Longview VFW Post in danger of closing
Longview — UPDATE: KETK got a call just before our 5 p.m. newscast from Post 4002's Senior Vice Commander Jimmy Martin.
He said the officer positions that were vacant have been spoken for by at least one person, and he has now agreed to take over the commander position, which should keep the post afloat for now.
We also spoke with the quartermaster of the Texas VFW Roy Grona shortly before airtime.
He said if in fact all of the officer positions do get filled at post meeting Thursday night,which is at 7 p.m., it's up to the members to decide whether the post stays open.
At one time, it was one of the largest VFW posts in the state.
But now VFW Post 4002 in Longview is in serious danger of closing.
One member tells me the problem isn't the number of members, but the number of members who are committed and active in a post that's been going since 1945.
Korean War Veteran Joe Crenshaw served three terms as the Commander for Post 4002.
At one time, he said the post, located on Ambassador Row had almost 1,000 members.
But even then he saw it coming.
"The ones that built the post and all, we're getting old and have health problems, and were not able to be as active as we were for many many years," Crenshaw said.
He says the post received a letter from the state a few weeks ago, stating the current commander is resigning, the senior vice commander declined to take over the position, and another officer is also stepping down.
"[The problem is]the lack of young, active members," Crenshaw said. "And of course that's our fault, or partially our fault, for making the post more of a watering hole more than an active post like we had at one time. "
If all 10 of the officer positions aren't filled at an election meeting Thursday night, a vote will be taken to voluntarily surrender the charter and close.
"It's heartbreaking to see this post give up," Crenshaw said. "And be so helpless really so many of us that created it to start with."
Dan West with the Texas VFW says many posts across the state are having trouble staying open because of the sheer statistics.
There were 16 million veterans of the World War II generation.
The number of veterans from 1946 up to today doesn't even come close to comparision.
He says the key is for local posts to continue to do things to attract the younger generation of veterans.
He adds that several across the state in rural and urban areas are actually doing very well.