CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Many veteran service organizations throughout the Coastal Bend are seeing a continued decline in membership. It's mostly because their members are aging and need to recruit younger members.
The Marine Corps League (MCL) is no exception. So now, they are looking for a few, proud volunteers to join their ranks.
Marine Corps veteran Diane Brady is leading the charge.
"Some people tell me I'm the heart of the group," said the MCL Coastal Bend Detachment 430 communications director.
These days, that heart needs more bodies.
Brady says around 20 volunteers show up for meetings, but since the group is so active in the community, it could use more help.
Brady said most of the challenge with recruiting for the Marine Corps League is that many younger Marine Corps veterans are still working, and cannot find the time to volunteer. She said others distrust organizations such as the VA, so they stay on the sidelines.
But she wants to change that, and appeal to their desire to serve once again alongside their fellow Marines.
“They're your brothers," Brady said. "They're your sisters, they're your neighbors. You go to church with them. I mean, we're here.”
The group is responsible for a number of tasks, activities and programs throughout the Coastal Bend, such as performing military honors at funerals, handing out college scholarships and even providing free uniforms to those who want to be buried in style when they are laid to rest.
“I kept thinking about it,” said Samuel Cuevas, who received a free uniform. “I said 'I just have to go out first class, and I want to go out with pride that I served my country.”
Recently, the Marine Corps League even picked up the travel expenses for Danin Valenzuela, who is not even a Marine, but his brother-in-law is.
Valenzuela is getting treated for cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
“My brother-in-law said you don't have to worry about financial. We'll take care of it," Valenzuela said. “It gave me hope. “
Here’s how you can join the group on Facebook or contact Diane Brady at 361-557-0866.
Contact Veterans In Focus reporters: Pat Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org and Greg Chandler at email@example.com.