Magazine article VFW Magazine

Growth through Action

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Growth through Action

Article excerpt

The vibrancy of an organization may be judged by its membership size, but its legacy is measured by its deeds, not its words.

VFW is at a crossroads. Two wars are raging. Military and VA medical care are making national newspaper headlines. Politicians of every stripe profess to have the best interests of veterans at heart. Congress claims to want legislation to benefit returnees from the war zones. Public polls purportedly show widespread support for the troops.

In this atmosphere, veterans groups should be thriving. After all, this is what we exist for-this is our time to shine. No doubt about it, VFW recruitment efforts have made headway among this youngest generation of war veterans. Post support efforts for hometown units are noteworthy. Initiatives launched from national headquarters are paying dividends in the field.

But a spark is missing. You would think we'd be making even greater strides in attracting younger members. The potential pool, while not massive by past war standards, is certainly substantial. Modern media tools enable us to reach out like never before. But the national news media is selective when it comes to covering the efforts and pronouncements of veterans organizations.

In this type of media environment, we have to be willing to take public stands on controversial issues of the day. It is the only way to generate sufficient publicity to attract veterans paying attention to the news. Firm stances translate into potential members.

But above all, this requires emotional, energizing issues around which veterans can rally. …

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