Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) District 10 held a business meeting last Sunday at the City Building in Summersville. District 10 Commander Bill Sanford officiated and State Junior Vice Commander Bob Kish represented the State Headquarters. Marlinton Post 4595 Post Commander Geoff Hamill represented the local post.
The key item of discussion during the meeting was a proposed state district reorganization, under consideration by the State Headquarters. If the current redistricting plan is approved, the number of districts in West Virginia would be reduced from 10 to five.
District 10 Post Commanders were unanimous in opposing the redistricting plan. If the redistricting plan moves forward, current District 10 posts, with a district headquarters in Beckley, would fall under a different district with headquarters in Clarksburg. The key concern is the increased driving distance for Post Commanders.
In a newsletter published last month, State Commander Doug Knotts cited the inequality of current districts and decreasing membership as reasons for redistricting.
“In June of 2004 the State had 21,619 members,” Knotts wrote. “As of June 2009 we had 17,641 members and as of June 2014 we had only 15,109 members. Accordingly, over the last 10 years, we have lost 6,510 members and have no indication of any near term recovery. Having suffered the shown losses in membership and resulting loss of income it must be recognized that the State cannot continue to support the current number of Districts either administratively or financially.”
Knotts said realignment is necessary to reduce glaring disparities between districts.
“The competitive playing field between District Commanders will be leveled,” Knotts added. “Today we have Districts with only five Posts and others with twelve or fourteen Posts competing for awards and working to achieve target dates. Bringing all Districts to a complement of 15 to 20 Posts creates an air of fairness.”
A VFW committee recommended the five district plan in November. Knotts has asked all members to to support the change moving forward.
Marlinton VFW Post 4595 meets every second Wednesday at 6 p.m. at McClintic Library in Marlinton. Food and refreshments are provided and a presentation is conducted on a variety of military topics. All members and interested veterans are welcome to attend. The next Post 4595 meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 14, at 6 p.m.