Local organizers are kicking off a membership drive to restart a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Stone County while ramping up services offered to veterans.

Though the last VFW post has not been active for six years or more, Stone County Veteran Service Officer Louis Goins says a growing veteran population could sustain a new group.

“By county, we have the fifth-largest population of veterans in the state of Mississippi,” Goins said.

Separately, he is also trying to expand his hours for the county VSO office. Goins has been working with VFW Mississippi’s state commander Louis George to get information out to the public.

They recently secured the Southern Pines Conference Center at the Hampton Inn to temporarily house the post until a permanent building can be established.

George said the post needs about 35 members to charter, but he believes there are many more eligible members in the area to sustain the post.

Once established, the VFW can support local schools with scholarship opportunities and classroom education.

The VFW post can support youth programs like the Boy Scouts of America and a JROTC program in the schools.

“We’re all about the community and the families as well as veterans,” George said.

To become a VFW member, a veteran must have served overseas.

With the proximity to many military training bases and a healthy veteran population, George thinks a new post could thrive in Stone County.

That is also why VSO Goins wants to expand his office hours.

Goins says he is seeing many more veterans come to him for help applying for benefits and other veteran resources and that his office needs more than 10 hours each week to handle the influx.

The Stone County Board of Supervisors approved Goins to receive training to expand his role, but Goins will need to complete more VSO training before the office can develop.

To learn more, contact VSO Louis Goins at 601-928-7509.

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