- Club 38 is an American Legion Post striving to keep its doors open.
- While membership numbers have declined, they are determined to engage younger veterans and advocate for the benefits they deserve, along with contributing to local activities.
- Hear from members about why Legion's mission of mutual helpfulness is crucial to their commitment to veterans and their families.
(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)
Club 38 isn’t just another bar and grill or just another Legion. It’s an American Legion family. So, veterans and their family members are all post members, but membership numbers are still going down and it’s affecting the club. I’m Olivia Acree, your Appleton neighborhood reporter talking with them about what they’re doing to try to fix that and keep their doors open.
By definition, The American Legion is “a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness.” If you didn’t know exactly what the Legion was, don't worry. Either did Vice Commander Jarrod Coulter.
“I had no idea what the Legion was about. I used to live basically across the street drove past this post time and time again,” said Coulter.
But his stepfather joined and loved it and eventually Coulter found that the legions' passions matched his own.
“Proud to be advocating for veterans as well as educating youth,” said Coulter.
Post 38 is a little different from others. Vice Commander Jan Hoffman told us they’re open to more than just veterans.
“It is true truly a family organization,” said Hoffman.
And they’re not closed post. They want the community involved.
“Good for all veterans to get involved and for the community to see us involved,” said Hoffman.
And you don’t have to be a combat veteran. They welcome all vets, but still membership isn’t what it used to be.
“A decade ago, here on a Friday night you’d be three deep at the bar waiting to get the fish fry. We don’t quite have that problem right now,” said Hoffman.
They aren’t the only ones. Posts across the country have had to close because they can’t get enough people in their doors.
“Leadership from the top down recognizes the issue and is modifying their approach to engagement with younger veterans,” said Coulter.
Club 38 doesn’t want to close their doors.
“We’re not going up in membership real quick but certainly were staying even,” said Hoffman.
They consider that a win for now, but they want younger veterans to hear from them about just why they should join.
“We think about the folks that have sacrificed years of their lives. Advocating for them to get the benefits that they deserve and are entitled to is meaningful to me and that’s a big part of why I’m in an American Legion. We get the bonus of all of the local stuff as well,” said Coulter.
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