In a part of the world dotted with posts and service organizations catering to active duty military and veterans, it may seem difficult to find a way to stand out. But a small Veterans of Foreign War post just outside of Crestview defined its own niche.
In a move that predates most of the current members, VFW Post 5450 apparently proclaimed itself the "Friendliest Post in Florida."
That was, until very recently, posted on its Facebook page. A sign on the building, which is on U.S. Highway 90, labels it the "Friendliest Little Post in Northwest Florida."
Current commander Warren Wiedemann is new to the area and to the post. He good-naturedly identifies himself as the commander of the friendliest post, while admitting that he's not sure how the post earned that designation.
"We've been asking some of the gentlemen who have been around for a while," he said. "We haven't come up with what the origin was.
"The ones who actually know the answer may not be around anymore."
Wiedemann, who is one of the youngest members at age 43, says his post has been reaching out to young families and even built a playground behind the post. They are friendly, he said, but stopped short of comparing his post to others in the Panhandle and the state.
"We try to live by it," he said of the motto on the building. "We're a very family friendly place."
Folks at other area posts say that while they don't want to be selfish, they're pretty sure their posts are just as friendly as 5450.
"We are friendly here," said a bartender at one in the south end of the county. "Everybody is just like a family over here. Everybody knows each other and tells their stories."
And out in Mary Esther, the Spectre Post commander, Mike Dorris, got on the phone personally to share his thoughts.
"I think I can speak for most VFW commanders in the state of Florida, everybody thinks they're the friendliest post in Florida," he said.