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Nanty Glo VFW forced to close

By Maria Miller

NANTY GLO, Pa. -- It's the end of an era as a local VFW has closed its doors, possibly for good.

Board members of the the VFW Post 3489 in Nanty Glo told 6 News that bills have been piling up for years as memberships have dwindled, slowing the money coming in.

At one time members said the Nanty Glo VFW was the largest chapter in Cambria County, but it lost many of its members when several surrounding towns branched off and created their own chapters. Officials said the member count has continued to dwindle as older veterans die and the younger generation shows less interest.

A sign on the door at the Nanty Glo post Wednesday read, "Closed until further notice."

"Your income coming in was less than what was going out and over a period of time that basically makes it non-economical," said James Waldron, board member with the post.

Active members who are veterans pay about $22 a year. A social member, or those who pay to hang out at the club, pay about $30. But Waldron told 6 News only a small percent actually goes to the local post.

"The majority goes to the national, because that's a large organization, but then the state takes their share," said Waldron. "Then what floats back, what is given to the local post, is only $2 to $3."

The majority of the money the post makes is from it's canteen. But Waldron said the bills and employee payroll piled up faster than the money coming in.

Another reason he blames is the lack of members. Because there's no longer a draft and people choose to enlist, Waldrom said veterans usually have other obligations when they return home.

"They're coming back and they have families, they have jobs," said Waldrom. "They have a lot less feeling to belong to the VFW."

He said many of the longtime veterans have died and some can't make it to the meetings, a problem he said they've seen for years and the final straw that forced them to close.

"So the district and the state got up and said, 'That's it, you're closed,'" said Waldrom.

Part of the VFW's motto is that they 'hope there are no more memberships because that means there are no more wars.' Waldrom said he only wishes that was the case in Nanty Glo.

"It's really bad when you've been open here in the valley for over 85 years," said Waldron. "It's a shame."

At the post's last meeting Dec. 4, they were required to elect seven new officers. But Waldron said only 10 people showed, four of them current board members. That's when the doors were locked.
Waldron said he doesn't anticipate them reopening.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times