Personality: Earl Reid

Spotlight on the Military Retirees Club president

4/11/2024, 6 p.m.
Earl Reid always knew he wanted to serve in the military, prompted in part by walking past the Military Retirees ...

Earl Reid always knew he wanted to serve in the military, prompted in part by walking past the Military Retirees Club, which was not far from the Gilpin Court neighborhood in which he grew up.

“I used to always wonder what they were doing over there in that building with the flag flying and people coming in and out, some in their uniforms,” said Mr. Reid, who often passed the nonprofit organization for military veterans while on his way to the nearby Battery Park swimming pool. “That’s when I decided … ‘I think that’s what I want to do.’”

Mr. Reid, 67, grew up as the second oldest with his mother and three sisters. At a young age, his mother taught him to be “tough,” take care of his sisters and be the “man in the house.”

Mr. Reid served in the Army Reserve and active duty for 22 years, where he earned the title of sergeant first class. He joined the Military Retirees Club after retiring, and was elected president in 2021 and re-elected in 2023.

Mr. Reid is proud of the improvements the MRC has made since he became president. One accomplishment, he said, is its new suicide prevention and substance addiction program, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

“Last year when we had our first fundraiser, we made a commitment (to focus) on drug (and) alcohol addiction for veterans and their families,” Mr. Reid said.

The MRC received grant funding to help implement the program, which still is in its beginning stages. In addition to creating and improving programs, the MRC is working to improve outreach, its membership and attract younger members.

“The bottom line is younger people are not staying in the military and most of them don’t want to commit to organizations,” Mr. Reid said. “It’s kind of hard right now.”

The MRC also has raised more money under his leadership, Mr. Reid said, with much of the funds used to maintain the 2220 Sledd St. facility.

“It’s just like your house,” Mr. Reid said. “You have to constantly keep your house up. I have that same attitude about this facility.”

Meet the president of the Military Retirees Club and this week’s Personality, Earl Reid:

Volunteer position: President, Military Retirees Club (MRC).

Occupation: Retired.

Date and place of birth: Jan. 17, Richmond.

Where I live now: Henrico County.

Education: General Educational Development.

Family: Wife, Alfreda A. Reid; son, Earl D. Reid Jr.

Military Retirees Club is: A 501 C (19) War Veterans nonprofit organization of nearly 54 years for retired military members.

Mission: To provide support to veterans in the Richmond area.

When and why founded: The MRC was founded in 1972 to maintain comradeship among retired military members and strengthen community bonds.

Founders: Leon Ellis and Joseph Stewart.

Location: 2220 Sledd St; Richmond

How the Military Retirees Club works: The Club functions off of its programs, events, dues and donations from members.

I initially got involved with the Military Retirees Club: To fulfill a childhood dream of supporting the military.

When elected president: In 2021, re-elected in 2023.

Why the Military Retirees Club is meaningful to me: We continue our comradeship as retired military personnel. More importantly, we support our community by hosting back-to-school drives providing students with school supplies and giving children toys during our Toys For Tots Childrens’ Christmas Parties. Our most recent endeavor, the Suicide Prevention and Opioid Addiction Services Program, which we’ve named “Bridge over Troubled Water”, will serve veterans, military service members and their families.

No. 1 goal and strategy as president: Obtaining more financial support for our programs and building fund. To increase the membership of our organization. Having a well-publicized and successful fundraising gala.

Biggest challenge: Overcoming the stereotype that the MRC is for social gatherings only.

The general public is unaware of the pivotal programs that we sponsor to give back to our community. That stereotype impacts both our ability to raise funds and increase our membership.

No. 1 joy I have witnessed by working with the Military Retirees Club: Is being a member of this historic organization at a time where I can see the fruits of our labor, which includes providing programs that impact our youth and help keep our veterans alive. The feeling I get when I see the looks on the youths’ faces that we support.

Also in seeing the response from our veterans such as retired Army First Sergeant, Charles H. Taylor, (who earned 2 Purple Hearts), who still attends our events at the age of 92.

Ways other military retirees can contact the Military Retirees Club and get involved:

Call the office at (804) 321-3188 or visit our website at mrcclub.com.

Want to go?

The MRC will host a fundraising gala on Saturday, April 13 from 5 - 9 p.m. Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, is the guest speaker. Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased onsite or via CashApp at $MRC220 or by calling 804-321-3188. For more information or to apply for membership, please visit the MRC’s website at www.mrcclub.com or visit the MRC at 2220 Sledd St.

How I start the day: With a prayer and a cup of coffee.

The three words that best describe me: Loving, focused and committed.

Best late-night snack: Popcorn.

My musical playlist: Jazz and Southern Soul.

I love to: Cook.

A quote that inspires me: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The best thing my parents ever taught me: Be strong and take care of your business.

The person who influenced me the most: My strong and hard-working mother.

Book that influenced me the most: “Your Comeback,” by Tony Evans.

Next goal: To expand our Club’s outreach to the surrounding community.