VFW moves into American Legion building

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STANDISH — Due to dwindling membership and financial reasons, the Standish Veterans of Foreign Wars has relocated and will be sharing a facility with the American Legion Post 104.

The VFW made the move Jan. 1, and all upcoming and future events will still be held as scheduled but just at the American Legion building.

While the groups will be sharing the building, both organizations will still function as they have been.

The American Legion is facing the same challenge of dwindling membership as the VFW, VFW and American Legion member Bill Daniels said, and sharing the building will cut expenses for both groups, making it easier for them going forward.

“With our membership at the VFW, for the most part our members are getting older, and the younger generations, we don’t have many of them joining,” Daniels said. “The ones that are qualified just aren’t joining.”

On the state and national level, the VFW has been implementing advertisements and other programs meant to encourage younger veterans to get involved in their local post, fellow VFW and American Legion Marty Metiva said. However, on the post level, not much is being done partly due to the old age of current members.

“We aren’t doing as much as we used to do,” Metiva said. “So we don’t necessarily meet young people. We don’t circle in that social group. If we had 15 or 20 member who were in their late 20s and mid 40s, I’m sure we’d be doing a little better with membership.”

Another factor contributing to the decline in membership may be social media, Daniels said, which puts less emphasis on places or clubs that facilitate social interactions, such as the VFW and American Legion.

“You don’t have the people going to these clubs and stuff like they used to,” Daniels said. “It used to be a gathering place and people would go there, visit and solve some of the world’s problems so to speak. Now, it’s so much on social media and texting, Facebook, and you just don’t have people that go to clubs like that.”

Going forward, both members said they saw the move as mutually beneficial to both organizations and will allow the VFW to function with less expenses.

The VFW is considered the largest and oldest war veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces.

To qualify to be a VFW member, one must have served in the U.S. armed forces in a war, campaign, or expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters.

To qualify to join the legion, one must have been assigned to at least one day of federal active duty service any time during the eligibility periods as determined by U.S. Government, and received an honorable discharge, or currently serving in one of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The American Legion, partnered with the Home Depot Foundation, recently renovated parts of Post 104, including new flooring, updated bathroom facilities and new walling Nov. 1.

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