Members of the Washington chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association voted to dissolve the organization at their monthly meeting Thursday, Nov. 12, at The American Legion Home.
Declining membership and low attendance at meetings prompted the action, along with the coronavirus pandemic. The chapter formed in 2013.
Commander Jason Stanfield contacted all of the members of the chapter by letter after the meeting to notify them of the dissolution. There were only 10 members at the meeting. Paid membership has dropped to 30 members, but many had not attended a meeting for a long time due to health reasons.
“It is with great sadness and regret that we must report the dissolution of the Washington, MO chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association (KWVA),” Stanfield said in a written statement. “During the meeting held on 12 November 2020 at 1 p.m. at the American Legion Post 218 in Washington, MO, a motion was made and carried to vote on dissolution of our local chapter based on the following reasons:
“1. Significant decrease in membership and meeting attendance over the past year.
“2. Financial impacts from lack of fundraising due to COVID-19 restrictions set by local businesses and governments.
“3. With no projected end to current COVID-19 fundraising restrictions, it is unknown when fundraising can begin again.
“All members were provided with a list of MO chapters to which they can transfer their memberships as well as the membership office’s phone number should they have additional questions.
“Anyone interested in joining the National Korean War Veterans Association should contact the National Membership Office at 217-345-4414.”
Veterans in this area joined the Korean War Veterans national organization in 2013, and had more than 50 members at one time. It became Chapter 324 in the national group, and Missouri Chapter 7.
The Washington chapter’s remaining funds were distributed to three groups: American Legion Post 218, which donated use of its building for chapter meetings; the Washington Junior ROTC unit, which the chapter took the lead in forming; and to the MIA/POW Museum at Jefferson Barracks. The Washington chapter took the lead in requesting Franklin County to become a MIA/POW county, the first in the nation. The donations averaged about $900 to each group.
Korean War veterans were active as a committee to establish the Korean War Memorial in Krog Park in 1992. Many of those committee members later helped organize the Washington chapter of the National KWVA.
Other officers of the chapter this year were Bill Miller, Sr., first vice commander; Ray Sovar, second vice commander; Emmett Becker, adjutant; Jack Eggert, treasurer; Frank Weber, sergeant at arms; and Art LeBeau, JAG officer/ chaplain. Ray Sovar was chairman of the fundraising committee, and Gene Roberson was chair of the Tell-America committee, which handled speaking engagements on the Korean War by members of the chapter.
The ceasefire in the Korean War occurred July 27, 1953. The war began June 25, 1950.