The fire that destroyed almost 1,000 homes and damaged hundreds more last week in Colorado impacted many members of the Legion Family. But other Legionnaires, Sons and Auxiliary members are mobilizing to help.
American Legion Post 119 in Estes Park, Colo., is raising money to help members of Post 111 in Louisville who were impacted by the fire.
“From personal experience, we know what it’s like to fear for our homes but can’t imagine what it was like to see them destroyed,” Post 119 Commander Steve Irish wrote for the Estes Park Trail Gazette.
In addition to collecting financial donations, Post 119 is planning a series of fundraising events “to provide ongoing support for those affected as they rebuild their lives in the long months ahead,” Irish wrote.
Also, Past Department Commander Greg Jackson has set up a Facebook fundraiser to help veterans and their families displaced by the Boulder County fire. And the Department of Colorado Auxiliary is coordinating donation efforts as well.
The area impacted by the fire has been declared a major disaster area, opening up federal funding to those affected. It also opens eligibility for The American Legion’s National Emergency Fund (NEF) and the American Legion Auxiliary’s Auxiliary Emergency Fund (AEF).
The NEF is available to help American Legion members and posts, and Sons of The American Legion members, who have been impacted by natural disasters. The AEF is a national grant assistance program that provides temporary emergency assistance to eligible members of the American Legion Auxiliary who have endured a significant financial setback as the result of an act of nature or other personal crisis.
The NEF provides up to $3,000 for American Legion and Sons of The American Legion members with an active membership who have been displaced due to damages to their primary residence, and up to $10,000 for posts that have been damaged by a natural disaster and whose programs and activities within the community are impacted.
Apply for an NEF grant by visiting legion.org/emergency/apply.
Since Jan. 1, 2021, the NEF has provided more than $150,444 in grants to 71 American Legion and Sons members, and five American Legion posts. The program began in 1969 as a one-time effort in the wake of Hurricane Camille, which devastated the Gulf Coast – primarily Mississippi, and parts of Louisiana and Alabama. NEF was resurrected in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo pummeled the Carolinas and Puerto Rico, and since then has provided more than $8 million in direct financial assistance to American Legion and Sons members, and American Legion posts.
NEF relies on donations to help Legionnaires, posts and Sons recover from disaster. One hundred percent of donations to the NEF directly help veterans and their families recover from natural disasters.
To donate to the NEF, click here.