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OCTOBER 20, 2011 COMMANDER’S MESSAGE PLANNER


OCTOBER National Disability Employment Awareness Month


23-28 National Legion College, Indianapolis


NOVEMBER


Membership Retention Month


11 Veterans Day


13-19 American Education Week


16 65-percent membership target date


20-26 National Family Week


24-26 Holiday Donor Blood Drive


DECEMBER


1-31 Holiday Donor Blood Drive


7 Pearl Harbor Day


14 75-percent membership target date


15 Bill of Rights Day JANUARY


6-7 Membership & Post Activities planning session


13 Deadline for nominations for Employer of Veterans Award, Employ the Older Worker Award, Employment Service Award and National Organization on Disability Award


13 Deadline for Homeless Veteran Task Force reports


16 Martin Luther King Jr. Day


19 80-percent membership target date


Published monthly. Printed by HNE Printers, Columbus, Ind.


All American Legion publications are entitled and encouraged to reproduce all staff -written stories within, but please credit Dispatch as the source.


A proud member of The National American Legion Press Association. ACTIVATION


Want to get involved in one of The American Legion’s many national programs? Do you have a question about veterans aff airs, national defense or what is going on in Washington? All you have to do is pick up the phone or send an e-mail.


Americanism/Children & Youth (317) 630-1203 acy@legion.org


Economic (202) 861-2700


econ@legion.org Finance


317-630-1222 fi nance@legion.org


Internal Aff airs (317) 630-1330 ia@legion.org


Legislation


(202) 263-2981 leg@legion.org


National Security/Foreign Relations (202) 861-2700 nsfr@legion.org


National Convention (317) 630-1292 dholmes@legion.org bwilliams@legion.org


National Emblem Sales (888) 453-4466 emblem@legion.org emblem.legion.org


Public Relations (317) 630-1253 pr@legion.org


The American Legion Magazine (317) 630-1298


magazine@legion.org


The American Legion Library (317) 630-1366


library@legion.org


Veterans Aff airs & Rehabilitation (202) 861-2700 var@legion.org


American Legion Baseball (317) 630-1249


jquinlan@legion.org legion.org/baseball


American Legion Child Welfare Foundation (317) 630-1202 www.cwf-inc.org


American Legion Endowment Fund (317) 630-1202


American Legion Riders (317) 630-1327


legionriders@legion.org Boys Nation


(317) 630-1207 acy@legion.org


Family Support Network (317) 630-1395 (800) 504-4098


familysupport@legion.org


Junior Shooting Sports (317) 630-1249


cshort@legion.org


Legion College (317) 630-1265


mherndon@legion.org


National Emergency Fund (317) 630-1321 ia@legion.org


National Oratorical Contest (317) 630-1249


cshort@legion.org


Sons of The American Legion SAL@legion.org


A thousand stories of troop support to tell Passionate, active involvement with U.S.


military personnel is so embedded in T e American Legion’s culture, we don’t even think about it any more. Unfortunately, too many others don’t think about it, either. When I tell Department of Defense offi cials and Family Readiness Groups what the Legion does to assist men and women in uniform, their families and their units, too oſt en I hear the response, “I had no idea the Legion did that.” T at is why I have


directed National Headquar- ters staff to create a special email account – troopsup- port@legion.org –for Legion members and supporters to send examples of all they do to support those currently serving. Submissions may be published in Legion national media, or included in reports and testimony in Washington. I am confi dent we have 1,000 or more stories of Legion troop support to tell. Across the country, Legionnaires humbly


Fang A. Wong National Commander


very minute a Legionnaire near you is fi lling giſt boxes, buying phone cards, planning a welcome- home dinner or baby-sitting for a military spouse. Every gesture matters. We know what we do. Others, however, do not. A recent Pentagon report identifi ed 13 commu-


nity-based organizations around the country that collectively represent a “groundswell of support” for those serving in uniform, veterans and their families. T e Legion, which has been a leader in troop support worldwide for more than 90 years, was noticeably absent from the list. I asked around about this and discovered that many in DoD, including some top offi cials, simply are not aware of all that the Legion does. DoD and VA have an understandable concern,


conduct a wide variety of meaningful activities for the military community, from job fairs to demobilization briefi ngs, from Family Support Network volunteerism to the delivery of Temporary Financial Assistance cash grants. T e Legion’s list of grass-roots military-support initiatives varies from place to place, depending on proximity to bases and the size and composi- tion of the community. Eff orts include posts that have adopted National Guard or reserve units, coordination of Heroes to Hometowns programs, and military-funeral security provided by American Legion Riders. With the holidays now upon us, it’s a safe bet that at this


with so many diff erent organizations wanting to help military families or newly discharged veterans: coordination. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen described a “chasm” he says exists between the military and civilian communities. And former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said “DoD cannot do it alone” when military personnel or newly discharged veterans need help. Transition assistance and military support are among the most important values of the Legion. And, with nearly 14,000 local posts, no organization is better positioned to provide direct assistance or to coordinate community eff orts. Modesty may be a virtue, but the eff ective- ness of Legion troop-support programs is a story we need to tell at the local, state and national levels. T e troops and families we seek to serve need to know that the Legion all of th


indeed does all of this.


Memoranda IN YOUR OWN WORDS


The American Legion’s website – www.legion.org – now off ers a place for creative work currently coming into the


magazine in such volume that it could never all be printed. Poems, songs, fi ction, nonfi ction, art and photography can be posted at


y www.legion.org/


yourwords. Submissions are carefully reviewed for appropriateness and may be subject to editing.


“I SERVE WITH PRIDE” During the 2011-2012 membership year, National Commander Fang Wong will award his “I Serve With PRIDE” pin to any Legion family member who signs up eight members. These can be any combination of new members, members who transfer from their department-headquarters post, or current members who renew. The incentive program will end June 30, 2012, or when supplies are exhausted. Certifi cation forms are online. www.legion.org/


commander


FREE BRANCH-OF-SERVICE PIN Those who join the Legion online at www.legion.org/ join will receive a free pewter branch-of-service pin.


Correspondence and letters to the editor: The American Legion Dispatch P.O. Box 1055


Indianapolis, IN 46206


Subscriptions or customer service: (317) 630-1298


Annual subscription rate: $15


Editorial offi ce: (317) 630-1352 Fax: (317) 630-1280


Online: www.legion.org


STILL SERVING AMERICA


Does your post have a unique community program, an innovative recruiting method or a creative way of spreading the Legion message that could be implemented at posts across the country? Tell us how your post and its members are Still Serving America.


In submitting your information, include your full name, address and telephone number. Send your items, labeled Still Serving America, to the correspondence address at left.


EDITOR Steve B. Brooks


CONTRIBUTORS James V. Carroll Matt Grills Jeff Stoff er


DESIGNER Carolyn R. West


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