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Adams and Reese Attorney Marshall Hevron Leads Rapid Growth of New Orleans Veterans Post

5/28/2014

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Adams and Reese attorney Marshall Hevron, who is one of the founding members and former commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8973 in New Orleans, has helped the Post’s membership surpass 200, an astronomical increase since 2009, when the post had two active members, including Hevron. The post’s growth is the most rapid of any Louisiana VFW chapter and is likely one of the fastest of any post in the United States, reported by The Advocate in the May 28th publication and in the article, “NO VFW’s Post Membership Skyrocketing.”

Hevron, a Marine who did a tour of Iraq, said he joined the organization partly because, as he got off the plane from Iraq in early 2005, another returning soldier said to him, “I guess the next time I’ll see you will be at the VFW hall.” It was meant as a joke, Hevron said, but nevertheless, he joined the only remaining VFW hall on the east bank of New Orleans, at Annunciation and Lyons streets. (Two other posts remain on the east bank, but both have relatively small memberships and have no halls.)

Over the next four years, Hevron attended meetings sporadically and became part of a fast-dwindling group, as fellow members who had fought in World War II and Korea died.

Between 2009 and 2011, Hevron juggled the post along with law school. He was able to help it limp along, tripling the membership from two to six or seven people. But the post’s active membership was still in the single digits in November 2011, when Hevron sat down with Jeremy Brewer, another Marine who had served in Iraq.

“I thought, ‘We either have to go big or go home,’ ” said Hevron, who recently handed over the reins as post commander to Brewer.

They ended up diving into their efforts, putting up a Facebook page and a website and examining ways to redo the post’s hall, a former grocery store that was in a state of disrepair. At this point, the post is up to 170 members.

And now, with the post’s personnel in better shape, the next mission was to redo the Lyons Street building. An apartment upstairs that will be available to soldiers transitioning back to civilian life was the first priority. It’s now close to finished, with new countertops and other fixtures, all donated. A few weeks ago, workers gutted the downstairs, where there will be a kitchen, an office, a conference room and a more spacious meeting hall.

The post also defies national trends. Although more than 2 million veterans have now returned home from the Iraqi and Afghanistan conflicts, overall VFW membership numbers haven’t risen, said spokeswoman Randi Law. Today’s membership stands at 1.4 million, 2 million fewer than five years ago.

At Adams and Reese, Hevron is an associate in the Litigation Practice Group in the firm’s New Orleans office. In the community, he is a board member of the Louisiana Military Family Assistance Fund, Save Our Cemeteries, and the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee.