The commander of Appleton VFW Post 2778 says his organization needs the public’s help. Kris Schuller reports post leaders say a number of issues, including alleged embezzlement, have them desperately in need of $50,000.
For 64 years Appleton’s VFW post has been operating here on North Richmond Street. But according to the post commander the future of the unit is in serious doubt.
“It’s a crisis and we are looking for help,” said Post Commander Wayne Martin.
“If we can’t right the ship, we’re going to be closing doors,” said post member Jack Voight.
In this letter sent to the posts 334 members, Martin says that there have been “numerous unforeseen expenses that have depleted many of our bank accounts.”
Issues like replacement of kitchen appliances, the heating and cooling system, fines from the government for failing to file taxes and steadily declining membership.
“All of the members we have are getting up there 60 or 70 years old – we need newer members in here,” said member Bob Boettcher.
But the most serious issue according to Martin – which Appleton police confirm they are investigating – is the alleged theft of thousands of dollars from the post’s bar and restaurant operations.
“We had over $30,000 that was stolen from us, probably never be able to recover it,” said Martin.
Police aren’t saying much about the case but Martin tells Local 5 he fired the previous club manager August 1.
“I can’t see how anybody would steal from the veterans,” said Martin.
“I felt like I got kicked right in the guts,” Boettcher added.
“We have problems here and we are facing a situation we need to resolve,” Voight said.
A new manager has been hired and the post is auditing the bar and restaurant’s books. But Martin says they still need to raise $50,000 within the next 90 days or these doors could close – and they need the public’s help.
“Any little bit of help would be very much appreciated,” Martin said.
The VFW has set-up a GoFundMe page for those who’d like to donate.