VFW calls for members
Published 8:37 am Wednesday, June 8, 2016
By Carson Reeher
The Charlotte Gazette
It’s not too late for Charlotte County to resurrect their Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post. Post 8902, located in Keysville, is seeking new members to help sustain the organization.
On Saturday, VFW State Membership Chairman Tommy Hines and Chase City VFW member Robert Tucker met with three active members of the post to discuss ways to bring the organization heightened membership.
The organization is seeking to bring in younger members and create a more family-oriented atmosphere. According to Hines, members’ families are encouraged to be involved with VFW programs and fundraising. Hines emphasized that the VFW gladly welcomes female veterans as well as male.
Tucker said, “I think the message we need in every community is there are a lot of younger veterans from the Gulf War down to today, (who) need to be members. If they’re not 100 percent active in the post, they still need to be members.”
“The lack of numbers means that we can’t do fundraising events or charity events. We can, but it’s just a handful with two or three of us. It’s hard for two or three people to sustain various programs. 10 percent or less do all the work,” said Garland H. “Butch” Hamlett, a member of the post. “The burden is greater than what we can endure.”
VFW is involved with numerous community centric programs including,scholarship contests, honoring teachers with awards, awarding the “Scout of the Year,” distributing buddy poppies, leading programs with youths and funding memorials.
The VFW also meets with members of the state and federal legislators to voice concerns for veterans and make sure they receive benefits.
To be eligible for the organization, veterans must have received a campaign medal for overseas services, have served 30 consecutive or 60 nonconsecutive days in Korea or have received hostile fire or imminent danger pay, according to the VFW website.
The annual dues for Post 8902 are only $33 a year.
With membership, veterans have access to discounts through businesses such as hardware stores, rental car companies, hotels and more, according to Tucker.
“The key is numbers,” Hamlett said. “If we get 10 or 15 new members every month we’ll be happy.”
Hines said, “The posts do so much work for their community that it’s just invaluable.”
“The question is why haven’t you joined? It’s a question I think they need to ask themselves. It takes people to make things change. If people don’t be a part of organizations, then nothing will change and everything will be the same,” Hamlett said.
According to Hines, they will be recruiting for the next 90 days in an effort to revitalize participation and membership in Post 8902.
“Not saying that it won’t go away or will go away, but we’re going to make an effort to get some fresh blood in here to help these guys out.” said Hines.
On Saturday, June 25, Post 8902 will be at the Keysville Food Lion, located on King Street, from at 10 a.m-2 p.m.
They will be answering questions, providing information and recruiting new members.
For more information or to become a member of Post 8902, contact the post at (434) 736-0000 or Hamlett at (434) 568-6451.