VFW National commander puts posts on notice


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“Below is a message from VFW National Commander John W. Stroud:

“I am extremely disturbed by the recurring reports from the field as well as the media’s portrayal of the VFW as an organization that is comprised of old and out of touch veterans who would rather drink in a dimly lit canteen than open their doors to our younger veterans. The VFW’s mission is far too important; our objectives and causes for which we work far too critical; and the current situation of the veteran population far too dire to let the negativity of a few divide us and dilute our efforts. We must empower the younger veterans to be forces of change within our organization while lending them the institutional knowledge to be effective leaders for future generations of veterans.

“The fact remains that the stereotypical, dingy, dark and smoke filled VFW Post and canteen do exist, but they have no benefit to our organization, provide no aid to our mission nor to the veterans we strive to help and serve. These Posts are in the minority of our organization, but in order to shift the paradigm we must challenge every member to hold their Post accountable. It’s time for our membership to be emboldened into action and to push their Posts to strive for the high ideals that the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States was founded upon.

“Accordingly, I am charging my current Department VFW Commanders to be advocates of change and to challenge the officers of the subordinate units within their command to be more than officers —  challenge them to be leaders cognizant of the current challenges today’s veterans face. To do this, our VFW Posts must change their operational tactics to better reflect the modern crises younger veterans are facing on their new ‘battlefield’ – the homefront.

“For those members and Posts who would rather serve themselves than the countless veterans who are in need, remind them that this organization exists for the benefit of all veterans rather than those of an entitled few. I want to make it clear that I will willingly provide my complete support to any of my Department Commanders who move to shut down any Post, or remove from our leadership roles, anyone that is not committed to the goals of the organization.  They simply don’t belong here. The need is too great for a dynamic and modern VFW that can continue to advocate and respond unhesitatingly to the needs of all veterans in the 21st century and beyond.  To do less, would be an unconscionable betrayal of our responsibilities as Americans and as veterans.”

John W. Stroud

VFW National Commander

NOTE: The above is from the PA VFW News E-Update. The publisher of Columbia news, views & reviews is a VFW life member as was his father, a now deceased World War II Veteran, who suffered multiple life-altering wounds at the Battle for Metz. My dad and I agree 100 percent with the preceding message. I have bold faced the type in the commander’s message.

NOTE A: My comments here and above are directed to all VFWs and to no specific VFW. Appearance and acceptance are standards that must be maintained. It’s extremely disheartening that national, state and local commanders of certain other veterans organizations do not have the courage and candor to issue the same decree to their member organizations. Specifically, veterans organizations with multiple records of alcohol sales and record-keeping violations and cloaked transactions.

NOTE B: The VFW Website states: “Simply put, the VFW strives to do good things for deserving people – our veterans, their families and their communities. From local grassroots ideas to national influence, we work every day to make a difference. It’s our strength as an organization. And, with each individual membership, we only grow stronger.”


One comment

  1. Great comments … and that’s how it should be. However, my personal experience was quite different than what I just read.

    Let me make it clear that what I’m about to relate was not concerning the VFW, but the American Legion.

    I wanted to join the American Legion upon being discharged from active duty in the Navy because I thought that was the thing to do. Although I didn’t drink, I still felt an obligation to support the military in every way possible.

    I was told that I was not eligible for membership because I hadn’t served in a combat situation; that I was a peace time member of the armed forces. I told the person that I wasn’t a history buff, but that I’d be willing to bet a huge sum of money that there was never a war that didn’t begin in peace time. That fell on dead ears.

    I left there feeling more angry than patriotic and swore that I would never contribute to the American Legion under any circumstances.

    Years later, these same people contacted me and told me that they would like to have me join their ranks, to which I responded “Absolutely not!” When they asked why, I told of my previous experience with them. I never heard another word from them.

    That being said, over the many years I’ve had a change of heart and I do appreciate the message that the VFW National Commander is putting out there. It is a change that has to be met if any good is to come out of his organization going forward. I hope he finds his membership standing with him as he endeavors to initiate a much needed facelift for his organization.

    I wish him luck.

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