When the Jimmy Connors Veterans of Foreign Wars Post moves into its new facility next year it will do so with new bling and plenty of helping hands.
Post No. 6311 received All-State and All-American honors at the National Convention in St. Louis in June. Post Commander Carlon Perry was on hand to receive the awards before approximately 13,000 members.
The double honor recognizes membership development, and to be certain, Post 6311 has been busy on the recruiting trail.
The post more than doubled its membership from June 2013 to June 2014, growing from 60 mostly dormant members to an active chapter of 137.
The spike pushed Post 6311 to the top of its division, earning them a national No. 1 ranking amongst Division 8 posts and a promotion to Division 6.
It was the first time Post 6311 has received All-American status, Perry said. Every member received a commemorative pin, while Perry received an embroidered garrison cap and a free trip to the National Convention as the post’s representative.
“They were pleased,” Perry said. “They were happy to get the pins. They were happy to be recognized.”
So inspired and impressed by the turnout at the National Convention, Perry hopes to take a few members with him to the next event in Pittsburgh. Who he takes will be decided by a contest.
The post has launched a membership legacy contest, and the terms are simple: Those that recruit 10 new members between now and June will receive free travel and hotel accommodations for next June’s convention.
“It was pretty awesome in that there was 13,000 registered participants at the National Convention,” Perry said. “… I think it’s an awesome experience and they should all get the chance to go.”
The hope is to add at least 50 new members. The chances of reaching that goal are favorable, even without the incentive of a free trip.
The VFW’s new facility along Moffat Boulevard – the Manteca Community Center – is expected to boost membership.
The building, Perry says, will act as a hub for the membership; a place where they can seek support and services from the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as camaraderie from other members.
The building will be finished in early 2015, and the post has entered into a 20-year lease agreement with the city with two additional 10-year options for renewal.
A ground-breaking ceremony has been tentatively set for next month.