Virginia Post 1703 members and youth track 100 Miles for Hope photo

Virginia Post 1703 members and youth track 100 Miles for Hope

When The American Legion’s second annual 100 Miles for Hope challenge launched April 1, Mable Farris knew it would be a perfect fit for members of American Legion Post 1703 in Prince George, Va., and their children to participate in. Post members registered, they registered their children, then downloaded the Kilter app on their phones to track miles.

Many Post 1703 members exercise at least a half hour each day, but since the post is family-focused, the Legionnaires and their children meet up once a month at the field track at Fort Lee Army base to walk, bike or run for 30 minutes.

“Jointly, our 100 miles are complete. However, we will constantly accumulate points as we continue our initiative until Sept. 6 (last day of the challenge),” said Dr. Le’one Marie Brooks-Lee, adjutant of Post 1703. “Several of us complete up to three wellness activities each day. We are thankful the activities count toward our totals and our 100 Miles for Hope challenge.”

Post 1703 Commander Mable Farris said the youth participation in the 100 Miles challenge has been important. “The kids love it after having been cooped up for so long (due to the pandemic),” she said. “They are happy to be getting out of the house and getting some exercise. They like to feel a part of something as well.”

Farris is a charter member of Post 1703, which received its permanent charter in early June and references the year Prince George was established. The focus of Post 1703 is being family friendly. “We want our members to know that this is a family-oriented post, and we want the kids to be as involved as we can get them because that’s important to us,” Farris said. “If we can do things as a family, and family can come and everybody is involved, it makes people want to participate.”

Farris speaks her post family-friendly passion as her two granddaughters are Auxiliary members and travel with her to American Legion conventions and meetings; and her two sons and one grandson are Sons of The American Legion members.

Post 1703 doesn’t have a home; however, they found how to reach the community members that need them the most.

Post 1703 members created a relationship with the local Prince George Food Bank to help meet the needs of parents and their children that come through. Last year, they handed out school backpacks to children in August; during Halloween they handed out treat bags with candy and snacks for kids; and for Christmas parents could pick out toys for their kids.

“I like what The American Legion stands for and what we do for the community,” said Farris, a Department of Virginia service officer who joined the Legion in 2011 after retiring from the Army. Farris grew up in The American Legion as her father was actively involved.  “I realized when I got involved (with The American Legion) why it meant so much to him because – same thing for me – the camaraderie. Another reason I started the post (1703) is I feel that we’re all getting older and we need to have people in our lives that we know we can count on if an emergency arrives or if we just need somebody to talk to. I feel that when we have an organization that is committed to helping others, we have to be there for our members. So for our members I encourage everyone to know that that’s what we’re here for … we’re here for each other.”