VFW's struggle to attract younger vets to join - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

BELTON

VFW's struggle to attract younger vets to join

Posted:
BELTON -

Membership at many Veterans of Foreign Wars posts is declining as they struggle to attract younger vets to join.

The VFW serves as an advocate for veteran's benefits and a place for to them to relax with other vets.

Membership has declined over the years as older veterans from World War I, II, Korea and even Vietnam vets continue to age and slowly pass away.

VFW's in rural areas like Westphalia are hardest hit and there are talks to combine that post with one in temple. 

Local veteran Martin Arellana says he believes the generation gap is one of the main reasons current vets aren't joining.

"Older vets don't get involved with social media so the veterans that are young and into that social media don't always want to be around the older generation. They kind of want to commute with each other," Arellana.

District 14's Commander Rodger DeWeese says more posts are now creating their own websites and social media pages to reach younger veterans but it's still a struggle to get them involved.

"These younger soldiers and young veterans have families to raise, kids off at baseball and softball and all their other sports and full time jobs. They just don't have the time to devote to running and being part of an active organization," says DeWeese.

Arellana aggress new vets don't have the time because their busy trying to reintegrate into civilian life. While rural posts are closing, posts in larger cities like HarkerHeights, the largest in district 14, are growing. The post in Harker Heights has more than more than 1,200 members.

DeWeese encourages young vets to join even if they can't go to meetings because he says the more members they have, the more weight they carry in the nation's capital when they fight for veteran's rights and benefits.

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