CLARKS SUMMIT — Abington Memorial VFW Post 7069 is looking for new members.
“The numbers for VFW (membership) are dropping, not only in Clarks Summit but everywhere,” said Mike McLane, quartermaster.
He added the Clarks Summit post looses 30 to 40 members per year for a variety of reasons including death, failure to pay the dues and moving away.
“Most of our members are getting old,” McLane said. “People now have family responsibilities and other things to do. I say in 10 years there will not be a VFW. There may be five members meeting in someone’s basement.”
The VFW currently has 325 regular members and 200 social members.
Clarks Summit Post Commander Donnie Jones is also a member of the Peckville VFW honor guard.
“Every other week I am at a funeral for a veteran,” he said. “Our ranks are dwindling. I also do parades and veterans are getting too old to walk in them.”
The VFW was first located on Depot Street. It moved to its current location in 1947, when a doctor sold his house to the organization. The dining room and the canteen (bar) were added in 1967. The building underwent a total renovation in 1998 with a new roof, windows, heating, air conditioning and rewiring of the electricity.
“The top of the building was used by the Civil Defense as a lookout during World War II,” said McLane. “Two people would sit there and look for enemy planes.”
McLane has been a member since 1978. He is an inspector for the Pennsylvania Department of VFW’s Foreign Wars and a district 10 adjunct for Lackawanna and Wayne counties.
McLane’s father, uncles, grandfather and son all served in the military. He joined the Marines at 19 and did basic training at Paris Island. After additional training at Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton he was sent to Vietnam, where he was wounded. He ended his service as a corporal.
Jones’ father and uncle also served in the military. He joined the Air Force when he was 19 and went to basic training in San Antonio. He then went to Lowry Air Force Base and served overseas at the Kunsan Korea Air Base. He ended his service as a sergeant.
“The Clark Summit VFW is run by volunteers. Whatever needs to be done they do,” said McLane. “The canteen helps pay our bills and is our primary source of support.”
The VFW gives back to the community by sponsoring a Little League team, athletic events, fishing derbies and scholarships.
The ladies auxiliary dropped “ladies” from its name and now is open to both men and women. The group holds events throughout the year including spaghetti and ham and cabbage dinners. It supports various charities.
For information about becoming a VFW, social or auxiliary member, stop by the post, 402 Winola Road, during regular business hours, noon to
1 a.m. on weekdays or call 570-586-9821.