Last VFW post in South Bend honors fallen heroes this Memorial Day, needs help of younger generations to continue doing so

NOW: Last VFW post in South Bend honors fallen heroes this Memorial Day, needs help of younger generations to continue doing so

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - If you enjoyed a day off for Memorial Day Weekend, local veterans are asking you to take a moment to reflect on the true spirit of Memorial Day, remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. 

South Bend's west side is home to the Memorial Day parade, three American Legions, and the city's last VFW Hall, Post #9820. 

"To me it's not a holiday, it's about remembering the fallen troops who gave it all…" said Post Commander Felipe Tijerina Jr. 

The Post has been here since 1944. Monday afternoon, members spent the evening gathering at the hall after a busy weekend of remembrance, putting flags on gravesites Sunday, and holding ceremonies Monday afternoon following an early start to the day at the 97th annual Westside Memorial Day Parade. 

"All these years and everything, I've devoted my life to the veterans," said Roger Barclay Quartermaster of VFW Post #9820. "To their families, if they call us we go, we built ramps in the past for our veterans, if they needed one we went out and built it. I'm 70 years old now, I can't do it. And we can't get the younger people to join our posts," he said. 

These two local heroes spent years serving our country and came back and continued serving our troops at the VFW Hall, but they need the help of younger generations to keep going. 

"We want more younger people because our post is the last one in South Bend and its got to keep going, it's for the veterans.." said Tijerina.

They are fearful of what will happen to the VFW if they don't, because these organizations offer more than benefits for veterans, but a second family. 

"Now, we're only down to this one on Linden Avenue, this is it. The next ten years, if the younger ones do not join, there will be no more VFWs, period," Barclay said. 

This Memorial Day, as we remember the fallen, these veterans remember their time in the service, and say they would make that sacrifice all over again. 

"And even though I going to be 72, you call me right now. I'm not in shape or anything, but I'd fight for my county again in a heartbeat. There ain't no better county than this one we're living in right now," said Tijerina. 

If you are a veteran eligible to join the VFW, they say just come on over and talk to them, they would love to have you. 

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