HAMLET, N.C. — Declining membership has forced Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7314 to shut down.
A letter dated July 16 hangs from the main entrance door to the Hamlet VFW post on Boyd Lake Road. It’s addressed to all comrades of Hamlet Memorial Post 7314 and is signed by VFW North Carolina District 9 Commander John Blueher.
“By order of the state commander, all operations of the post and canteen are suspended until further notice,” Blueher wrote. “All members of the post will be notified by mail as to when a special meeting will be scheduled to discuss the status of the post.”
That meeting took place at 1 p.m. Sunday, and according to Hamlet VFW member Bob Sylvestry, who served two terms in Vietnam, the group needed to elect seven new officers in order to keep the 90-day suspension already in place from becoming permanent.
Sylvestry said only seven men showed up.
“The post is closed down. They closed it down,” he said. “They had no choice. It’s hard to get people to join.”
In order to become a member of the VFW, one has to have not only been in the military, but also fought in a foreign war. Sylvestry said the group was finding it more and more difficult to find and keep members.
“We can’t get young people into this post,” said Sylvestry.
He said that younger people who would be eligible either don’t realize they can join or simply have no interest in becoming a member, which has caused the fraternal organization’s roster to dwindle.
Asked whether there was any chance of the Hamlet VFW opening its doors again in the future, Sylvestry said, “This post is down the drain.”
Hamlet VFW members will automatically be transferred to the Rockingham group. Sylvestry wasn’t sure what would happen to the building and the land it sits on.