WOODSTOCK – A decline in members and funds in recent years has resulted in the Woodstock VFW Post 5040 putting its building up for sale.
Commander Jason Moody said he’s not sure where they’ll move, but he is sure they’ll stay in Woodstock.
“We’ve built a strong relationship with this community,” Moody said. “We’ve been active going on our 70th year in 2016.”
The Woodstock VFW, 240 N. Throop St., is on the market for about $399,000, Moody said. Part of the building is rented as office space, and the rest includes a bar, a dining space and a banquet room.
Moody, who was in the U.S. Air Force and served two tours in Iraq between 2004 and 2006, said membership was higher when veterans were coming back from World War II.
“It used to be the place to be way back when, and we kinda want to bring that back,” Moody said of the VFW.
He said today, people are doing several tours in Iraq, and veterans coming back do not always have time to join the VFW.
Moody said there are about 30 active members in Post 5040 today who attend meetings, and only some of those members volunteer time to help repair the building.
Part of the organization’s funds come from membership fees, Moody said. Other money comes from donations and events the VFW holds.
The VFW hosts clubs, including the Woodstock Little League and softball, Jaycees and Elks, Moody said. They also host a Friday night fish fry and bingo, he said.
After moving to a new building, Moody said the VFW may look into contracting marketing services to help get their name back out in the community.
Post Director Ed Chambers, who served in the U.S. Navy doing tours during the Gulf War between 1991 and 1993 and two years of work with NATO from 1993 to 1995, said the VFW also needs to better serve their veterans.
“We need to sell the building just to be able to turn the page,” Chambers said. “We can’t live and operate the way we did in 1940. We do need to adapt.”
Chambers said part of adapting means going back to the core pillars the organization was founded on, which include service to veterans, service to youth and families, service to the community and patriotism, according to their website.
At the same time, the VFW needs to be a place for veterans to come together and share common experiences in and out of the military, Chambers said.
For Moody, it’s nice to have hundreds of years of knowledge at the VFW, whether it be veteran-related or not.
“It’s a very close family,” Moody said, “It’s a very close organization that we have, and I think that’s important.”
To bring in extra money, the VFW has started a GoFundMe page at www.GoFundMe.com/VFW5040.