Some Service Clubs Struggle On Independence Day - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Some Service Clubs Struggle On Independence Day

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. The Crookston VFW Club may have to close its doors, after opening in 1936.  However, that Club isn’t alone. Many Service Clubs across the Valley and around the Country are struggling.

  Generations of folks around Crookston have attended all kinds of celebrations and parties at the Crookston VFW, since it first opened its doors in 1936.

Pam Delage, Auxiliary President: “Ron and I had our wedding here in 1969 and we had our 40th Anniversary here 5 years ago.”

  But, now the Club is facing 30-thousand dollars worth of debt. Members will be receiving letters asking for donations and fund raisers are planned, but the Clubs future remains uncertain.

Ron Delage, VFW Commander: “We got behind on bills and taxes and it doesn’t pay to keep the doors open right now, because we’re just going farther behind.”

  What’s happening at this Crookston VFW Club is happening at other Service Clubs across the Valley and around the Country. They simply aren’t getting enough new members.

  Members here… recently tried to recruit new members at a booth setup during a recent Crookston event.

Darrell Johnson, VFW Member: “Sat up there for 4 hours on Sunday, talked to all these Iraq and Afghanistan Vets and we couldn’t get one to dign up. They figured it was too expensive. They were young and married.”

  I talked with a couple of younger Vets, who declined to appear on camera. They say many of today’s veterans perceive service clubs as just another place to pay dues, at a place they may use once a month.

Ron Delage: “I think we sign up 3 people a year is about it now.”

    Membership at that Crookston VFW has fallen from 450 in the 1980’s to 200 today.  A few Service Clubs around the region are bucking the trend and doing well. Some Communities have combined several Service Clubs into one building.

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