JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro American Legion Pickett Post #21 is hosting a "Post Revitalization" event.
American Legion members from the local to national level will be at the Jonesboro post contacting local veterans to rejoin or join for the first time.
Members hope this will boost membership. The post's active member count has dropped from 1,000 to 300 veterans.
"A lot of these older gentlemen were WWII veterans so those gentlemen are dying off pretty fast and we lose contact with them," Arkansas Department Commander Jimmy Lane said. "Most of the members we have right now are Vietnam members. What we would love to do is get some of the younger men from the Persian Gulf and Iraq and Afghanistan."
Veterans from all of these eras said the American Legion is a great way to continue to serve your country.
"I've come from a family of veterans that's served," said Brad Buskirk, a membership assistant director at the American Legion's national headquarters. "To me, I was proud to be a member. I'm proud to earn the right to join."
Buskirk earned this right during his 12 years of military service in the National Guard in Indiana and one-year deployment to Iraq.
"I've almost been a member of the American Legion as long as I've been a member in the military service," Buskirk said.
Others took a little longer to join.
"I didn't join for 17 years, but I finally joined," Lane said. "Our motto is more or less, 'Veterans serving veterans,' which we are."
Any wartime veteran, deployed or stateside, can join the American Legion. The organization fights for veterans' rights, provides child welfare programs and scholarships, and more.
"To me, it gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to be able to do something for the veterans and for veterans' children," Lane said. "It's rewarding."
"It's a good way to get involved with the community, give back to the veterans who have served our nation," Buskirk said.
The Jonesboro post is not only trying to recruit veterans these next two days, but also redirect them. If veterans do not sign up for a specific post of the American Legion, their membership gets sent to the holding post in Little Rock.
"It's really a post where not much is happening," Lane said. "They can come out here to American Legion Post #21 to get involved and help out. This is going to revitalize the post if we can contact enough people."
The Jonesboro post gained 25 transfers from Little Rock and signed up five new members Thursday.
If anyone is interested in joining or transferring, American Legion members will be at the Jonesboro post at 3414 Dave Ave. Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information, contact the American Legion Pickett Post #21 at 930-3783.
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