His last rank was sergeant E5, and he was an 0341 infantry mortarman.
After he returned home, Villalvir joined VFW Post 2348 in Astoria, where he now serves as commander. He first got involved in 2014 after one of his buddies from boot camp asked him to join.
“I liked the connectivity,” Villalvir said. “It kind of felt like we were back in the service, the brotherhood and sisterhood were still there.”
As commander, Villalvir leads a VFW post which was first founded in 1932, with one of the youngest memberships in the entire city.
It’s also likely one of the most active. The VFW hall is used for flag retirement ceremonies with the Boy Scouts, offers free yoga and pilates and hosts the Queens Craft Brigade one Sunday every month.
They also host the local Alcoholics Anonymous group, Astoria Mothers and Astoria Historical Group. They even host dungeons and dragons.
“Other veterans organizations also come to collaborate with us,” Villalvir said. “We try to create an inclusive environment where we all come and feel like a family.”
That’s one of the “best things” about the post, he said. Though everyone has their own families and careers –– Villalvir works as a corporate banker for Bank of America –– they all work together on a common goal.
“That’s something that the old-timers taught us,” he said. “We come here and contribute not just to ourselves, but also the community.”