Cold War Veteran Takes on VFW in Alabama


Cold War Veteran Looks for Legal Help in Fight Against the VFW
by Kristina Morgan Barker  

Luis Canales, 46, of Seale, Alabama is a prime example of an American veteran. He is determined, tenacious and has suffered hardships but he is trying to overcome them, and he needs help.

Luis is Hispanic and a disabled Cold War veteran who was proud to serve his country.  

Ironically, in the very country he was willing to serve, he has been banned from the VFW post 5180 in Seale, Alabama for being Hispanic.  

When I was Senior Vice-Commander at VFW Post 5180 a Vietnam veteran asked me to investigate the eligibility of three members. One was a convicted felon, one had held an elective office was not eligible to be a member but he owns the building and so members do not care. The third person was a Commander for two years and he was not eligible so they kicked him out. But after being kicked out he still handled Post funds for the VFW. They said I was just causing problems because of the investigation.

Well, you know what they say. A lie will go so far then truth will always show its face. I was banned from my VFW Post home for being Hispanic. I was called person of color, sand person of color and faggot. I have also received death threats. The VFW organization has not helped me in any way, says Canales…


Canales took his case to court where he fought his local VFW, case CV-03-F-248-E, for three years without an attorney. He finally received help in the form of an attorney named Lisa L. Ward from the NAACP.  

Canales says, Ms. Ward called me on April 5th, 2005 to say my case was all right. Two hours later I found out my case was closed in November of 2004! My soup-sandwich of an attorney didn’t know about my case because she was arrested for fraud in November of 2004.

Canales’ motion to put aside final judgment to judge Mark E. Fuller was denied. Canales contends that the NAACP is also responsible because they assigned Lisa L. Ward, who had been arrested for fraud previously, to his case.

Judge Fuller had to have known that my attorney was arrested for fraud and he should have granted my appeal.

Canales, who is living on a fixed income and barely scraping by, had to save $255 to appeal to the 11th Circuit. He found an attorney who was willing to represent his appeal but he had to come up with $5000a lot of money for any disabled veteran. Canales applied for a loan at his bank but his attorney says it will cost another $3000 to reopen his case.

Not a quitter, Canales went back to the NAACP and took it to various news stations. 

Bill Madison told me on the air to just get over it. Fox and the local TV news stations said they are not going to run my story.

When asked what he wants out of the lawsuit against the VFW Canales replied, I want the VFW Post 5180 to follow the by-laws of the VFW and do what is necessary to fix the Post. I was good enough to pay about $400 to be a lifetime member of the VFW. I have a campaign ribbon, and a DD-214. I’m entitled to go to that Post and I can’t.   

The VFW is there to help our veterans, not to discriminate against them or ban them for doing their job. Luis Canales needs legal help. If you or someone you know is willing to represent Luis at no charge, then please get in touch with him at [email protected] or call him ASAP at 334 – 855 0136.      


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