In its 110-year history, Veterans of Foreign Wars posts never attracted a higher percentage of military veterans than from the ranks returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.|
Yet local and nationwide VFW membership continues to decline as the overall eligible population shrinks and the youngest veterans choose work and family before membership, leaders say.
Those who do join frequently find themselves disconnected from older veterans, if not outright discouraged, leaving longtime members to hold the fort and hope interest will grow over time for the new generation, as it did for them.
Navy veteran Gilbert Grylls, 66, said a few dozen of his 400-plus post members are veterans of recent conflicts.
“They’re sitting around with a bunch of old men, who technically have nothing in common: What do they talk about?” said Grylls, Augusta-Staunton Post 2216 commander. “They don’t come to the post because we have nothing to offer them. I’m working on that.”
Steadily declining membership at posts here and across the country — the ranks at VFW posts nationwide thinned by about 6 percent from 2007 to 2008 to 1.6 million — have some commanders worried about the future of the organization. Nationwide membership peaked in 1991 at 2.2 million.
Read the full story at NewsVirginian.com.
Labels: feature, The News Virginian
by Tony @
: comments: 0