The sleeve of The American Legion 2022-2023 membership shirt includes a familiar word: V.E.T.S.
It isn’t just a description of who we are. When used as an acronym, it is my theme for the year and a recipe for operating a successful American Legion post.
Through this concept, those who served (Veterans), will train (Education) Legionnaires about our advocacy, programs and remarkable history. We will work together (Teamwork) to grow and accomplish great things, as we mentor (Sponsor) the next generation of Legionnaires.
Programs that enjoy the greatest success are rarely the result of one person’s efforts. The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act was not passed because of any one of us. It was passed because thousands of Legionnaires contacted their representatives and senators before key votes.
An informed Legionnaire is a more effective Legionnaire. By working as a knowledgeable team and preparing our successors to improve on our accomplishments and innovate for future achievements, we can bequeath an even stronger American Legion than we inherited.
This vision only works with a strong membership base. I will proudly send any post that achieves a 90 percent retention rate this year a pin, which includes my V.E.T.S. theme. Those that achieve 95 percent will receive a V.E.T.S. coin. Membership-Excellence pins will go to Legionnaires that recruit five members from expired rosters.
I will also be signing national commander’s license plates for posts that achieve the “excellence” designation. Finally, departments will receive numbered V.E.T.S. coins to be given to Legionnaires of their choice who have gone above and beyond for membership.
Our membership demographics are shifting. This is a welcome development. The American Legion has always believed that a veteran is a veteran, but at the same time we cannot ignore the fact that one size does not fit all. Diversity means that tastes differ when it comes to entertainment, food and activities. The needs and priorities of a 20-year-old female veteran might be very different than what is important to her 75-year-old male counterpart. As far as this national commander is concerned, you are all to be equally valued.
Veterans Strengthening America,
Vincent J. “Jim” Troiola