The 2023 storm season already has been an active one, with tornadoes reported in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
And American Legion posts already have stepped up to help, providing food and other donations to those impacted. And another way one Indiana post has helped out is through a donation to the Legion’s National Emergency Fund (NEF), which provides financial assistance to Legionnaires, posts and Sons of The American Legion impacted by natural disasters.
In mid-April, Atkins Saw American Legion Post 355 on the south side of Indianapolis made a $5,000 donation to the NEF. Post 355 Commander Duane Sloan, Post Adjutant Guy Clemons and executive board member Donald McCoy traveled to American Legion National Headquarters and presented the check to National Treasurer Shawn Long, who in turned presented the group with a thank-you letter, a certificate of appreciation and a signed photo of American Legion National Commander James Troiola.
The donation was spearheaded by Post 355 member Matthew Longshore, a U.S. Navy veteran. “We’ve been looking for some different organizations to donate to, and I started looking at the (NEF),” said the 42-year-old Longshore. “I had no idea how much the fund did - $3,000 a member, $10,000 for a post for after a storm. We thought that was a pretty good deal. And it helps our brothers and sisters.”
While noting that the fund can assist those impacted by such events as a tornado that struck nearby Martinsville, Ind., Longshore said he also appreciates that the NEF is a nationwide program.
“I’m originally from California, and I know of a lot of areas there that have been burned out,” he said. “No matter where you are in the country, it’s coming. We’ve got severe weather coming here this time of year. The fire season’s coming on the West Coast. And the National Emergency Fund goes everywhere. We’re thinking about making this a recurring donation.”
The American Legion’s National Emergency Fund provides up to $3,000 for qualified Legionnaires or Sons of The American Legion, and up to $10,000 for qualified American Legion posts which have been affected by declared natural disasters.
To be eligible for an individual grant, the Legionnaire or Son:
1. Must have been displaced from their primary residence due to damage sustained during a declared natural disaster.
2. Must provide copies of receipts of items required to meet immediate needs, such as housing, food, water, clothing, etc., during the period immediately following the disaster.
3. Must be an active member at the time of the disaster and the time of application.