American Legion Post 555, located inside the Miami Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill, Ind., about 70 miles north of Indianapolis, is one of six prison Legion posts in the state of Indiana. Since it was chartered in 2009, Post 555's more than 70 members have donated nearly $24,000 to their local community, including a $1,000 donation to Legion's Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program.
American Legion Past National Commander Jim Koutz visited Post 555 members in late July to personally accept the OCW donation.
"I was asked by many fellow Legionnaires, ‘Why would you want to have a Legion post in a prison?' My answer, ‘Because they were veterans first,'" Koutz said.
Post 555 members are able to fundraise and give back to their community by hosting food drives within the correctional facility. Inmates there work for state prison pay, which is 12 to 20 cents an hour.
"Yes, these men are incarcerated, but they are veterans who were proud to serve their country and are now proud to serve their community," Koutz said.
Members of Post 555 and Miami Correctional Facility staff members recently shared their thoughts on the value of having a Legion post inside a prison. Watch the video here .
"There is pride in everything that they do," said Mark Sevier, superintendent of the Miami Correctional Facility. "Being a member of the Legion is part of their makeup in making them a better person."