Sprint to the finish

Sprint to the finish

If the trend continues, the 2024 membership year can be a special one for The American Legion. Departments and posts have recruited and renewed about 15,000 more members than we had at this time last year. While our direct mail efforts have been less successful, this only demonstrates the proven success of personal contact, even if it’s by phone.

A larger American Legion benefits all Americans. This means more Legionnaires to engage in buddy checks, as we commit to be the one to stop veteran suicide. It means more Legionnaires to operate great programs such as Boys State, junior shooting sports, oratorical contests and American Legion Baseball. It means more Legionnaires to welcome transitioning servicemembers into their communities, assist with job fairs, visit classrooms and persuade elected leaders to do right by veterans. These activities are how The American Legion is able to save lives and to change lives.

Trends can be deceiving, however. In the past, we have started the membership year strong only to lose momentum in the final stretch. “Wait till next year,” has been the battle cry for many losing teams. I reject that mentality. There is no time like the present and our membership year runs through June 30.

Rocky fans of a certain age are familiar with the song “Eye of the Tiger.” The chorus is meant to channel the passion and commitment it takes to win. Generations ago, it took Eye-of-the-Tiger dedication to make The American Legion the largest and greatest veterans organization in the country. We still are.

My predecessor set a goal to recruit 75,000 new members during the 2023 membership year. We surpassed that. The goal for 2024 is 78,000 new members and it is perfectly achievable.

Any Legionnaire who recruits two new members to our organization will receive a “Be the One” dog tag coin from me.

If you are not a current member, you can join simply by clicking here. You can renew just as easily here. If you want to beat inflationary dues increases, consider a Paid Up for Life membership. You could also join more than 10,000 other Legionnaires and try our new three year membership option.

As I said earlier, personal contact matters. Legionnaires who are welcomed by active and engaged posts in their communities are more likely to stay Legion. One of the highlights of my time in The American Legion was when my post, 157 in Horicon, Wis., was recognized for “100 percent” and “All Time High” membership awards during years that I served as its commander and adjutant. It was never about “me.”  It was always about “we.”

As The American Legion observes its 105th birthday, I can think of no better manner of celebrating than to put our organization on the path for growth. With your help, I know that we can do just that.