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With falling membership, Burnet VFW could close its doors

Burnet VFW Post 6974 member William 'Bill' Piotrowski. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Burnet VFW Post 6974 member William 'Bill' Piotrowski. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

DANIEL CLIFTON and CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF

BURNET — As many of its current members age and not as many younger veterans join, the Burnet VFW Post 6974 faces an uncertain fate.

“In the past several months, due to membership decline, we’ve been unable to put together monthly meetings, and per the requirements of the VFW, (you) have to do that to maintain your post,” said post member William “Bill” Piotrowski.

He also pointed out the post needs to fill its officer positions by Feb. 7 or state and district VFW officials could shutter the Burnet post.

The post, located at 1402 W. Buchanan Drive (Texas 29), is holding a meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 in an effort to fill those remaining positions. Piotrowski said any veteran who is eligible for VFW membership can attend and apply for one of the positions. Those interested should bring their DD 214 form to the meeting.

Piotrowski said the Burnet post’s woes have been ongoing as the membership numbers declined. He pointed out many of Post 6974’s members are getting older. Some who previously held officer positions didn’t want to serve another term, and other members didn’t volunteer for the open seats, he said.

While the post’s roster lists 42 members, Piotrowski said a number of them live out of the area and even the state, while others have passed away. Some members joined the Burnet post, which started in 1963, but then moved to another area or state, though they kept their membership with Post 6974.

Of those on the roster, Piotrowski said 10 are local.

“It’s been ongoing for the past several years,” he said regarding the membership decline.

Piotrowski admitted the Burnet post has to “compete” with active posts such as Marble Falls and many in the Killeen/Fort Hood area, but he believes the post still has the potential to provide many needed services for veterans and the community.

Along with trying to put the kitchen to use again, Piotrowski is considering offering some type of counseling services for younger veterans at the post. While the post has the room for those services, the main thing it offers that other counseling facilities or programs might not is a person who’s been through the same experience as the younger veterans.

“If you have a veteran and that veteran has been through quite a bit and they need to sit down with someone who understands what they’ve been through, well, a veteran can talk to a veteran,” he said.

Piotrowski has more plans he’d like to develop for the Burnet post.

“We have to get it so it becomes a place where veterans want to become a part of and participate in,” he said.

The first step, however, is filling the vacant officer positions on or by Feb. 7.

Anyone interested in serving, joining, or more information regarding Burnet VFW Post 6974, may call Piotrowski at (512) 796-1600.

editor@thepicayune.com