Kenny Smith, membership chairman for the state, said that of the 12,000 military veterans in District 8 -- comprised of Kanawha, Putnam and Roane Counties -- roughly 1,200 are Legion members. Smith, who joined the Legion when he was 55, said many of the younger veterans are preoccupied with work and young families and don't consider membership to veterans' organizations until later life.
"There are a lot of veterans out there who aren't being counted when we go to Washington," Smith said. "If a veteran sees something we don't have, we want them to tell us what would make them join."
For Post 20's commander Gail Harper, the Legion and veterans' service organizations like it represent American values that he and his fellow veterans believe are important within any community.
"It's like a brotherhood," Harper said. "We try to continue the service to those who served in the military."
Post 20 plans to have its headquarters up and running for regular meetings in the coming weeks. The membership drive will continue today and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The American Legion sponsors several youth and community outreach initiatives, including Boys State and Girls State, American Legion Baseball, VA Volunteers and the Legion's National Emergency Fund for disaster relief.
For more information on the American Legion, visit www.legion.org.
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.