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Get Involved!

 

Benefits of Membership:

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See why becoming a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is important and can provide you with:

  • Camaraderie and fellowship that comes with being a part of the nation's largest group of combat veterans - you earned your eligibility for the VFW.  Why not join now to help the VFW advocate for the assistance and programs all veterans need.

  • The VFW provides assistance for veterans seeking benefits that you are entitled to through Post and District Service Officers and the Department Veterans Service.​

  • Numerous discounts by various VFW vendors providing services for travel, insurance and health care plans for you and your family.

 

Why become a member of Bartlett VFW Post 11018:

 

  • Participate in numerous community activities including Bartlett Memorial Day Walk, Hanover Township Operation Support Our Troops event, Bartlett Fourth of July Parade, Veterans Day activities including visits to local elementary schools in Bartlett, Hanover Park and Wayne.

  • Participate in a joint honor and color guard composed of members from Bartlett VFW Post 11018 and Bartlett American Legion Post 1212 serving veterans and their families at veteran memorial ceremonies including veteran homecomings, wakes and funerals.

 

Membership Application:

 

If you are interested in membership in the Veterans of foreign Wars, please click on the membership application tab, print a copy of the membership application and complete as necessary.

 

 

 

 

After completing the membership application, please date and sign the application and return same with a copy of your DD 214 or other document showing decorations, medals or other proof supporting your eligiblity for membership in the VFW to:

 

Bartlett VFW Post 11018

Attn:  Chuck Gerlach, QM

P.O. Box 8412

Bartlett, IL 60103-8412

 

If applying for an annual membership, please include a $33 payment, which is payable in cash, check or credit card.  The annual membership dues are always subject to increases in dues at the post, department and/or national levels of the VFW.

 

However, if you prefer to become a life member of the VFW, you will never be subjected to future membership dues increases.  The life membership payment schedule is provided on the membership application for your reference and can be paid either in full or on an installment payment plan as shown on the payment schedule.  If you decide on the installment payment plan, an initial payment of $45 is required with eleven equal monthly payments based on your age on December 31 in the year of life membership application.

 

Congratulations on taking the step to become a member of the VFW, either as an annual member or a life member; either way you will become part of the largest combat organization in the world.

An Editorial

 

OPINION: Young Veteran, Why Don’t You Care?

 

By Keith Lucas

 

A disturbing trend is showing younger military veterans falling away from Veteran Service Organizations. It’s time to address this issue at the local level.

 

I recently read an article “Why are the younger Veterans avoiding the Veteran Service Organizations (VSO),” written by Les Davis, a National Recruiter for AMVETS.

 

Before I get to the specifics of the article, I want to give my background. I am a 37-year-old veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2004), that is very actively involved in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). I am also a very busy husband and father, who works as a web designer.

 

The above-mentioned article basically criticizes all Veteran Service Organizations, like the VFW, American Legion, and AMVETS for failing to do enough to attract younger veterans. My first reaction was “yes…they don’t do enough” and I agreed with most of the suggestions for improvement. I shared it with a group of fellow veteran leaders. One of them said, “I am so sick of this crap.” This caught me off guard and I was rather confused at first, but he further explained that he was tired of hearing the negatives; the why veterans are not joining instead of the why they are or why they should. His feedback got me thinking about it, and I decided to write this counter article. I’ll be honest, I point the finger at my fellow younger veteran, not the VSO.

 

So why are my fellow young Veterans avoiding VSOs?

The top excuses I have heard are:

 

• “I am too busy. I just don’t have the time right now.”

• “I don’t have the money right now.”

• “I don’t see what I get for joining.”

• “I don’t want to be the only female.”

• “I didn’t feel welcome there.”

• “I don’t like long meetings.”

• “I don’t need help with VA stuff.”

 

When did we as veterans start thinking like this? When did we become so entitled, to the point that “what’s in it for me” is most important? Why do VSOs feel they have to give you a free gift to get you to care about helping our fellow veterans?

 

It’s not just Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that are avoiding the VSOs. Vietnam veterans are staying away too. I won’t pretend to act like I know what it felt like when they came home. My homecoming was a celebration, that hasn’t stopped. But how is avoiding other Vietnam veterans and younger veterans helping?

 

We need you, frankly you understand the hell some of us experienced better than anyone.

Instead of dwelling on why my fellow young veterans are not joining or why they seem to have chosen not to continue to serve, I will attempt to express why you need to join a VSO now, not later.

 

Reason 1:

Duty… the required amount of time needed to be a member of a VSO is exactly zero minutes. When you join and do nothing but pay your approximately $30 per year, you still help the organization. When the VFW goes to Washington to fight for your benefits, the number of members is our strength. The more members the organization has, the more our elected know they better listen. You can honestly be as active or inactive as you choose. You can come and go as your life allows, but we need you to join plain and simple, if for no other reason than to protect veteran benefits.

 

Reason 2:

Selfless Service… Most veterans joined the military because they felt a calling to serve and during your years in uniform that grows. By joining a VSO, you are helping your fellow veterans and continuing your service. I have survivor’s guilt and actively participating helps me honor them.

 

Reason 3:

Loyalty…  There is something amazing about the bond between veterans. By joining a VSO, you are honoring your elder veterans that started them. You are connecting and being there for your fellow veterans, and you are making things better for future veterans.

 

Reason 4:

Fun… You get to surround yourself with people that like to cuss, make fun of each other’s branch of service, slam challenge coins down, harass the medics, talk trash of today’s soldiers, and laugh really hard like you did with “your guys”.

 

So I ask you today, have you forgotten your Soldiers Creed? You are “a warrior and a member of a team.” Your team needs you, and you probably may not know it but you need them. I love my post, from the WWII veterans that opened it, to the Korea veteran that works every Bingo night, to the Vietnam guys, to the younger veterans and their families.

 

As a young veteran, you have the “key to the city” to make the post your own. The older veterans want to make it work for you. They want their beloved group to continue. If you don’t like something about the post, then work to make it better. Don’t expect it to be perfect, make it perfect.

 

You once stood tall and said “I will never accept defeat. I will never quit.” Have you quit serving? Do you really not have the time to help your fellow veteran? It is important and necessary, and joining a VSO is something every veteran should do today, not eventually. VSOs don’t need a better marketing strategy to get our generation to join; you just need to remember how it felt to serve something bigger than yourself and to be a part of something great.

 

Keith Lucas is the Post Surgeon for VFW Post 5923 in Camdenton, MO.

 

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