Margo Sheridan
Past Department Commander - Army

Age 69, died on April 27, 2020, and was reported deceased by the VFW Department of South Carolina (where she lived when she passed) via the Department of Virginia.
INSIDE NOVA Article: New State VFW Commander Broke Barriers on Way to Leadership Posted by SCOTT McCAFFERY, August 12, 2012
When she became the Virginia State Commander, 99 percent of Veterans of Foreign Wars members were men.

Margo Sheridan, installed as state commander in June 2012, said the general reaction to her elevation as the first woman to hold the post at times has been cautious but generally receptive.

"People are very supportive," Sheridan said during an interview at John Lyon VFW Post 3150, tucked away between the Courthouse area and Lee Highway. "They're looking for someone who will get out and lead."

As for those in the organization who might question a female leader? "We deal with that a member at a time," Sheridan noted with a little twinkle.

Sheridan, who has been a member of Post 3150 for two years after nearly a decade as a member of a post in Fairfax County, had no opponent in the statewide leadership election. After rising through leadership ranks, she most recently served as senior vice commander of the organization.

One of Sheridan's goals as state commander is to change public perceptions of the VFW and other veterans' groups.

"It's not a bunch of old guys smoking and joking and telling war stories," she said, pointing to Post 3150's extensive community involvement and its growing ranks of younger veterans.

"This post makes them feel welcome," she said of the younger members, saying those new members were "very, very enthusiastic" and had helped to invigorate the post.

Sheridan, a Burke resident, said she switched from a post in Fairfax County to Arlington's Post 3150 because She liked the members.

"They're friendly; they've got a forward-thinking view of the world," Sheridan said. "They're not stuck in the past. It's a post membership that is willing to listen."

Sheridan joined the U.S. Army in 1975 as an E-1 finance specialist, looking for a steady paycheck and the chance to complete college. She commissioned a second lieutenant in 1977 after attending the first co-ed Officer Candidate School in  Army history.

Rising to captain before leaving active duty in 1984, Sheridan served in the Army Reserve until retiring as a colonel in 2006. Her service in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003 made her eligible to join the VFW, but a chance encounter led her to the decision.

Sheridan lent her daughter her desert-combat uniform for Halloween, leading to a discussion about the organization with a neighbor. She joined shortly after that and has been active ever since.

"In my view, nobody does more for veterans than the VFW," she said. "We are the voices of veterans; we advocate at every opportunity. Every member of the VFW is a spokesman."

Virginia has just over 150 VFW posts, and though her year as state commander is just starting, Sheridan finds herself on the road – and on the phone – dealing with a wide range of issues.

"A good bit of it has been a surprise, [especially] the workload," said Sheridan, who juggles the duties with her day job as director of financial operations and comptroller of the U.S. Coast Guard. "Any member of the VFW feels entitled to reach out and contact me directly. I try to help them."

The National Veterans of Foreign Wars traces its history to the Spanish-American War. Today, the organization and its auxiliaries have more than 2 million members.

John Lyon Post 3150 was established on Armistice Day, November 11, 1934, in honor of Army Lt. John Lyon, a 25-year-old Arlingtonian who was killed in action in France during the last month of the war. Since 1945, the post has occupied its current location, formerly home to a Nazarene church.

At the same ceremony that installed Sheridan as state commander, Catherine Graham of Post 3150 was elected president of the Virginia VFW Ladies Auxiliary. That marks the first time since the mid-1950s that two post members have occupied the top positions during the same year.

Among Sheridan's ongoing initiatives are recruiting more female members ("I'm working on it," she promises) and encouraging a diverse array of veterans to consider membership.

"We need a mix," she said. "We need to have different perspectives. There's a niche for everybody – everyone's got a way to contribute. We love them all."

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