Wow, it's almost Memorial Day. It's been an incredible year, so far. I've had the opportunity to travel to many of the Detachments and visit with my comrades. I've had the opportunity to spread my theme of "United In Service" and more importantly I've seen our Legion Family living my theme. Working together with our Legion National Commander Dan Dellinger who is "Building Today for Tomorrow" and National President Nancy Brown-Park who is "Passing It On", we have all been “United In Service” trying to promote our Legion Programs and Family.
At the Spring NEC Meeting, over $140,000.00 in donations were turn in for various charities. My National Commander's Project "Legacy Scholarship Fund" had over $41,000.00 turned in. Our signature charity the Child Welfare Foundation had over $81,000.00 donated and I am proud to say that we have now donated over $6 million dollars to this Legion Foundation. The Detachment of Florida was named the Six Million Dollar Detachment. It was their donation that put us over that monumental figure. A special award will be coming their way at our Convention in Charlotte.
Membership was coming in well, however the 100% target date of May 14, 2014 came and went without much fanfare. With over 22,000 members still needed to make 100%, my dream of “Shooting For The Moon In Membership” and hitting 375,000 members is in serious jeopardy. We are at the crucial point where we need to reach out to all those members that have not renewed and remind them just why they jointed. We need to remind them of their father's or grandfather's service to our Country and we need to remind them of the value of their membership. Each year we lose over 30,000 members that joined, but have now decided not to renew. I need your help to remind them why they joined and to get them to renew. “United in Service” we can do it!
I am very proud of the service of all my officers and chairmen and commission and committee members. They have all been working hard to communicate to you our mission this year. It's your NECmen's job to bring the National message home and share it with you. If you have not heard anything, please track him down and find out why. There could be a good reason.
In closing, I still have a number of trips left to spread my word and to hear about all the great things you are doing. I'm looking forward to participating in the Legacy Run again this year and riding into Charlotte to open our Convention and thereby completing my year in office. Remember, donations for the Legacy can be turned in at Convention. I plan on having awards for the largest per capita squadron and Detachment and the largest gross donation from a squadron and detachment. There's still time to raise money. I want to thank all of you that have donated for my Challenge Coin, my t-shirts or my patches during my visitations. So far through your help we have raised over $12,000.00 for the Legacy. I still have coins, shirts and patches left if you are interested. Once again, thank for your support and for all that you do.
"United In Service"
Joe Gladden, National Commander
Sons of The American Legion