Of all the groups I thought I’d get in trouble with, I never expected it to be the Veterans of Foreign Wars!
I’ve been a member of the VFW for many years, but yesterday I got a certified letter from Robert B. Greene, Quartermaster General of the national headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, rather rudely informing me that by using the name Veterans of Foreign Wars or the letters VFW in our website or on our RV parking guide for VFW members, I have violated their copyright. They have ordered me to cease and desist using their name or distributing anything with their name or initials, and want any profits we have received from the guide.
I must say that as a long time member of VFW Post 8813 in Peshtigo, Wisconsin and a third generation VFW member, I am surprised. I never for a minute believed I was doing anything wrong. In fact, it was the commander of a VFW post who suggested I create the guide in the first place.
The various VFW posts are always excited to see members from other posts stop in, and have all been grateful for their listing, which is free. It helps traveling VFW members find a safe place to park overnight, and they usually give the local post a few dollars for their hospitality, plus money they spend for a dinner or drinks. To me, it was a win-win situation for both traveling VFW members and for the VFW posts listed. Apparently the VFW national office is more concerned with dollars in its pockets rather than the veterans it is supposed to serve. We sell very few of the guides, but I give them to just about every RVer who is a VFW member I meet. In fact, I have given away many more copies of the VFW guide than I have sold, because up until now I have always believed in the VFW.
Since we have actually sold very few of the guides, and we charge just about enough to cover our printing and mailing costs, the “profit” the VFW demands I turn over to them amounts to about $12.50 over the last four years (not counting the money I lost in the copies I have given to VFW members). That does not include my time to drive to the post office and mail them out, or the cost of my calls to the various VFW posts to check every year if their status or address has changed. It also doesn’t count the copies I have given to VFW posts I have visited. $12.50 won’t break us, but it’s pretty offensive to me that a longtime VFW member gets slammed like this.
So, effective immediately, we can no longer publish or give away our VFW guides. I’m sorry that my fellow veterans cannot use this information to find a safe place to park overnight, and that the posts they visit will lose out on the money they spend there in drinks, dinner, and donations. I will miss being a member of the VFW, but when I send them their $12.50 check, it will be the last check I ever do, as I will not renew my membership.
Somebody asked me if this means that a telephone yellow pages can’t use the name VFW? I have no idea. You’d have to ask Mr. Greene at their national headquarters that. Hell, for all I know I’ll get another nasty letter for using their name in this blog.
Thought For The Day – America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms it will be because we destroyed ourselves. – Abraham Lincoln