James Ballentine “Uptown” VFW Post 246

James Ballentine “Uptown” VFW Post 246 is a Veteran non-profit organization based in a recently renovated mid-century building. The original ballroom is now a 440 capacity music venue and nightclub. We feature three bars and a restaurant in the same building. The karaoke bar has been featured on Esquire TV’s Best Bars of America and remains untouched by any major remodeling since it’s establishment in the 1950’s. Voted “Best Party Bar” by City Pages Best of the Twin Cities 2017 and “Best Karaoke” several years in a row we offer local, national and international acts, of all genres, 7 nights a week!


Our Post provides a crucial link between veterans and the Minneapolis community. We have a new age feel with old school principles. Our goal is to provide a place for veterans to belong and have a sense of responsibility, engagement, and comradery post military, while enhancing the local community.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a nonprofit veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces.

We trace our roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans’ pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves.

In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations that would eventually band together and become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Today, membership stands at nearly 1.7 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliary.


To foster camaraderie among United States veterans of overseas conflicts. To serve our veterans, the military and our communities. To advocate on behalf of all veterans.

Core Values

  1. Always put the interests of our members first
  2. Treat donors as partners in our cause
  3. Honor military service
  4. Ensure the care of veterans and their families
  5. Serve our communities
  6. Respect the diversity of veteran opinions


William Kettle

William Kettle

Post Commander

William ``Winston`` Kettle was raised in Bloomington, MN. Graduated from Jefferson High School. Joined the Navy Seabees in 1987 as a Builder. He attended the University of Minnesota and has been the owner and operator of William Kettle Construction a general contracting firm since 1990. He deployed with the Seabees to Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan in 2011. He retired in 2017 as a Builder Chief Petty Officer. He lives in Savage with his wife of 20 years and their three children.

Gabe Thomas

Senior Vice

Gabe Thomas served as an infantryman in Iraq, March 2006 - July 2007. The longest single deployment in the war on terror. He honorably discharged as an E5. As Sr Vice Commander, my goal is to get our membership up to 100%. along with finding new members, work on strategies to boost membership retention. The goal is not just to find fellow vets and get them signed up, it is to find way to keep them involved with the VFW and our community.His hobbies include hockey, fishing, the outdoors and his dog Stanley. He considers himself a Coors Light enthusiast, and is currently ICU RN at Regions hospital in St. Paul.

Eric Swenson

Junior Vice

Eric served with the Marines and the Army over a period of 16 years. In 2000 he enlisted in the Marines in the infantry and was assigned to the 1st FAST Company. With this unit he deployed to Guantanamo Bay and East Asia. He was then assigned to the 1st Marine Division for the rest of his time in the Marines. After finishing college, he became an ordnance officer in the Army. During this time, he deployed to Kuwait as part of Operation New Dawn and supported the draw down from Iraq. Eric retired from the Military in the fall of 2016. His goal while Junior Vice is to assist the commander in preserving order and continue to improve the community outreach of James Ballentine VFW 246. His hobbies include IT, hoppy beer, and video games. He also responds to ``Duke of the Internet A Number 1``

Auxiliary Leadership

Renee McCloden


Renee's primary goal is to support veterans families and provide much needed services which not only meet basic needs but more importantly allow for quality of life.Renee qualifies for VFW Auxiliary life membership under her husband for his service in Just Cause and Desert Storm as well as by her paternal grandfather for his service in WW II.Renee is an IT professional who loves her family, awesome husband, and amazing step kids! She plays tennis and love donating time and energy to the best VFW ever, Post #246

Paris Magee

Senior Vice

Paris is committed to honor and respect our Veterans in any capacity possible. After her cousin, Marine Corporal Taylor J. Baune, became the 2,000th American to die in the U.S War on Terror in Afghanistan and subsequently watching his family suffer their loss, has only strengthened her dedication to our Veterans and their families. Paris joined the Auxiliary through the eligibility of her Father, Gerald C. Magee WWII, Seabee Sargent of Arms U.S Navy. Paris enjoys traveling the world. She's traveled extensively in South America, United States, Middle East, throughout Europe and as far eastern as India. Paris also enjoys the local ``lake life`` and take advantage of her families resort that they bought forty years ago.

Success Stories

Dollars at Work

4400000 $ in monetary aid to veterans, active-duty military and their families
878349 volunteered hours in VA medical centers, hospitals, nursing homes and veterans homes
145550 legislative contacts to help pass or block important bills affecting veterans and their families
126000 $ awarded in scholarships
336400 youth worked with across America
292781 U.S. Flags Distributed