VFW post shut down
A handful of aging veterans use the Veterans of Foreign Wars building and canteen on North Pine Street in Nevada City as a social club, looking forward to visits where they can talk with other veterans and have a drink, Nevada City VFW Post Commander John Wood said.
It’s the only social occasion all week for one World War II vet, who uses his walker to get to the building every Friday so he can have a few Budweisers with friends, Wood said. Others enjoy selling goods at street fairs, interacting with the community and supporting charities.
But all activities and privileges of the Nevada City post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars have been suspended until further notice by the VFW state commander, local VFW members said this week.
Nevada City Post 2655 was put on suspension in August by State VFW Commander David B. Norris, Wood confirmed.
The suspension comes after the Grass Valley VFW chapter was closed more than a year ago because of dwindling membership, VFW members said.
Norris did not return a call from The Union. A man who claimed to be a representative of the VFW state commander’s office and who would not give his full name said the suspension occurred because of violations of the VFW national charter, by-laws and manual of procedures and rituals: The local chapter did not send members to state meetings, he said. Norris will soon release an official statement, according to his representative.
“Interpretation of by-laws,” Wood said, is at the heart of the conflict.
The local leader cited lack of communication between the state and the local post as the reason behind the 90-day suspension, but would not specify the reasons.
Representatives from the state VFW took the keys to Veterans Memorial Hall and blocked access to the local VFW bank account, Wood added.
The Nevada City Post has 240 members, with 10 or 15 active participants, according to members who did not want to be named.
Recruiting younger veterans has become more difficult, while older members are dying off – a common problem with veterans organizations across the country, members said.
Active members raise money for charities in Nevada City and participate in community events such as the Independence Day parade.
Nevada City and Nevada County have an agreement regarding use and rent of the building. The city oversees the revenues from the building and pays 50 percent of all revenues to the county until overhead costs are met, then the county receives 10 percent of the revenue, according to a staff report by Nevada County Parks and Recreation Coordinator Dawn Zydonis.
The agreement expired on June 30, 2007, while the county, city and local veterans are all in support of renewing the agreement, Zydonis’ report says.
Wood said he plans to meet with Norris this month to discuss the future of the local post, and hopes for a favorable outcome.
Norris’ representative said the local post will most likely be reinstated Nov. 18 if the members abide by VFW rules.
To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4236.
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