The end of an era: VFW posts in Omaha metro are closing

VFW halls across the country were already struggling, then COVID hit and delivered a knockout punch
We might be witnessing the end of an era.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:08 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - We might be witnessing the end of an era.

VFW posts in Omaha and across the country are closing their doors. VFW halls across the country were already struggling, then COVID hit and delivered a knockout punch.

Over in Carter Lake at VFW Post 9661, there’s no one but essential personnel inside. They had to shut down the place last week.

“We never really got back on our feet after it hit, we lost a lot of people customers and that, then we also had where we had to close down again for two weeks or something like that because somebody would come in here with it, said Al Burnside, VFW Post 9661.

Al Burnside is a Vietnam war veteran and the Commander of Post 9661. He says a lack of interest in joining the VFW, fewer customers, and recent inflation played a big role in emptying out the place.

“Our bills, we just couldn’t make it.”

Now Al has to sell off the building’s assets to pay his creditors, almost everything in the building is for sale.

“It’s very sad it breaks a lot of people’s hearts,” said Georgene Bigham.

Georgene Bigham helps out working part-time. She said recent events just piled on to the problems.

“Once the fuel prices went up people didn’t come out and eat as much,” said Bigham.

There’s no American flag flying over what used to be VFW Post 247 in Omaha. Vets had to sell and now the building sits empty.

“A lot of the younger people aren’t joining the VFWs and the Amerian Legions.”

Jack Manzer is the Financial Officer for VFW Post 247. He says they had to cancel their centennial luncheon and it all went downhill from there.

“By the time everything got settled up we was way in the hole so we had to sell the building, that’s the only way I could get out of debt with it,” said Manzer.

Manzer says VFW Post 247 is still active in the community continuing to display their patriotism and volunteering to make sure we all remember the cost of freedom.

But now they don’t have a building to call their own.

“I’m still depressed over it.”

There are other VFW posts in our area that have closed or are on the brink of shutting down.

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