VFW voices membership, lease concerns to Craig Chamber

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Mark Wick, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 commander, presented concerns to the Craig Chamber of Commerce Board during its Thursday meeting.

He said members feel the organization wasn’t getting what it should out of its Chamber membership.

“Everyone said, ‘What are we getting for our money?’” Wick said. “That’s basically why I come over today, to let you know we’ve got a lot of heartburn, and it’s been (happening) over years.”

Wick said the two biggest concerns are how the Chamber represents the post and that the VFW isn’t paid for the use of land housing the Marcia Car across the street from the Chamber.

No action was taken on either issue during the meeting.

Another issue the VFW has with the Chamber, Wick said, is that despite providing chili to the organization during hunting season, the VFW post is not recognized as a Chamber restaurant member but instead only as a club.

“We are a men’s organization or a veteran’s group, but we’re not getting full representation,” Wick said. “We’re a lot of things in this community.

“We got to thinking we are paying for half membership, getting no representation and supplying the Chamber with chili. So, we stopped the chili and we stopped our membership.”

The Chamber Board contends that if the VFW wants to be listed as a restaurant it should pay extra.

Chamber Director Christina Oxley compared the VFW’s situation to Colorado Northwestern Community College.

“As a member, they’re a member in education,” she said. “We couldn’t put you in the health and fitness category because you owned a fitness club, so we went back and forth on that. As far as separate membership for Trapper (Fitness), is that included in CNCC, and if it is included, how do you make that happen?”

Board member Gene Bilodeau said he worries that allowing the VFW to be represented in multiple areas could set a precedent.

Wick said that when looking at the VFW membership with the Chamber, VFW members realized the Marcia Car, a local landmark that once belonged to David Moffat, had been sitting on the post’s property since 1959. The car belongs to the Chamber.

Oxley said the car was placed on the property in 1953, before the VFW owned the land and has stayed as a matter of convenience.

She said when the city entered into a lease for the park property, the Chamber did not have to broker a deal with the VFW.

Wick said as of now there is no city lease on the property and the VFW is working with the city to negotiate a new one. He emphasized an interest in working out a deal with the Chamber if the Marcia Car land is not part of an agreement with the city.

Bilodeau said it’s best to wait until official action between the VFW and city is completed.

Wick said if a deal on the land came to money, the funds would be earmarked for veteran services, exclusively.

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