Creating opportunities for young people

Creating opportunities for young people

Dear American Legion Family members and friends,

The American Legion’s impact and influence on communities, states and nation is difficult to completely assess. Across the nation, American Legion members are making a difference in their communities, often one veteran or family member at a time.

One area of particular importance is the support of children through our youth programs and scholarships. The groundwork for these programs is under way now. Registration for American Legion Baseball will begin soon. Posts, districts and departments will soon be preparing for their oratorical contests, Boys State sessions, air rifle competitions, Junior Law Cadet programs and many others.

The new year also is the harbinger of the start of scholarship season.

The American Legion’s Legacy Scholarship provides college funding to children of post-9/11 veterans who died on active duty, or those who have a combined VA disability rating of 50% or greater. The application period opened Jan. 1 and will close on April 1.

Since the needs-based scholarship was created in 2004, it has helped children of our nation’s heroes afford college. It would not be possible without the dedication of our American Legion Riders or the kindness of our donors.

Simply put: The American Legion Legacy Scholarship changes lives.

For example, Nate Smith is pursuing an engineering degree at Virginia Tech. The 2021 recipient is the son of Shaun Smith, who served in the Navy for 24 years. He suffered back injuries and has post-traumatic stress disorder from his service.

“Veterans have already done so much for our country,” Nate said. “The fact they're even providing for me further into college is amazing to me because I feel they've done enough for me, but they've continued to want to serve people. And that's amazing.”

Reese Reiling, who is pursuing a master’s at UMass-Boston, qualified for the scholarship due to her dad’s 80% VA disability rating. She is grateful for the donors.

“I would have to give the biggest thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said late last year. “Without the scholarship, I’m not sure how I would be able to achieve a work-life balance. Having a full-time job on top of this would make it really hard to not only finish on time but also finish the research I’m wanting to do. It’s a big weight off my back.”

Let’s continue on this important legacy in support of our veterans and their children. Consider a donation here and be sure to encourage young people in your community to apply (details here) so they have an opportunity to receive this benefit.

National Commander

Vincent J. “Jim” Troiola