VFW Sets Up First-Ever Virtual Post
The first online post of the VFW, the country’s oldest and largest group for military veterans, has been established in Austin, Texas.
VFW Post Kiernan is named after Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Kiernan (pictured), 37, of Virginia Beach, Va., who was killed in Iraq in 2007 and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. This post will conduct business through social media and other online tools, rather than at a traditional brick-and-mortar space.
The post already has nearly 400 friends on its Facebook page. A Twitter page hasn’t been created yet.
Bob Gear, commander of the new post, said an online VFW post can help old and young veterans alike who may have a disability that hinders travel, who may not be comfortable in crowded places, or whose schedules prevent them from attending meetings at a brick-and-mortar post.
“Using social media is perfect for them because they can still participate and be an active member using what works best for them, in the comfort of their own home,” Gear said.
Gear is an Army veteran from Round Rock, Texas, and a veterans resource and referral specialist for the Texas Workforce Commission.
U.S. VFW Commander-in-Chief Richard DeNoyer and Texas VFW Commander John Spahr presided over a ceremony Saturday in Austin to inaugurate the new post. Spahr called the virtual post an “exciting” test.
“One of the things we talked about was moving into this century. This is a perfect example of doing just that,” Spahr said.
The Kiernan post was approved Jan. 4 by the VFW. To be chartered, the post had to recruit 25 new or reinstated members, and 35 members altogether. Membership eligibility is based on military service in foreign wars.
A Military Times survey in 2011 found that about half of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans hadn’t considered joining a veterans organization. Organizers of the new post hope to attract some of those veterans.
Kiernan’s widow, Donna East Kiernan of Seguin, Texas, said: “This VFW post brings opportunities and benefits to our new veterans. We won’t let them get lost.”
The VFW has more than 20 posts in the Austin metropolitan area. In all, the VFW has more than 7,400 posts, with about 1.4 million members in the United States and other countries.