Vets seek members to open VFW

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Local veterans are seeking members to open a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Salem.

emblemAccording David Perkins, who served in Iraq, the group currently consists of a large number of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans, with a smaller number of Vietnam, Korea and World War II vets.

Any veteran who has served his or her country during a time of war is eligible to join the VFW.

“We haven’t reached our numbers yet,” said Perkins. “The VFW requires a certain number of people to establish a post. We haven’t reached that number yet, but we are close.”

At least 15 additional members are needed to be eligible to open a VFW post in the area.

Perkins said they are striving to make the post community service oriented, with an emphasis on veterans helping local veterans.

“Some plans that we already know of include taking veterans to their appointments, or helping out around the house,” Perkins said. “Right now, it’s small stuff, and as we gather numbers, I think bigger things will come. We look to do pretty big things once we get the post established.”

“If there is a need, we would love to hear from people,” he added.

Nationally, the VFW’s 1.7 million members volunteer over 8.6 million hours of community service a year, and provide over $3 million in scholarships and savings bonds to students. Over the years, the organization has also been instrumental in improving health care for veterans.

However, Perkins said what really makes the VFW special is the since of community it provides.

“Most people are looking for a comradeship that they experienced in the military,” said Perkins. “You have the comradeship, but also those that have served in combat can share their experiences with others that served in combat, and set up kind of a family support.”

While the emphasis is on service projects, Perkins said the post will also provide an opportunity for veterans to relax and have a good time with likeminded people. He said the group is in the process of planning outings such as hunting and fishing trips.

“Spending a lot of time on base, you don’t know a lot of people, but over time they get to be a lot like family,” he said. “We’re trying to foster that.”

Perkins said the group hopes to establish the post by November. Right now, they are looking for somewhere in downtown Salem to open temporarily, but would like to be able to purchase a permanent location within the next couple of years.

“The more people the merrier,” he said. “A lot of these guys are excited about the direction that it is going to go.”

If interested in joining, contact David Perkins at jdperkins3@cox.net.