Wilson, also of South Shore, served in the U.S. Army from 1968 until 1981, and spent time in Vietnam between 1969 and 1970. He said the area has been lacking a post for Vietnam vets for many years, pointing out there is one in Chillicothe which Wilson said isn't nationally recognized.
The Vietnam Veterans of America Post of South Shore is nationally recognized, he said.
"Membership is going in through the state of Kentucky, and all the paperwork will be going to national," Wilson said.
With the formation of a post in South Shore - serving Greenup and Lewis counties in Kentucky, and Scioto, Pike, Lawrence and Adams counties in Ohio - Wilson said he hopes to bring out local vets who may be weary of joining other posts such as the American Legion or Am-Vets. Already the post has 40 local members.
"Your Vietnam veterans are a group that have not really come out to join anything," he said. "When they come back from Vietnam, the country was in protest over the war, and a lot of the veterans that did come back went over to maybe an Am-Vets post or an American Legion post, and the older vets from the second World War told them, 'We don't need your kind here.'"
Now, Wilson said, because very few Vietnam veterans have joined groups like American Legion and Am-Vets, those posts are shrinking as time passes and its veterans from older wars age.
One of the ways he was able to build membership with his post was by participating in the Veterans Day events at Shawnee State University in November. In addition to this, he's also sending out invitations to nearly 200 veterans each month.
"A lot of people will sit in the outskirts and wait to see what happens. Well, it's happened, and I expect to see a lot more people come out to join," Wilson said.
He said the post also will be active in helping veterans with their growing health and mental problems that have arisen as a result of exposure to Agent Orange, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"A lot of them don't even have the mental capacity to go and even ask for help," Wilson said.
The post opened on Jan. 19, and their next scheduled meeting will be Feb. 23 at McKell Elementary School Library in South Shore at 1 p.m. Anyone interested in joining the post can show up to the meeting, or write to the Vietnam Veterans of America, P.O. Box 971, South Shore, Ky., 41175, or call Wilson at (740) 357-9112.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.