AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The United Veterans Council of the Greater Youngstown area threw their last solo awards banquet Thursday night in Austintown. The 81-year-old veteran’s group has seen its numbers dwindle over the years.

For the last 81 years, the United Veterans Council has helped veterans. This dinner marks the end of an era because at midnight the UVC will partner with Mahoning County Veterans Services.

“It was started in the 40s, post-World War II, and it actually started to form a parade of all the different veterans’ groups,” said Sons of the American Legion in Poland, Jeff Vrabel Jr.

The United Veteran’s Council is made up of 34 veteran’s groups including American Legions and Catholic War Veterans.

“Like any other veterans’ organization, we’re all kind of suffering from people leaving. It’s getting hard to maintain,” said UVC Commander Terry Johnson.

Johnson said veteran’s groups are having a hard time getting younger veterans to participate.

“There’s sort of a stigma with some that it’s supposedly a private drinking club. That’s not what we’re about. We’re about doing things for the community,” said Johnson.

The UVC is merging with Mahoning County Veterans Services and will take on more of an advisory role going forward.

“The county veterans’ services commission will be taking over more of the operations like this dinner,” said Vrabel.

We’re told this partnership is expected to help streamline some events and services.

“Instead of doing the same things separately, we’re going to be doing them together,” said Vrabel.