There aren’t many places that meet both parts of such a plan, but the Elizabethton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2166 is one such option. The post will be celebrating New Year with a dance on Dec. 31 from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. with dance music provided by Jerry Pierce and the Nightlife Band. The dance will be held at the VFW hall, 2001 W. Elk Ave.
Proceeds from the dance will go to revitalize the VFW building. New post commander Andy Wetzel said he is working to rebuild the VFW presence in the community. Like many other VFW posts around the country, the local organization has been in a long decline with the aging of World War II and Korean War veterans.
Wetzel, who recently retired from the Marine Corps Reserve, is attempting to recruit younger veterans into the organization and to restore the post’s mission of working for causes of interest to veterans and taking care of older veterans. Membership in the post has seen increased by 26 members recently, but Wetzel said membership fees are not a big help on the local level, with much of the fees being taken at the state and national level.
Wetzel is using such activities as the New Year’s Dance to generate interest in the VFW and to raise funds for repairs and renovations.
State Sen. Rusty Crowe and state Rep. John Holsclaw heard of Wetzel’s efforts and the legislators contributed $200 each toward the renovation effort on Friday morning. He said U.S. Rep. Phil Roe also plans a donation. Crowe, a Vietnam War veteran, praised Wetzel’s efforts to revitalize the organization.
But the dance is not just a fundraiser. Wetzel said it will be a great place to dance and meet new people. He said “it is the only place to be in Carter County on New Year Eve,” with live music, snacks, a cash bar with beer and wine, and champagne and dessert at midnight.
Admission is $25 (cash or check only) per person. You do not need to be a veteran to come to the dance. Advance tickets are on sale at Stateline U-Store-It, 3694 Highway 19E, on Monday, and at the UPS Store in Elizabethton. Advanced tickets are also available from David Batchelder, veterans service officer, on the second floor of the Carter County Courthouse on Monday.