Are these veteran organizations just a place where veterans can go to drink and get drunk? 
No. Many veteran organizations do not serve alcohol. VFW Post 3348 does not serve alcohol. 

What is the difference between VFW and American Legion (A.L.)?
Both VFW and A.L. accept U.S. Citizens who are serving in, or have been Honorably Discharged from, the U.S. Armed Services. VFW requires the veteran to have served in a combat area during an actual conflict; A.L. does not. VFW accepts veterans who serve or served in the U.S. Armed Services (Army, Navy, Air Force, USMC and Coast Guard). A.L. accepts those veterans as well with the addition of the Merchant Marines.  

Officer Elections at the Post level: 
If a member, for whatever reason, cannot make it to  a meeting, when voting occurs for Post Officers, can that member vote by proxy or absentee? No. Proxy votes and Absentee ballots are specifically prohibited in elections --- observed by both VFW and A.L.
If more than one member is nominated for an office, voting can be by ballot. The majority winner wins. If more than two members are nominated and one of them does not get more than 50% of the vote, another vote is taken but limited to the top two. This applies to both the VFW and the A.L.

VFW Post Officer Nominations are always held in March & April; their election is in April. There are 6 elected VFW Post Officer positions: 1) Commander, 2) Senior Vice Commander, 3) Junior Vice Commander, 4) Quartermaster, 5) Chaplain and 6) 3-Year Trustee. The former 3-Year Trustee automatically becomes the 2-Year Trustee; the former 2-Year Trustee automatically becomes the 1-Year Trustee.

A.L. Post Officer Nominations are always held in March, April and May; their election is in June. There are 11 elected A.L. Post Officer positions: 1) Commander, 2) 1st Vice Commander, 3) 2nd Vice Commander, 4) Adjutant, 5) Finance Officer, 6) Service Officer, 7) Chaplain, 8) Post Historian, 9) Sergeant-At-Arms, 10) Member-At-Large #1 and 11) Member-At-Large #2. These 11 elected officers make up the Post Executive Committee. Some Posts make the Member-At-Large #1 their Judge Advocate to mimic National.

The National VFW By-Laws forbid any VFW Post member from holding more than one Post Officer position in his/her Post. The National A.L By-Laws do NOT forbid that, thus it is not uncommon to find, at the A.L. Post level, one A.L. Post member holding more than one Post Officer position.
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Annual membership dues are $45, and due on the anniversary of the date you joined the VFW or the date of annual renewal. Our Quartermaster (QM) will notify you if your Annual membership dues are due; if you become a Life Member, you no longer pay annual dues.

Student Vet's Annual membership is $20.

We have our own Service Officer (Tim Miller) but we send most members to meet with what is called the Service Team which meets at Wilcox Hall @ 22909 56th Ave W in Mountlake Terrace every Tuesday and Wednesday.

The key person on the Service Team is Rob Caldwell. There are roughly 8-10 veterans who volunteer; some of whom are trained in VA benefits and two of which (Rob Caldwell & Bob Capriles) are lawyers. They are very good. They specialize in helping veterans with PTSD.