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VFW’s See Decline In Membership

Posted at: 11/12/2012 8:11 PM
Updated at: 11/12/2012 10:20 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- VFW'S across the state, even the nation, have seen a decline in membership, even with more soldiers returning from war. That includes the VFW in Austin.

"Some of the clubs in the state, nationwide, have gone down, so naturally it's important for us to get people involved as much as we possibly can," said club manager of the Austin VFW, Bob Otterson. He's been the club manager there for 5 years and says membership has been shrinking.

"At one time, we were one of the largest club's in the state," said Otterson. He says the biggest struggle, is getting the younger vets to join. "As our members get older, some of the older veterans have gotten ill, or passed away, or whatever, and a lot of the younger members have not joined yet," said Otterson.

Disappointing to hear for veteran Scott Wiechmann. He feels it's a welcome place for all ages. "Absolutely, I mean we've got people that are here from WWII," and he pointed at his friend and joked, ".....and I think Ross over here was in the Civil War? " laughed Wiechmann.

A club to come to for friendship and comradery. "It's a place that they know they'll be honored for what they've done, thanked for what they've done," said Otterson.

The club is making changes to get more younger vets involved. "We're trying to hold more activities for the younger generation," said Otterson.

That's because members say, it's not just veterans that benefit. "Being in the VFW isn't just what you get from being in the VFW. A lot of the members give back to the community a lot and that's a big part of being in the VFW too," said Wiechmann.

The Austin VFW will be hosting their Christmas party December 1st, and they hope to see a lot of new and old faces there.