Greendale — The Greendale Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10519 is always on the lookout for new, younger members.
As Memorial Day approaches, VFW members have been distributing poppies this month to raise money and awareness for its organization.
Although many members of the VFW are veterans of America's older wars, such as World War II and the Korean War, the veteran organization is actively seeking to find younger members to join, said Zachary Mayo, junior vice commander for VFW Post 10519.
Mayor, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is one of the more recent members, having joined the post late last year.
'I had heard of the VFW and knew they did great things,' Mayo said. 'I joined because I mostly didn't want to get away from my military experience. I wanted to be able to give back.'
Post 10519 has a few younger members, but veteran organizations nationwide have had trouble finding more recent veterans, said John Ustruck, post commander.
Historically, veterans have waited some time after their service to join, he said.
'Getting the next generation (of veterans) has always been an issue,' Ustruck said. 'I think a lot of those newer veterans think we're just a bunch of old guys talking about war and drinking beer, but that's not what we're about.
The VFW is a national nonprofit organization that not only fosters camaraderie between oversea veterans but seeks to build local relationships with communities as well with volunteer services, charity donations and college scholarship opportunities.
'We represent a huge voting block,' Ustruck said, 'and we do get the attention of politicians when it comes to defending the rights of veterans … The bigger we get, the louder we can get the word out.'
Mayo has proven to be a very dedicated VFW member by volunteering for every event and helping to spread the word, Ustruck added.
'I don't try to harp on anyone,' Mayo said. 'I'll just bring up events that I'm going to and invite them all along.'
Veterans are invited to attend the post's events without any pressure to join, Ustruck said. Although Post 10519 is centered in Greendale, members come from across the Milwaukee area.
'We just invite veterans to come to a meeting and talk with us; there's no obligation to join,' he said, 'and people can be as involved as they want or not at all.'
For information about the post, visit Myvfw.org/wi/post10519/.