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VFW Auxiliary looking for new members

By Fran Gonzalez | Sep 04, 2020
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez A monument honoring veterans for their service, erected at the Randall Collins VFW Post 3108 by members of the post and Auxiliary, shown here Sept. 4.

Belfast —

Connie Bragdon, president of the Randall Collins VFW Post 3108 Auxiliary, said one of the biggest benefits of being in the Auxiliary is getting to meet the veterans and hear their amazing stories.

“There is a lot of camaraderie here,” she said. “You make friends.”

An Auxiliary member also has the privilege of using the post’s canteen at 34 Field St., which, Bragdon said, might not be a draw for some.

A recent Facebook post from the Randall Collins Auxiliary said because of the aging membership and the lack of new volunteers, and also because of lack of participation, the group may lose its charter.

“When no one comes to meetings or helps with activities, there really is no point of having an open charter,” read the post.

“We currently have over 101 members,” Bragdon said, but at the last three meetings, fewer than eight members were present. Many members are from out of state, she said, or they are older and cannot make the meetings.

Auxiliary Trustee and Conductress Heidi Blood said a closure is probably not likely right away, but is a possibility “in the distant future. ... Our members are older and we are trying to be proactive in recruiting people," she said.

For Blood, who has been with the VFW Auxiliary for 15 years, seeing the appreciation on veterans’ faces when interacting or volunteering is reason enough for her to continue with the organization. “For a lot of people we assist, we are their only family,” she said.

Bragdon said the mission of the Auxiliary is to support Randall Collins Post 3108, the veterans and the community, which can include volunteer work, selling raffle tickets and participating in parades.

Some other opportunities include food delivery, helping older veterans with housework, helping the food and pet food pantries at the post, or just talking with veterans on the phone (especially in current times). According to the Facebook post, “Nothing is mandatory as an active member and volunteer.”

Baking cakes, writing birthday or get well cards, shopping for housebound members, visiting someone in the hospital or attending a flag line at a veteran's funeral are just a few other examples of  activities that, according to their post, “will not get done if active membership doesn't rise.”

The best way to get started with the VFW Auxiliary is by getting involved, even if it’s only in a small capacity.

Auxiliary meetings are held on the third Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. downstairs at 34 Field St., while the regular VFW post meeting is held at the same time upstairs.

At these meetings, members discuss the needs of the post, community and members and what the Auxiliary can do to help. Fundraising ideas are a frequent topic of discussion and the Auxiliary is always looking for new ideas, energy and commitment.

To be eligible to join, members must simply be related to a veteran who served in overseas combat.

For more information, visit facebook.com/Post3108BelfastVFWAux or call Connie Bragdon at 338-2358.

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