a busload and I forget the actual count, but from what I understand, we had like 80 come through,” said Powell on Saturday, May 13. “This is a continuing effort to give further support to the community. Letting them know that we are instrumental in seeing the well-being of society. That’s what our goal has been, since we became retired veterans. If it’s not the youth, then we try to promote the elderly.”

Powell said they didn’t consider the pre-Mother’s Day breakfast as an isolated event specifically to celebrate mothers, “because every day is Mother’s Day.”

“We actually serve every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon,” Powell said. “But this particular Saturday was geared to helping the seniors and I think the event turned out very well. Just as we are veterans and we will never stop being veterans, once a mother, always a mother. I don’t care if it’s not your child, you help to assist the wellbeing of another child, so every day is Mother’s Day. We actually would like to celebrate mothers every day, because they bring life into this world. Without mothers, what would we have?”

Powell used the old rhythm-and-blues song “I’ll Always Love My Momma” with the hook “she’s my baby girl” that perfectly sums up the spirit of Mother’s Day.

“You only get one life and you only get one mother, so those women should be celebrated every day of every year,” said Powell. “We have churches coming through on Sunday, May 14, and they will definitely entertain the fact that it’s Mother’s Day, so we’re looking for a lot of fly hats, a lot of fly dresses and a lot of fly ladies. Between Irvington and Newark, there’s a lot of good events happening in the city, so I think it’s going to be a joyous occasion.”

Chuck Jeter is not a veteran, but he’s an honorary member of the VFW Post who serve as the chef. That means he cooks all the eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, fish and other breakfast food that Johnson, Powell and the other post members served the seniors and mothers on Saturday, May 13, as they do every Saturday morning.

Jeter is also a freemason with the Prince Hall Masons in Newark and said he volunteers his culinary skills for the same reason that the Camptown VFW vets served their country and continue to do as civilians. He said they served the country and now he’s happy to serve them.

“I’m just more geared toward the community, being of service to my community and helping the veterans of this post,” Jeter said Saturday, May 13. “I feel very honored to be able to of their service, because they served this country and they fought for our rights, so as a way for me to give back, that’s what I do. I’m a Prince Hall mason and the lodge I belong to is Lincoln Lodge No. 2 in Elizabeth and that’s what we gear our service toward, is the community and helping out fellow brothers and sisters.”