Legion providing assistance to Oklahoma veterans

The Category 5 tornado that ripped through parts of Oklahoma on May 20 damaged 2,400 homes, according to Jerry Lojka of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

The American Legion has available National Emergency Fund assistance to those veterans impacted by the strong storms. The Legion has already received and processed 17 NEF and TFA applications, and more are expected.

The Legion has vowed to provide $1 million to veterans affected by the tornadoes that struck Moore and Oklahoma City. Donations are still being accepted.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Department of Oklahoma Adjutant Lance Rooms, along with other Legionnaires, were onsite at the Home Depot in Moore, which is serving as a relief center. They were letting veterans know that The American Legion is there to help, including helping storm victims apply for emergency aid.

To help promote the NEF availability, staff members produced 60- and 30-second radio public service spots providing information on how to apply for NEF assistance for veterans. The spots, along with written copy for local announcers to read, were sent to radio stations in Oklahoma with the press release announcing the Legion NEF availability.

In addition to Oklahoma, the Legion is currently accepting applications from South Dakota, Texas and Illinois for the recent natural disasters in their states.

In other news:

Operation Comfort Warriors: Operation Comfort Warriors served as the theme for The American Legion’s float during Saturday’s 500 Festival Parade, part of the Indianapolis 500 race festivities. Six Iraq and Afghanistan veterans from central Indiana and National Commander James Koutz were honored guests on the float.

Boys Nation: A video teleconference was conducted on May 22 among National Headquarters staff in D.C. and Indianapolis to begin coordination of public relations and media support for The American Legion Boys Nation program this summer on the campus of Marymount University in Arlington, Va.

American Legion Baseball: ALB registration topped 4,000 teams this season, with only 250 of those teams needing to complete their registration by fulfilling background screening requirements, purchasing insurance and paying registration fees. Teams have until midnight May 31 to fully complete ALB registration for the 2013 season.

Membership and DMS Program: The current 2013 traditional membership total is 1,938,077, which is 97.1 percent of the 2013 goal. To date, there are eight departments that have attained at least 100 percent of their traditional membership goal.

Based on the four DMS mailings this year, we have acquired:

DMS Acquires: prospects 96,097, expires 77,883, total 173,980

2013 Goal – 185,000; percentage of goal: 94 percent

Current Renewal Rate for 2012 DMS Members — 50.1 percent (95,023 of 189,685 new 2012 members)

On-Line Renewal Activity: 2013 Membership Year On-Line Renewals (since July 1) is 183,933.

Sons of The American Legion: The Sons of The American Legion membership for 2013 currently stands at 332,842 members or 94.2 percent as of May 23. At present, the Sons are running 1,852 members ahead of this same date last year. The processing, packaging and shipping of the 2014 SAL membership cards is under way. Cards will start being distributed May 28 and conclude June 5.