Geneva E Vogler Susan L Kremin Local golf teams complete play at state tournament Lady Dragons make school history with tournament win Browning gets hands-on look at NASA’s latest robotics Local beautician celebrates 80th birthday Health Department appeals to November voters Betty R Toller Senior Profile: Craig Horton Helen F Hoffer Super Saturday at Freedom Field Lady Dragons hang on for five-set victory over Manchester Seventh Grade Lady Hounds are SHAC Tournament champions Peebles Elementary announces September Students of the Month Rideout’s Muffler celebrating 40th anniversary this month Senior Citizens levy will appear on November ballot Bonnie J Orr Dorothy M Edenfield Senior Profile: Grace Barge Jerry Paquette Dragons get big 38-20 win at Green Manchester takes varsity team titles at West Union Invitational Lady Devils knock off Peebles on Volley For the Cure Night Manhunt ends with arrest of alleged bank robber Senior Profile: Kelsey Friend Lady Dragons finish as District Runners-Up Sectional pairings announced for volleyball and soccer 2 and 3 and worried is me Patricia Clift Adams County Humane Agent saves abandoned dogs and puppies Tourism had major economic impact on Adams County in 2015 Senator Portman brings his campaign to Adams County Betty E Lawson Sanborn NAHS holds National Honor Society induction ceremonies Harlan W Benjamin Joyce A Lafferty Senior Profile: Lee Hesler Dragons get SHAC win, 2-1 over Fairfield North Adams tops Peebles in ‘Kickin Cancer’ battles Double duty coming at Boys’ State Golf Tournament as West Union and North Adams both qualify Humane Society providing ‘Straws For Paws’ North Adams Elementary honors students and staff Russell Rockwell Julie L Wagner Hobert C Robinson Samuel D McClellan Brenda S Bare Clarencce Walker Jr Dolly M Hilterbrandt Jack Roush Day returns to Manchester West Union FFA has busy opening to school year ODOT opens new full-service Maintenance Facility Peebles Elementary introduces Peer Mentoring program Frost is recipient of Morgan Memorial Scholarship Peebles Fire Department has a new addition Heritage Days return to Tranquility Wheat Ridge Olde Thyme Herb Fair and Harvest Festival begins Friday Caraway Farm hosts annual Pumpkin Festival ‘Run Gio’ makes a visit to Adams County Senior Profile: Mackenzie Smith West Union, North Adams grab top two spots in Division III golf sectional tournament This memory will live with me forever Will M Stern West Union and North Adams-State Bound! Lillian N Smith Betty R Shelton Barbara ER Bohl Brenda Farley Senior Profile: Caitlyn Bradford Dragons roar to 40-0 Homecoming victory Greyhounds take three of four races at annual Adams County Meet Monarch Meadows holds grand opening Discovering a touch of glass on Erie’s Shores Junior L Conaway William B Brumley Sr Fred G Davis Ohio Valley FFA Officers for 2016-17 named ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley West Union holds football Homecoming festivities First graders pick the Sheriff Cross honored by ODNR with the prestigious Cardinal Award Renowned Ohio artist visits WUHS Don and Venita Bowles named 2016 Outstanding Fair Supporters PES students part of new Lego League Ferno donates $2,500 to OVCTC From the cistern to the city water Basketball officiating class being offered in October Peebles rolls by West Union in straight sets Par for the course, Dragons sweep SHAC Golf titles Greyhounds hang on late for first win of 2016 season You have to understand the process to understand the job Alex K Miller Ann E Campbell Scott N Atkinson Senior Profile: Tyler Fowler Martin named to All-Tourney Team in North/South Battlefield Classic 200 years on the banks of the Ohio, in a little town called Moscow Edwin P Prince ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley Volleyball teams honor young cancer patient

The American Legion struggles to remain relevant

From left, Bill Conn, Dean Collins, Marvin Greene, Garry Mitchell, Russell Todd, Jr., and Jerry Naylor look after veterans’ interests in Adams County.
From left, Bill Conn, Dean Collins, Marvin Greene, Garry Mitchell, Russell Todd, Jr., and Jerry Naylor look after veterans’ interests in Adams County.

Local posts fear dwindling membership numbers will force them to close their doors

Photo and story by Patricia Beech –

American Legion posts across the country are struggling to stay afloat as their membership numbers continue to fall. As aging World War II and Korean veterans leave the ranks, new members aren’t stepping up to replace them. Since 2000 the organization has had an 11 percent drop in membership nationwide, and posts in rural areas are being hit especially hard.

Leaders of Adams County’s veterans organizations say they are definitely feeling the crunch of the falling numbers. They fear veterans will lose their political influence if something isn’t done to reverse the trend. According to some in the oprganizations, the younger veterans don’t realize that not being involved means they’re losing their representation in Columbus and Washington.

At a meeting last week Bill Conn, President of the DAV, and several of his fellow veterans discussed steps their organizations could take to attract new members.

“Our military organizations here in the county are in bad shape,” said Conn. “We have to find a way to get people to step forward, sign up, and get involved with their military chapters, if we don’t we’re going to lose them.”

Many of the county organizations have already closed because of poor membership numbers.

“We’ve lost our Am Vets Chapter, and a couple years ago we lost the Legion in Cherry Fork,” said Conn. “The VFW in West Union has until January to get their numbers up or they’ll be history, and the chapters that are left are just hanging on by a thread.”

Even though most of the 23 million veterans nationwide are eligible to join the American Legion, the organization had less than three million members in 2014. Among those who do join, not all choose to be active.

Jerry Naylor, Commander of the Winchester Post says, “We have about 40 members, but only about eight people come to legion meetings, years ago the post would have 40 to 60 members show up at meetings.”

Garry Mitchell of the Peebles Post agreed, “We’re lucky if we have enough to make a quorum.”

Conn says there are over 2,000 eligible veterans in Adams County, and most do not belong to either the American Legion, Am Vets, or the VFW. He and the others agree the lack of members will eventually have a negative effect on all local veterans’ benefits.

“The state does an estimate of how many members are in the county, they look at votes only, so when any kind of bill comes up that has to do with veterans, they only look at the numbers”, says Conn. “These younger veterans don’t realize they’re losing their representation.

Conn and the others say they realize that work and busy family schedules keeps many younger veterans from joining.

“Ball games, television, computers, and technology take up all their time,” says Naylor. However many posts are turning to technology to attract younger veterans who they hope can revive their organizations with their enthusiasm, and recruit new members with their technical skills and familiarity with social media.

Along with serving as a lobbying organization for veterans’ causes, the American Legion posts also promote patriotic programs and mentor young people in their communities. Veteran Dean Collins said he believes membership could be bolstered if the community were made aware of all the good work the Legion does or is willing to do.

“Many people don’t know that we’re even here,” said Collins. “These organizations used to do all kinds of things, but that doesn’t happen anymore, it seems like without exposure, no one knows we’re here.”

Conn and the others say they’re concerned that the Legion’s history and traditions will be lost.

“Who’s going to handle the Veterans program, who’s going to do the Memorial Day services? It’ll be a thing of the past.”

The American Legion was created after World War I to support returning veterans and their families. It saw a substantial growth when soldiers returned from World War II in the 1940’s.

The American Legion is open to all veterans whether they served in times of war or peace.

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