Tuesday, 12 October 2021 16:58

Rockingham VFW, Auxiliary holding membership drive, National Guard reunion

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Fred McNeill, center, listens as Eddie Dean, left, recalls memories from serving in the National Guard during a reunion and membership drive in March. Fred McNeill, center, listens as Eddie Dean, left, recalls memories from serving in the National Guard during a reunion and membership drive in March. RO file photo

ROCKINGHAM — Two connected veterans organizations are looking to add names to their rosters this weekend.


VFW Post 4203 and its Auxiliary chapter are holding a joint membership drive from 1-4 p.m. Saturday. A lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers will be served.

According to the parent organization’s website, there are three requirements to join the Veterans of Foreign Wars: 

  • Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national
  • Have an honorable discharge from a branch of the armed forces
  • Earn a campaign medal or badge, serve in Korea from June 30, 1949 to present, or earn hostile fire or imminent danger pay eligibility

To join the Auxiliary, potential members must be at least 16 years old and be a direct relative  — husband, wife, widow(er), father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, brother or sister — of anyone eligible for membership in the VFW.

Post Commander Eddie Dean said Tuesday that the organization has around 100 members and has lost two — Ed Dawkins and Larry Evans — since August. During a drive in March, Dean said three members had died within the past year.

Retaining 100% of the previous year’s membership was the one remaining challenge for the post receiving All-State honors again. Dean said the post was able to sign up three new members at the March drive, meeting the goal.

Dean said the post has won All-State honors each year for the past decade and was awarded All-American honors this year, for which it was recently recognized at the state convention in Greensboro.

For several years, the Auxiliary has been sending care packages to deployed units and local individual servicemen and women. The supplies are purchased with funds raised from various activities, including the annual Rockin’ for Veterans concert which began in 2016.

The Auxiliary also organizes a Veterans Day parade in Richmond County.

As with the spring membership drive, the event will also double as reunion for the units Dean served in during his 40 years in the National Guard: the 196th Cavalry, which was activated from 1972-78; the 881st Engineering Company, deactivated in 2001 and made the 105th Engineer Battalion and subsequently deactivated in Rockingham and made the 881st Engineering Construction Company.

Dean said he generally is able to recruit a few new members from the reunions.

Any veterans with overseas service who want to join are encouraged to fill out an application at the post, 106 Old River Road, Rockingham.