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VFWs Struggle for Recruits - KOAM TV 7

VFWs Struggle for Recruits

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COLUMBUS, KANSAS -

The Veterans of Foreign War has operated as a community and service resource for military vets since 1899.

But in recent years, posts across the country are struggling to recruit younger members. 

Steve Davis says a lot of younger vets have the wrong idea about the VFW. 

"I know a lot of people think alls it is is a bar, and all we do is drink and tell stories," Davis said. "And there is a bit of that. But our deal is also to be a community service."

He's the Quartermaster at the Columbus VFW. The Veterans of Foreign War offers aid and services to veterans and military families. Davis says along with parades and community events, the Columbus post helps veterans secure health care, benefits, along with helping funeral ceremonies. But it's limited by a lack of recruits. 

"Out of our 15 guys that are active, maybe half of them can't walk the whole distance in a parade," Davis said. "And depending what the weather is like at our funeral services, it's kind of hard for them to stand out there. So, yeah, we'd like to get more younger ones to help participate in them things." 

It's a struggle facing VFW posts throughout the country and here in the four states.

"Here for a while it was doing good just to keep the doors open and the bills paid around here," Davis said. "A lot of guys, the young ones, they just don't want to belong. Some of them are busy with family and new jobs so they don't have the time to put in."

The VFW as a whole has focused on younger recruits. The Columbus post is adding meeting times to accommodate younger vets, while making an effort to do more outreach. Something Davis says will need to work if the 75-plus year old post will survive. 

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