OCW fundraising efforts nears 40 percent of goal

American Legion National Commander Jim Koutz’s main fundraising initiative, Operation Comfort Warriors, is approaching 40 percent of his goal.

Since August, more than $185,000 has been raised toward the commander’s $500,000 goal for OCW. The program just received a $15,000 donation from Post 78 in the Department of Massachusetts. To learn more about OCW, or make a donation, click here.

In other OCW-related developments:

• Steer wrestling champion Trevor Knowles will be wearing an OCW patch during the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas next month.

• OCW will provide door prizes to wounded, injured and ill servicemembers at Walter Reed Medical Center during a Christmas dinner to be held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 14.

In other news:

Reaching out to educators: Representatives of The American Legion’s National Committee on Education exhibited recently at the annual conference of the Association of Middle Level Education in Portland, Ore. The representatives shared information about academic scholarships, Legion youth programs, and flag education with about 5,000 middle school teachers, counselors and principals. Membership and DMS Program: There were 53 departments that achieved the 65 percent target. The current 2013 traditional membership total is 1,517,235, which is 76 percent of the 2013 goal. The next target date is Dec. 12, which is the 75 percent target.

The 2013 Membership Year began on July 1. This report reflects responses being tracked for the new membership year.

DMS Acquires: Prospects: 62,131 Expires: 37,049; TOTAL: 99,180

2013 Goal: 210,000; percentage of goal: 47.2 percent (up from 45.9 percent)

Current Renewal Rate for 2012 DMS Members: 35.2 percent (up from 34.8 percent)

On-Line Renewal Activity: 2013 Membership Year On-Line Renewals: 132,236 (up from 129,574)

Sons growing: The Sons of The American Legion membership for 2013 currently stands at 123,663 members or 35.l percent. The Sons are running 11,821 members ahead this same date last year. Membership for 2012 stands at 352,316 members or at 101.1 percent. Thirty detachments have already achieved 100-percent membership for the 2012 membership year.

Veterans Day radio operation: Members of The American Legion Amateur Radio Club (TALARC) operated all day Sunday as a "special event" station commemorating Veterans Day on the shortwave amateur radio bands. As a result of the operation, TALARC and the Legion gained new members, topping the 1,000-member mark.

PSA package: The "Celebrate Our Veterans" PSA package, which includes the new Patriotic Holidays spots, has been well received by program and public service directors. The spots are available free to all public relations officers/chairmen who wish to market them locally with an email request.