Anne Arundel chapters of the National Association of Retired FederalEmployees (NARFE) are searching frantically for new members, trying to win the nation-wide Million Member Game.
As part of a nationwide promotional campaign to gain "A Million or More by '94," thereby doubling the national organization's membership, the NARFE chapter or individual member who recruits the most members by 1994 will receive prizes.
The prizes include weekends for two, a trip to Las Vegas to the convention headquarters and national recognition.
"There are 300,000 retired employees in the Maryland, Virginia and Delaware area, and we only have 20,000 members," said Edward Thomas, president of Glen Burnie Chapter 1519. "We need to get the name NARFE around."
The 16-year-old Glen Burnie chapter's approximately 570 members meet to discuss local issues and concerns with guest speakers twice a month. Thespeakers include congressmen, local legislators and officials from the federal Food and Drug Administration, Internal Revenue Service andthe Arthritis Foundation.
"We don't just sit around and talk about negative things," said Thomas. "It keeps you up to date on changes affecting federal employees."
Montgomery County resident Martin Wish, the leading recruiter in the nation with 190 new members to his credit, has a different incentive.
"The more members there are, themore influence you have on the Hill," said Wish, referring to the organization's commitment to monitoring federal legislation. "My interest is that I believe in what the organization's all about -- to protect and look out for the best interests of the retirees."
The national association was formed on Feb. 19, 1921 by 14 retired federal employees who wanted to expand the $60-a-month pension offered to Civil Service employees at the time.
Since then, 1,740 chapters have formed in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.
More chapters will be formed by 1994, the year the association hopes to fulfill its million-member goal. Special new-member rates are beingoffered as an incentive, in addition to the contest.
Thomas has already added 70 new members to the Glen Burnie Chapter in the past three months.
NARFE "helps them in a time of need, represents them on the National level through exacting legislation, and at the same time provides good companionship," he said. "We want them to come out and find out what we're doing."