Membership competition has only winners

The departments of Missouri and Kansas conducted a membership challenge for three days in September, but in the eyes of everyone involved, there were only winners: Kansas, Missouri and The American Legion.

Legion Family members from both states made phone calls and went door to door, working alongside Legion national staff to transfer headquarters post members into local posts, renew former members and sign up new ones.

Dennis Woeltje, Missouri’s membership chairman, hopes that similar competitions develop throughout the country. "Membership is important, and this really makes it fun," he said. "We had people from the Auxiliary, the Legion Riders, dual members and the Sons all putting in effort to make sure this was a success. The hope is that this escalates to the point where other states are doing it."

Revitalization efforts were based out of Post 153 in Olathe, Kan., and Post 21 in Independence, Mo. Legion Family members from both departments made phone calls to a list of expired and DMS members, resulting in 442 DMS transfers into local posts. Teams of Legionnaires and national staff divided up similar lists and traveled throughout neighborhoods in both areas, selling the importance of being a part of a local Legion post.

"It’s getting a Legionnaire into a local post where they can see what their dues are doing," Department of Kansas Commander Gaylord Sanneman said. Once they’re in a local post, "they can help financially support Legion programs — that’s a big selling point."