Kingston VFW faces possible closure

Steve DeLong, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1088 in Kingston, has issued a plea for members to take over officer positions to keep the Kingston organization open.

KINGSTON — Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1088 may be forced to close its doors if no one steps forward to lead the local organization.

The post is based in Kingston and nearly closed a year ago, but Maine Air National Guardsman Steve DeLong decided to join after seeing the building for sale and agreed to become its new commander to help keep it afloat.

After a year in the position, DeLong is once again worried about the future of Post 1088.

A meeting was held earlier this month to elect new officers to run the post, but none of its members stepped forward to take over the positions.

DeLong wants to remain a member of the post and will help out when he can, but said he can’t continue as commander for the next year because of his own family and work commitments.

“It’s like running a business,” said the 47-year-old Brentwood man.

The post has about 200 members and an auxiliary. DeLong said there’s a core group of about six members who regularly help with events.

“We’ve had great support from the auxiliary this year,” he said.

DeLong said it takes about six people to fill the officer positions that at this point will be mostly vacant if no one wants to take them over.

While many of its members are from the Vietnam era, DeLong said the post has recruited some younger veterans as well.

Two bartenders and a canteen manager make up the post’s staff, but they’ve been unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic and remain out of work as the canteen, which helps generate revenue, has not reopened.

Members have voted to consider surrendering Post 1088’s charter, meaning it would close.

DeLong said members must decide their next step in coming days. Options include closing, suspending the charter to allow it to be active again at some point in the future, or remaining open if current members or new ones join to take over the officer positions.

DeLong hopes there’s interest in keeping the post open to continue its charity work in the community and offer a place for veterans to continue to gather.

The post plans to hold a meeting in 10 days to make some decisions.

“This is a last-ditch effort to save it. We’ve got a lot of folks who come in here with the events we have,” he said.

DeLong encouraged anyone interested in becoming an officer to keep the post open to call him at 305-9485.