NEW HAVEN, CONN (Nov. 7, 2014)–Two local military veterans are recruiting eligible residents to form a Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post in New Haven.
Gabor “Gabe” Kautzner, an OEF/OIF Veterans Outreach Advocate for the greater New Haven area and Iraq veteran, and Charles M. Pickett, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran and graduate student at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) have begun the process of forming a new post in the Elm City.
Supported in their efforts by Connecticut VFW State Commander Greg Smith, Senior Vice Commander Robert Bailey and the rest of the VFW state leadership team, Kautzner and Pickett have been collecting names of eligible veterans. The two organizers can be reached through email (VFWNewHaven@gmail.com), voice mail (203-443-1643) and social media (Facebook.com/VFWNewHaven).
Pickett said, “After five years and two deployments in the Army, I moved to New Haven when I started graduate school at SCSU. I wanted to transfer my membership to a closer VFW post and was surprised New Haven didn’t have one. There are a number of veteran service posts in the area, but there is no VFW in the Elm City.”
Jack Mordente, director of the veterans office at SCSU, said there are a record number—more than 300—active service members, dependents, and veterans attending Southern this year using an array of veteran benefits. He said the record number at SCSU can be directly attributed to the post-war drawdown of US military personnel and an effective SCSU marketing campaign that draws current and former service members to the “vet friendly” New Haven school.
Pickett said he and Kautzner are recruiting through an integrated marketing campaign including word-of-mouth, informational meetings, and online resources to reach eligible veterans. Pickett said while their efforts encompass all eligible veterans, they are focusing on recruiting Global War on Terror (GWOT) veterans who are interested in creating a new kind of VFW post that is attuned the needs of younger veterans.
The VFW is America’s oldest and largest combat veteran’s organization. It is open to all veterans who have served overseas in times of conflict or war. There are a number of benefits to joining the VFW including the camaraderie, access to veteran resources, and opportunities for continued service to our country and communities.