Magazine article VFW Magazine

Close Relationships with Active-Duty Troops Propel Top 10 Post

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Close Relationships with Active-Duty Troops Propel Top 10 Post

Article excerpt

Proximity to an Army base has been a boon for recruiting at Post 9972 in Sierra Vista, Ariz. It finished last year as the fourth largest VFW Post with 2,079 members. The formula for building membership is fairly simple, according to Post Commander Jim McCormick.

"Our Post is located next to the U.S. Army base at Fort Huachuca," he said. "Many of our members work at the fort and routinely meet with soldiers who are not members and ask them to join."

McCormick, who is in his first term as Post commander after holding several Post- and District-level positions, said the daily contact with active-duty troops is invaluable. As a result, about half of the Post's members are under 50 years old.

"Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will be running the organization someday, and they eventually will be the majority of VFW's membership," said McCormick, who served with the Army's 1st Bde., 2nd Armored Div., in 1991's Persian Gulf War.

He added that recruiters at Post 9972, home to past VFW Commander-in-Chief and former Adjutant General Allen "Gunner" Kent, don't discriminate when looking for new members.

"We ask male and female veterans about joining," McCormick said. "Currently, our Post has two female veterans as elected line officers and another woman is an elected line officer in our District."

McCormick said he and Post Quartermaster Roland Fuerst estimate that women comprise about 10 percent of Post 9972's members.

McCormick added that there is "no secret" to retaining those members.

"We encourage all new members to sign up for life memberships," he said. "We find that they are very receptive to the one-year payment plan."

McCormick stressed that his Post's relationship with active-duty troops at Fort Huachuca, located about 75 miles southeast of Tucson, Ariz., and some 15 miles north of the Mexico border, is not just about filling membership rolls. He said it's important to give back, too. …

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