(Riverton, Wyo.) – Citing a lack of financial support and dwindling participation, the membership of Riverton VFW Post 3628 voted Monday night to sell their building. Members, however, voted to retain their charter and look for a new, and smaller, post home that they would share with other veterans organizations. The current post home is located at 1409 West Main Street at the intersection with Major Avenue.
“We just ran out of finances,” said Post Commander Gary Letchworth, who said the VFW only had enough money on hand to keep the post open through September. By voting to sell their building, the post is hoping to have enough funding to find a new location and open a Veterans Hall that would also include Riverton’s American Legion Post 19, the Disabled American Veterans and Marine Corps League.
“The membership voted to downsize and see if we can get into something we can afford and go forth with our mission of service to veterans,” Letchworth said.
The club was closed this past May for a reorganization and reopened in July with a new restaurant and bar management in place.
“That didn’t work out the way we had hoped. The club wasn’t getting any business and we couldn’t pay our staff, so we had volunteer bartenders. But that didn’t work either,” he said. “We can’t keep spending money without funds coming in.”
Letchworth said the club’s kitchen had been cleaned and upgraded, along with the building’s air conditioning system and the inside of the facility.
Adding to the club’s woes, one of the VFW’s newest younger members and a newly elected club officer committed suicide. “He was suffering from PTSB and had other issues and had reached out to us, but I guess it was too late,” Letchworth said. “We want to be in a position to help younger veterans with these issues, so we’ll come back, I’m confident of it.”
In the interim, Letchworth said the club will appeal to the community for assistance, both businesses and the public. “It all boils down to a communication issue, we need to let people know that we exist. We need to get past the stigma of the past year, increase our membership and continue to serve veterans.”
To read about the reorganization of the VFW Post earlier this year, click here.