For 50 years, the Socorro chapter of the Disabled American Veterans has served local veterans and their community.

In the past, the chapter offered more services to Socorro’s veterans and the Socorro community. But it takes people willing to volunteer to keep things going. Declining participation is a reality for many service organizations these days, and the Socorro DAV is no exception.

There were 30 DAV chapters in New Mexico. Now there are 15. Socorro’s chapter is one of only two in New Mexico that still owns its own building and property and is the only one that still operates a bar and lounge.

The bar, which is open to DAV members, DAV Auxiliary members and their guests, provides part time employment for two people, and its proceeds help pay operating expenses of the chapter and help fund the services the chapter provides. Auxiliary membership is open to family members and extended family members of any honorably discharged veteran.

The national volunteer-run nonprofit organization was established after World War I to help veterans returning from war take back their lives and get medical services for those exposed to toxic substances or were injured in combat while serving their country during the war. There was no Department of Veterans Affairs back then.

Volunteers trained as Veteran Service Officers, of Chapter #24, serve as liaisons with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help veterans get the benefits they have earned because of their service. The chapter also assists veterans in need, provides a welcoming space for veterans, their families and their guests to meet, and also gives free meals to the community at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The service of the World War II veterans who started Chapter #24 in 1970 was taken up by those who served in Korea and Vietnam, but few veterans of our most recent military conflicts have chosen to carry on that tradition.

DAV Chapter #24 is seeking new members to continue and expand the services for all American veterans. Socorro’s veteran community invites all Veterans to “come together” and join Chapter #24, to bring along their new ideas and energy to keep the chapter improving service to old and new veterans.

If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Commander John Chavez at 505-220-9883, or Leonard Clapes, Treasurer at 575-835-4929.

Chieftain Staff Report