VFW seeks new members

This display of both American and Viet Cong military memorabilia greets visitors to the Fulton VFW Post on Collier Lane. VFW leadership seek younger veterans of Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan to bolster the group’s ranks and ensure that it stays active as its World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans age.

This display of both American and Viet Cong military memorabilia greets visitors to the Fulton VFW Post on Collier Lane. VFW leadership seek younger veterans of Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan to bolster the group’s ranks and ensure that it stays active as its World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans age. Photo by Dean Asher.

Larry Underwood wants you to join the Fulton VFW.

In addition to their long-standing goals of helping veterans receive recognition and benefits for their service, Post 2657 is seeking to breathe new life into its aging membership base.

Underwood, the post’s senior commander, said that its World War II and Korean War veterans are aging to where they are no longer able to be as active in leadership, and Vietnam veterans such as himself “can’t run it forever.”

“This used to be a big organization,” Underwood said, “We used to have lots of members. (Younger veterans from recent wars) are aware of us, but I don’t know if they’re aware of our services.”

Membership dues help pay for a veterans services officer who helps veterans apply for and receive disability and other various benefits at the VA hospital in Columbia.

They’re services that Underwood said are surprisingly in demand for younger veterans of more recent conflicts.

“People are coming back with arms and legs missing,” he said. “In terms of the trauma, these have been worse than Vietnam, in my opinion.”

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