Magazine article VFW Magazine

We Saved It

Magazine article VFW Magazine

We Saved It

Article excerpt

About 20 years ago, VFW counted nearly 10,000 VFW Posts worldwide. Today, that number has dwindled to about 6,300. Posts go defunct for many reasons, but according to Membership Director Rick Butler, it's usually because the members who keep the Post operating eventually wear down.

"If the core of the Post dies off or are in poor health, it probably seems easiest to just shut the doors," Butler said. "But it doesn't have to be that way."

He cited Post 6651 in Wilson, N.C. It mustered on April 8, 1946, and thrived in its community for years. Recently, however, it has suffered. The Post commander had to have his leg amputated, and no one else stepped in to fill the role.

According to Elree Smith, past Department of North Carolina commander, the Post's downfall accelerated after that. In 2016, it became inactive.

"Wilson has a big veterans' population," said Smith, of Post 10999 in Raleigh, N.C. "We made a decision to keep it going. We made the effort, and we saved it."

The "we" refers to Smith, North Carolina District 3 Commander Walter Pridgen, District 4 Commander Tom Toler, past District 7 Commander Willie Robertson and Department Membership Chairman Enrico Dalimonte.

The group spent more than 10 days purging the Post home of trash and unnecessary items. They discovered that records and financial documents were catalogued as far back as the late '50s.

"If the commander had stayed healthy, I'm confident the Post wouldn't have gone inactive," Smith said. …

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