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VFW’s Finding New Ways to Attract Young Veterans

Aired 5/28/12 on KPBS News.

Over the last few years, California Veterans of Foreign Wars has seen a drop in its membership. Its now trying to attract younger veterans to the organization.

California has the highest number of veterans in the country, but only about ninety-thousand belong to VFW posts. As World War Two veterans die, VFW State Adjutant James Rowoldt said it's increasingly important to attract younger vets, and their families. Rowadlt joked that in order to do that, it may mean changing old perceptions about VFW posts.

"I use a story for somebody bringing their child into a VFW post that has a canteen and they're making a little noise as children will and some old guy at the end of the bar said 'get these kids outta here'," said Rowoldt. "It's time to get the old man out of the bar and bring families back in."

Rowaldt said VFW's are also trying to attract young vets to virtual online posts, rather than posts based in buildings. The state of Texas launched the first virtual VFW post just this year.

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