To the Editor:
I am writing in response to the Cape May Spout Off published in the Herald May 1 regarding Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 386 of Cape May.
Evidently, the spouter does not frequent the VFW, the American Legion, or the Veterans Home Association at 419 Congress Street in Cape May or they would know the answer to their question(s) in the spout.
If the club were operated by the VFW, unless you are a VFW member you could not enter the door without a valid VFW membership card. Because of these national VFW by-laws, VFW Post 386 leases the building to the Veterans Home Association.
It is the Home Association that owns the liquor license and operates the building as a private club. The VFW and American Legion meet at the building and their members are permitted entry and use of the club because of the Home Association by-laws.
New Jersey's Alcoholic Beverage Control rules require that anyone in the building be a member of the organization who operates the private club or a guest of a member. They must register (sign-in) and possess proof of membership.
As a guest, you are not permitted to purchase alcohol and if your sponsor leaves, the guest must also leave. Just because you may be a veteran you are not entitled to enter the building at 419 Congress Street unless you are a "dues paying" member of one of the organizations mentioned above or as a guest of a member.
If you are a member of another VFW, American Legion, or Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Post, you can register as a guest and will be admitted providing you have your current membership card in your possession and show it to the individual checking membership cards. In this case, you are permitted to purchase liquor at the bar.
I do not know where the spouter got the impression and why they used the term "audacity" to describe folks at the Home Association. They are always friendly and following the ABC rules of N.J.
Also, I have never heard anything about "rank" used in the club. I guess they pestered the spouter regarding their membership card; again, it's the law that you have one to get in the door.
Regarding "first responders," they are welcome, just like the spouter, providing they are members. Rules are rules. Even active duty military members are required to have membership cards to be admitted other than as a guest.
I am a retired Army officer and the adjutant of VFW Post 386 (I am not an officer of the Home Association). I get a little upset when anyone believes they are entitled to something/anything because they served their country.
As a citizen, it is your duty to serve your country. I am sure you are proud and happy to have served your nation and do not think you are entitled to any more than any other citizen of the nation.
If you are ever in the area of 419 Congress Street again, stop in at the VFW building. We would love to see you.
If you are not a member, we would be glad to enroll you into the VFW (if you fought in a foreign war), the American Legion (if you were in the military at the time of war), or the Veterans Home Association if neither of the above apply.