Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,
As a former American Legion Baseball coach, I know how important sports participation is to the development of our youth. As we age, we get busy and sometimes regular fitness gets cast aside to our detriment.
Soon after the pandemic took hold, many of us discovered the COVID-19 weight gain. Those initial social-distancing rules often kept us from walking our dogs, taking a leisurely bike ride and participating in other basic group activities. As our weight increased, our wellbeing decreased.
But thanks to immediate Past National Commander Bill Oxford, the 100 Miles for Hope challenge was born. In the two editions of the challenge, American Legion Family members have emerged from the darkness of the pandemic to once again engage in physical activities. We’ve heard stories of veterans who have lost significant weight, rediscovered their love for physical fitness and embraced a more healthy lifestyle.
And that’s not all.
While the final numbers for the second annual event are still being tabulated, I can assure you that more than $360,000 was raised. That means that more than a half million dollars was generated for the Veterans & Children Foundation in just two challenges.
I will be honored to keep Commander Oxford’s initiative rolling. It plays right into my fundraising goal to hit $2 million for the Veterans & Children Foundation. The foundation provides critical resources for our department service officers and provides grants via the Temporary Financial Assistance program for families with young children who fall upon hard times.
Right now we are surveying participants from the first two 100 Miles for Hope challenges. We will use their input to improve the third edition of 100 Miles for Hope. Already, we have gleaned a lot of good data and feedback from the hundreds of responses already submitted.
One survey respondent said, “(I) enjoy the ability to challenge myself to do better. Thank you for coming up with this great idea of not only losing weight but the ability to help the children and youth of our great organization.”
And that’s what it is all about. Helping our nation’s youth, as well as our disabled veterans, who are the beneficiaries of the 100 Miles for Hope proceeds.
I hope you will join me next year as we walk, ride and do other fitness activities to show how we are … Veterans Strengthening America.