The news is not good for the fate of a Warren County organization which began 72 years ago with the goal to support local veterans and their families.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5064 has lost its Auxiliary. The program came to an end Thursday night with a vote of 8-7 in favor of disbanding. Members met Thursday at the Moose Lodge to determine the organization’s fate.
“It’s sad and it breaks my heart,” said VFW Auxiliary president Sarah Conner, who voted to end the program. “Those of us who’ve been struggling over how to keep the Auxiliary in place are heartbroken. There’s only been four or five of us who’ve stepped up and tried. We didn’t want this, but there was just nothing else we could do. We fought it as long as we could.”
Since 1949, the VFW Auxiliary has strived to improve the lives of veterans, service members and their families, and the community. Originally called Ladies Auxiliary, men were accepted several years ago and the name was changed.
Conner says lack of participation was an obstacle that could not be overcome. She adds that even with a threat to disband it did little to provoke much of a response from current members.
“Everyone, absolutely everyone, received a letter about the meeting to end the Auxiliary,” said Conner.
“We sent letters to lifetime members and all the annuals, along with state and district people. Even with that, and a push by Phyllis Barnes, only 15 voting members came. I’ve been the president for years. Most of the seven who voted against this, I haven’t seen at a meeting in years,” Conner said
Barnes, who voted to keep the program in place, voiced a desire to begin a new VFW Auxiliary.
“I’m not happy about this,” she said. “Veterans and their families need us. This vote didn’t go our way, but I’m not willing to give up. I need 10 members and we can get a new Auxiliary started up. We can do this.”
Those eligible for membership are fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, widowers, widows, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, grandfathers, grandmothers, grandsons and granddaughters of persons who were, or are, eligible for membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
If you wish to be a VFW Auxiliary member, Barnes can be reached at (931) 934-3219 or (931) 808-5970.