Veterans group looks to grow

Facing dwindling numbers, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5431 is looking for new members.

The post, which covers Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff and Encinitas, has about 200 names on its roster, but only about a dozen attended a recent meeting, which are held monthly at the post’s headquarters on N. Highway 101.

Many of the veterans of the Vietnam and Korean wars are aging and unable to participate as much, so the post is looking to involve some younger service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in the post.

“We need some young blood,” member John Leipper said. “We want their energy and vitality.”

The VFW is a nationwide membership organization that assists veterans and lobbies for their rights and benefits.

The local post, which was founded in 1946, has a service member to help veterans file benefit claims. Some members volunteer with the Veterans Administration driving their comrades to medical appointments.

The post also donates money and volunteers at Stand Down, a three-day event that helps homeless veterans with food, shelter, clothing, medical attention, sobering programs and job training.

The post is also active in the community, hosting the Memorial and Veterans Day ceremonies at La Colonia Park and volunteering with Boy Scout Troops.

“We don’t have a canteen, we don’t have a crowd hanging out like most VFWs,” said Randy Treadway, past post commander. “Our focus is on community service.”

Leipper said the post would like to expand their programs and activities with the help of new members.

Besides advocating for veteran’s rights and volunteering, Treadway said many members enjoy the camaraderie of the monthly meetings and “being able to talk to people who experienced some of the same things you’ve been through.”

Monthly meetings are held the second Thursday at 7 p.m. at 411 N. Highway 101.

Veterans interested in learning more can contact Randy Treadway at (760) 703-2071 or John Leipper at (760) 505-8392.