EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- Memorial Day is just around the corner, meaning several commemorative ceremonies and parades will be taking place across the region, but its times like these that veteran services and VFW's look to local veterans for assistance.
Recently, finding those vets to help hasn't been so easy.
Brain Duffy, Commander and Chief with VFW Post 305 says he has been struggling to find young veterans who are able to help throughout the community.
“The VFW is made up of a lot of World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War vets and unfortunately we're starting to lose many of those veterans. We have seen here at this post that membership has declined and that has a lot to do with older veterans passing away and new veterans not stepping up to the plate,” says Duffy.
“We've been to war for over a decade, and there are still so many of us out there that could be stepping up. Here at this post, we have a few of us, and we've assumed officer roles and we try to do what we can but there is a generational gap sometimes,” says Duffy.
Assistant Veteran Service Officer, Adam Kohls says it has a lot to do with the obligations soldiers have when they return home.
“As younger vets get out of the service they dive right into school, having a family, spending time with their kids, not really realizing what it means to be a vet. A big part of it is about giving back to veterans,” says Kohls.
He says the need lies in funerals and commemorative services, many of which are during the day.
“I know the local posts here are just overworked. Sometimes they have two to three funerals a day, it's not uncommon. Eventually there's just not going to be enough people,” says Kohls.
Duffy says if there is no future help, there may be no future VFW.
“What we want to do is help veterans in the community. If there's nobody here to do it, it won't be here,” says Duffy.
Duffy also tells me there is a misconception that the VFW is just for veterans. He said it is open and welcome to any member of the community. Organizers and officers are always looking for volunteers.