Magazine article VFW Magazine

Certified Recruiters Say Women Eager to Join VFW

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Certified Recruiters Say Women Eager to Join VFW

Article excerpt

Eight women recruiters share their thoughts on attracting female veterans to VFW ranks.

It should surprise no one that women veterans want to join VFW for the same reasons as men. Those trained to recruit new VFW members say the organization's veterans service work, community involvement, lobbying on Capitol Hill, youth development programs and camaraderie are all popular with young vets of both genders.

"People want to belong to groups of like-minded members," said Joan Luna, a Persian Gulf War vet and VFW certified national recruiter from Post 4183 in Scott, Ill. "Veterans are no different. They want to give back to other veterans. Potential members realize what a great opportunity VFW offers them in terms of networking and meeting others who can help them."

Several of the recruiters say female vets are eager to join VFW.

"I think it's important for women vets to stand up and become a part of their local VFW to make a difference and change the stereotype," said Dania Corral, an Iraq War vet and member of VFW Post 2378 in Berwyn, Ill.

Teresa Harshman, a Persian Gulf War vet and member of Post 5689 in Burney, Calif., noted that women share a strong bond with their male counterparts.

"Women, just as men, join for the benefits and camaraderie," she said. "Just as the military was once considered a man's world, VFW was the same way for years."

Several of the certified recruiters, though, remarked that attracting potential members is hampered by the perceived stereotype of a typical VFW Post.

"Some have said to me, 'Why do I want to sit around and drink and listen to old war stories?'" said Patricia Werner, a Persian Gulf War vet from VFW Post 52 in Stockton, Calif. "If you can get past those perceptions and have them really listen to what we do, it's easier to get them interested."

Sandi Clum of Post 3547 in Ely, Nev., concedes that it's difficult to change long-entrenched views of VFW, even within the organization. …

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