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Recruiting new members for VFW not an easy task

Photo by Brian Hansel Jimmy White is commander of Post 3922 and recruits new members.

Wadena VFW Post 3922 Commander Jimmy White calls it "a tough row to hoe."

The Wadena post has 381 members but the job of recruiting them is becoming increasingly difficult.

White is up against a foe that might be unbeatable. He is trying to recruit members from the young ranks of soldiers that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan - the men and women who are veterans of foreign wars.

White has been recruiting new members for the Wadena club since 2004.

"I've done the best I can to recruit new members," White said.

The best White can do has earned the Wadena post three membership ribbons.

Fifty years ago, life was not as fast-paced for returning soldiers. Most families had one bread winner and it was not difficult to join a volunteer service organization like the VFW. In fact, it was a great way to contribute to the community and establish good social and business contacts.

The civilian world that soldiers are returning home to now is far more complex. Most families have two parents working. If they have kids they have to find time for them as well.

White is proud of the VFW and the local club.

"We put on a lot of activities and we have a monthly news letter," White said.

The VFW is involved in youth hockey and youth baseball in Wadena. White even joined the Chamber of Commerce.

The VFW organization runs a program for servicemen called "Unmet Needs" and another called "Operation Uplink" which provides them with a chance to call home from their deployment area free of charge.

"I've tried to change the perspective that it's not just another place to drink," White said.