VFW Looks To Attract Young Vets To Join Ranks - WSPA.com

VFW Looks To Attract Young Vets To Join Ranks

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VFW Post #5206 is for sale.  Officials say a smaller building will better accommodate their aging veterans and dwindling membership. VFW Post #5206 is for sale. Officials say a smaller building will better accommodate their aging veterans and dwindling membership.
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. -

A "for sale" sign now stands in front of VFW Post #5206 in Hendersonville. Leaders say the chapter no longer needs such a large space.

"We are trying to downsize and keep the club viable for the generations that come after us," said Jim Young, Hendersonville's VFW commander.

The group has lost about half of its members in the past decade. Young says there are now less 500 active vets in VFW Post #5206.

"Our WWII veterans are getting older," Young adds.

And so are those who fought in Korea and Vietnam.

"Our honor guard in Hendersonville conducts over a 100 details a year," said Chick Evans who is retired from the U.S. Air Force.

VFW members like, Evans now find themselves in a battle to recruit young vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

He says new members are needed to keep the organization vital.

The problem VFW chapters across the nation are running into is that few veterans in their 20s, 30s and even 40s have time to join.

"Instead of coming to VFW, they are raising kids," Young said.

While Post #5206 will soon be moving, members say they're not leaving.

In the meantime, leaders are exploring different ways to recruit younger veterans to join the ranks of the VFW.

To Evans, age is only a number. He says veterans who served in combat share a unique bond and no matter with the Hendersonville VFW post is located, the camaraderie will always exist.

To become a member of the VFW, you must have received a campaign medal for overseas service; have served 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days in Korea; or have received hostile fire or imminent danger pay, according the national VFW website.

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