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Pittsfield VFW works to recruit younger members

April 25, 2018 07:48 PM

PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield VFW Post 448 has a long history of community involvement, but they're worried they might disappear, as other posts have.

"If it runs out, and we're not here, there won't be anything for the younger veterans to be a part of," said veteran Henry Morris.

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"We're hoping that the young veterans would approach us and join us because somebody has to take over," said Post Commander Arnie Perras. "We're all aging now and as I just mentioned, we're losing a lot of our members and we need them to carry the torch forward."

Tuesday, they presented a huge donation of $10,000 to police for Operation Copsicle. That amount was possible because they sold their building about four years ago.

The plaque there still reads: "Honor the dead by helping the living."

The work they do includes Honor Guard, the Voice of Democracy high school essay contests to promote patriotism, youth programs, military funerals and support for veterans.

"To be able to do things for veterans, especially nursing home visits, that can be very emotional. When you present a gift and they struggle to get up to salute you back," said Perras.

"This year, we've done about 10 military funerals. The last 12 months, we've lost four of our Honor Guard members. That is making it much harder for us to perform these military funerals, but we still continue to do it."

Veteran Henry Morris joined the VFW later in life, but he has found it to be rewarding.

He helped gather photos of those killed in Vietnam for a special project.

"Just the response from the family-- they're happy to see you at first, but sooner or later, during the conversation, they break down," he said, pausing to collect himself. "That was hard. That was hard. That's when I realized you have to do something. You have to be a part of this."

The VFW free Magic Show with Joey the Clown will be at the American Legion on Wendall Avenue at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 6.

The Pittsfield VFW is asking for veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to help plan a memorial for those conflicts.

To join or help, you can contact Commander Perras at (413) 443-0309 or arnc21@aol.com

Credits

Kumi Tucker

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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