VFW Magazine April 2017 : Page_48
MEMBER CORNER TIPS AND NEWS ON RECRUITING Close Relationships with Active-Duty Troops Propel Top 10 Post In a state known for unprecedented VFW membership growth, this Arizona Post focuses on service to be a perennial leader in recruiting and retention. By tim Dyhouse PHOTO by jim mccOrmick P roximity to an Army base has been a boon for recruiting at Post 9972 in Sierra Vista, Ariz. It finished last year as the fourth largest VFW Post with 2,079 members. The formula for building membership is fairly simple, according to Post Commander Jim McCormick. “Our Post is located next to the U.S. Army base at Fort Huachuca,” he said. “Many of our members work at the fort and routinely meet with soldiers who are not members and ask them to join.” McCormick, who is in his first term as Post commander after holding several Post-and District-level positions, said the daily contact with active-duty troops is invaluable. As a result, about half of the Post’s members are under 50 years old. “Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will be running the organization some-day, and they eventually will be the majority of VFW’s membership,” said McCormick, who served with the Army’s 1st Bde., 2nd Armored Div., in 1991’s Persian Gulf War. He added that recruiters at Post 9972, home to past VFW Commander-in-toP VfW Posts Posts proled in this series were among the 10 largest in the VFW based on their number of members as of June 30, 2016, the end of the last membership year. Listed below is specic information — including the number of members and ranking on that date — about this issue’s featured Post. VfW Post 9972 Location: sieRRa Vista, aRiZ. numBeR of memBeRs: 2,079 Rank: 4 Chief and former Adjutant Military and civilian volunteers, along with blue-clad JROTC General Allen “Gunner” cadets, join members of VFW Post 9972 on Memorial Day Kent, don’t discriminate when looking for new mem-weekend last year at the entrance to the Fort Huachuca Cemetery in Arizona. The group gathered to prepare the bers. “We ask male and female cemetery for its annual Memorial Day ceremony, a “flagship event” for Post 9972, according to its commander. veterans about joining,” McCormick said. “Currently, our Post has two female veterans as from Arizona’s District 7 come out elected line officers and another woman to help decorate headstones. We also is an elected line officer in our District.” get help from the Buena High School McCormick said he and Post JROTC program, and several local mer-Quartermaster Roland Fuerst estimate chants donate food and beverages for that women comprise about 10 percent the volunteers.” of Post 9972’s members. Serving veterans also is a big part McCormick added that there is “no of the Post’s success, according to secret” to retaining those members. McCormick. “We encourage all new members to “Our Post service officer is always sign up for life memberships,” he said. ready to meet a veteran to assist in any “We find that they are very receptive to VA-related issue,” he said. “Veterans the one-year payment plan.” can come to the Post to see the service McCormick stressed that his Post’s officer. We also use our Post minivan to relationship with active-duty troops at provide vets transportation for medical Fort Huachuca, located about 75 miles appointments.” southeast of Tucson, Ariz., and some 15 As leaders of a successful Post, miles north of the Mexico border, is not McCormick and Fuerst agree that VFW just about filling membership rolls. He at the national level can offer new ben-said it’s important to give back, too. efits to attract young vets. “Our largest event is on Memorial “VFW should partner with national Day,” he said. “Our members place retailers like Sam’s Club or Costco to crosses, Stars of David and Islamic cres-provide our members with reduced cents in front of headstones inside the memberships at their stores,” historic Fort Huachuca Cemetery in McCormick said. “We also should look support of the Army’s formal Memorial at partnering with one or more of the Day ceremony at the fort.” national health care providers so VFW McCormick, who also served with the members can get reduced rates for 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment during health care.” 1995’s Operation Uphold Democracy on Taking care of the youngest genera-Haiti, said the Memorial Day ceremony tion of veterans, he believes, is the path is popular with soldiers and members of toward securing VFW’s future. the community, too. Last year, for exam-“As the premier national veterans ser-ple, he said 75 people volunteered. vice organization, we have to start looking “For many, it’s an annual event,” at what tangible benefits we can provide he said. “Members of our Post and for our members,” McCormick said. J Email firstname.lastname@example.org Auxiliary, as well as the VFW Riders 48 • VFW • APRIL 2017
In a state known for unprecedented VFW membership growth, this Arizona Post focuses on service to be a perennial leader in recruiting and retention.
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