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While the American Legion post is a club, non-members are always welcome, Miller said.

Low-stakes legal gambling also is a draw. Bingo is played, while pull tabs and shake of the day are offered to give members a chance to win a few dollars, and dances are held from time to time. The PowellAmerican Legion Post sponsors a Boy Scout Troop - Troop 26, which bears the same number as the post.

Lucus said Legion officials can assist veterans with claims they file and help them in other ways. It’s a social club but also one that supports its members.

But the men who march in parades, fire rifles on Veterans Day and Memorial Day and make sure American flags are displayed properly are dying off. They are not being replaced by younger veterans.

“Everybody’s too busy,” Lucus said. “Everybody’s trying to make ends meet. And they’re sitting home playing games with their thumbs.”

He said while the Powell post and others are trying to recruit members, it’s an uphill climb. The post had 210 members in 2000; it has 159 now, although Miller hopes more will soon be added.

But she admitted many rarely take part in post activities, and Lucus said many are members in name only. The average age is 58.

“That’s the problem with any volunteer association,” he said. “It’s just hard to get folks who are child-bearing age to join. They are too busy putting food on the table.”

There’s also competition for the 22.7 million American veterans, with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Vietnam Veterans of America, as well as clubs for those who served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and other military engagements.

Lucus, 74, is a life member of both the Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). He said the two clubs have many dual members, and they may have to unite at some point to survive.

Other steps have been taken, including allowing junior members to join with the hope that they will become legionnaires when they get older. The American Legion also accepts people whose father or grandfather served; they are designated as Sons of the American Legion.

The Powell post also has an affiliated motorcycle club called the Yellowstone Riders, made up of 22 members with an interest in both bikes and the military.

Army veteran Don Stolts, 85, has been a Legion member since 1949. Stolts said “it’s debatable” if the organization will last for many more years.

“The younger generation don’t get involved,” he said. “I don’t know what to do about it.”

Jo Ann Edmonds, 80, sat with Stolts before a dinner on March 21. It was designed to honor the 95th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion. Her late husband Duane Edmonds was an Air Force veteran.

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