The New Harbor Veterans of Foreign Wars post needs at least five officers to attend a Thursday, April 18 meeting or the post will close.
The Leuign W. Osier Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8395 will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. at post headquarters in the New Harbor fire station.
“We need five officers to attend this meeting and as many members [as possible] to attend,” Post Cmdr. Alton W. Simmons said in a March 24 letter to post members. “If we do not have the members attending, the post will close.”
If enough members attend the meeting, they will vote on whether to keep the post open, Simmons said in an April 12 phone interview.
The post currently has almost $15,000 in a bank account. The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Department of Maine will take the funds if the post closes, Simmons said in the letter.
Simmons, a Newcastle resident and U.S. Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War, has been post commander for 13 years.
In the interview, he said he would like the post to stay open, but does not know if it can. Fifty-two life members and 22 regular members belong to the post, but it has just four active officers and often only two or three attend meetings. The post should have seven or eight officers, he said.
Simmons said he mailed the letters to all 74 members and did not receive any replies.
The post ladies auxiliary also suffers from low numbers, with just three members who regularly attend meetings, Simmons said.
If it closes, the New Harbor post and ladies auxiliary will merge with the Soule-Shuman Memorial Post 4525 in Waldoboro, Simmons said.
The New Harbor post, like the national organization, has been struggling with a decline in membership for more than 10 years, according to a March 2011 article in The Lincoln County News.
A nationwide decline in membership, from approximately 2.2 million in 1992 to approximately 1.5 million in 2009, has led to the closing of hundreds of posts, a national membership director told The Lincoln County News at the time.
In Lincoln County, posts have already closed in Boothbay and Dresden.