Magazine article VFW Magazine

A Post for the 21st Century

Magazine article VFW Magazine

A Post for the 21st Century

Article excerpt

Changing our ways, in some respects, will be necessary to ensure future growth in membership and influence.

To attract the two-thirds of living veterans who are eligible for VFW membership, we must adapt to a changing world. That means abandoning the thinking of the 1960s and 70s.

Translated, this requires creating a Post atmosphere hospitable to entire families. This is imperative when you consider that 60% of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans are married. Many, of course, also have children.

Convert your Post home to a day care center, fitness club and/or a cyber café, and you are liable to see an astounding change in clientele. But first you must ban indoor smoking. The days are over when 20% of the membership can dictate norms to the remaining 80% majority.

Another vital step is refocusing our efforts on purely veterans programs. At least 51% of a Post's outreach should be directed at benefiting the needs of veterans. Examples of such benevolence abound throughout VFW ranks.

For instance, VFW Posts collectively contributed $560,000 to the Departments of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to aid veteran-victims of last year's Gulf Coast hurricanes. Every corner of the country participated in fund-raising and providing in-kind contributions for their fellow vets.

Over the past four years, the tiny Department of Delaware has donated some $200,000 to Operation Uplink, VFW's popular free telephone-card program. Post 2238 in Shreveport, La., is helping to build a $300,000 home for a paralyzed Iraq War veteran. …

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