American Legion posts, Legionnaires and SAL members affected by last fall’s Hurricane Ian have received nearly half a million dollars in grants through the Legion’s National Emergency Fund (NEF).
Hurricane Ian did an estimated $112.9 billion in damage, the third-costliest natural disaster in U.S. history per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Months later, Florida’s Gulf Coast remains devastated by the storm’s effects.
Through Feb. 20 — just under five months since Ian made landfall — the NEF had issued grants totaling $483,754.88 to 10 Legion posts and 165 Legionnaires and Sons.
Among those receiving an NEF grant was John Tiahnybik, a member of Squadron 703 in Fox Lake, Ill., whose home in Fort Myers Beach was devastated by the hurricane.
“I am still displaced from my house and have no date on when I can move back in,” Tiahnybik said by email. He said the NEF grant has allowed him to manage daily functions and try to get by.
“I want to thank the entire Legion Family. The Legion has been simply the best,” he said. “I will continue to support the Legion in any way I can forever.
“Words cannot express my gratitude.”
Ron Radosh, a member of John L. Murphy Post 303 in Bonita Springs — which was also heavily damaged by the hurricane — said the NEF grant had been “very, very helpful.”
The condominium complex where Radosh lived was devastated by the hurricane, with about eight feet of water in the building. “Right now, it’s uninhabitable, so we’re not able to be back in the building until September, that’s what they’re guessing,” he said. “So in the meantime, we have the expenses of taxes and condo association dues, and we have to rent while we’re out of the building. So (the grant) has come in handy to defray some of the costs. …
“We consider ourselves lucky, because so many people don’t even have a place to go back to,” said Radosh, who’s renting until he can move back to his condominium. “Their houses are gone.”
The American Legion’s National Emergency Fund is available to help American Legion members and posts, and Sons of The American Legion members, who have been impacted by natural disasters.
The NEF provides up to $3,000 for American Legion and Sons of The American Legion members 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.
NEF applicants must be current on their membership prior to the disaster and at the time of application submission, and must provide photos, receipts, insurance paperwork, and FEMA statements if possible.
Learn more at legion.org/emergency.