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Published November 11, 2010, 10:08 PM

Veterans Say VFW Losing Membership

The VFW is a place that's special to many Veterans, but Veterans in East Grand Forks said that seems to be changing.

The VFW is a place that's special to many Veterans, but Veterans in East Grand Forks said that seems to be changing.

"I think everybody here, they figure it's their VFW," said Benjamin Smith, a former VFW Commander in East Grand Forks.

Catching up with friends was what a group of Veterans did on Veterans Day.

It was a small group, barely filling the VFW in East Grand Forks.

"I don't know if there's a whole lot we can do about it. We're getting older and..we're starting to turn in," said Leo Tupa, a Veteran of the Korean War.

Finding new members to take their places is getting harder every year.

"The Young Veterans, they have families to raise, jobs to go to. They don't have time. I don't think they really understand what the VFW really stands for," said Smith.

New Veterans not joining can be a bigger problem than just low membership for the VFW.

"Those Veteran numbers are what the politicians look at," said Korean War Veteran Ardell Buchholtz.

Politicians look at the numbers for funding purposes and Veteran benefits. Buchholtz said these decrease as membership goes down.

"That's what is going to help those people coming home, maimed.. Well all you have to do is pick up papers everyday to find out what's happening to those Veterans coming home," said Buchholtz.

"We need to make sure the legislators don't forget about us Veterans. They will if you give them a chance," said Smith.

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