Markle VFW post seeking members

George Keplinger (left), commander of the Markle VFW Post 6671, and Larry Enyeart, senior vice commander, are looking for more local members to join their VFW post. The post has started an incentive program which will save new members  first year dues.
George Keplinger (left), commander of the Markle VFW Post 6671, and Larry Enyeart, senior vice commander, are looking for more local members to join their VFW post. The post has started an incentive program which will save new members first year dues. Photo by Jessica Williams.

Originally published April 5, 2010.

An incentive is being offered to help boost membership at the Markle Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

New members will get their first year paid for, say the post's commander and senior vice commander.

George Keplinger, a member for 20 years and the post's current commander, and his senior vice commander Larry Enyeart, a member of four years, say they are hoping to increase the membership of their post with people who live in the area.

Keplinger says the requirements are strict to join a Veterans of Foreign Wars post. To be a member, a veteran must have served in certain wars in a determined location and for a minimum time. Some locations include Korea, Germany, Afghanistan and Iraq. Service in any branch of the military is accepted.

Keplinger served in the United States Air Force in Berlin. Enyeart served in the United States Army in Vietnam.

The Markle post was created in 1991 and officers are elected annually. The post has 58 members, and they have had what is called "100 percent membership" - what Keplinger explains as a steady membership number since 2003.

But he says it's hard for a small town like Markle to increase its membership.

"It makes it easier when they get life memberships," Enyeart says, as opposed to signing up on a yearly basis.

Some of the post's activities include putting flags in the cemetery on Memorial Day, visiting hospitals and nursing homes, leading parades, arranging military funerals and selling poppies to raise funds for veterans in need.

The VFW also hosts a fall essay contest, in which the district winner competes at state and the state winner then competes at the national level for scholarships.

Keplinger says the VFW is special in how it honors America. He says the VFW's purpose is to help veterans and participate in community service.

The park for veterans in Markle has a flag that is also looked after by the post.

"We put a memorial marker in down there (at the corner of the park)," Keplinger says. "(We) scratched to come up with the money.

"It's got a line across the bottom that says, ‘A book listing all veterans in Rock Creek and Union Townships, both counties, will be listed in a book in the Markle Library.' I haven't got it in the Markle Library yet," he says with a laugh.

But Keplinger adds that the book will be there in another couple of months and will include the veteran's name, branch and years served.

"It's just a little honorary (item)."

For information on joining or for more information, contact Keplinger at 758-3320 or Enyeart at 765-981-2059. Interested veterans are also invited to attend a meeting - held at the Markle Fire Station on the first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

Memberships are being accepted at any time, and the years run from July 1 to June 31.

"We're winding down the year so we'll have new applications," Keplinger explains.

The men can also be contacted to get a name into the veterans' book, or information can be sent to Markle VFW 6671, P.O. Box 78, Markle, IN 46770.