Participating in a poker run with her father a couple of years ago, riding her new Harley-Davidson motorcycle, Desiree Guerra met members of American Legion Riders Chapter 38 in Fountain, Colo. They invited Guerra and her father to ride with them, and she enjoyed herself so much that she attended the Riders’ meeting the next day, learning more about the Legion and what it does for veterans and for America. She joined the chapter and the Legion on the spot, wanting to “push forward with this organization because I saw the value in it,” she says.
Today, Guerra is commander of Edward D. Ballard Security Post 38 and serves on the Legion’s National 21st Century Ad Hoc Committee. As a young leader and post-9/11 veteran, she wants to change how people view The American Legion – not just as another building in a community, but as a force for good locally and nationwide. “I want to inspire other people to see the value in it, and inspire people of my generation to get involved and see that they need this organization,” she says.
The key is focusing on the Legion’s programs and community involvement, as well as regularly engaging new and longtime members alike. When Guerra joined Legion Riders Chapter 38, she was paired up with another member who checked in with her several times a week, educated her on motorcycle safety and the Legion’s purpose and principles, and met up with her for rides.
“If you don’t get (people) involved, if you don’t engage them, if you don’t give them a purpose or help them see the value, they’re probably not going to come back,” she says. “As the post commander, I send them a text, I give them a call or send them an email. Whether they respond or not is not the point. The point is letting them know we’re here.”
Branch of service Army (2005-2010)
Rank Private first class
Military job Signal support systems specialist, human resources specialist
American Legion post Edward D. Ballard Security Post 38, Fountain, Colo.
Years in The Legion 2
• National 21st Century Ad Hoc Committee (2017-present)
• National Veterans Education & Employment Council (2017-2018)
• District 7 finance officer (2017-present)
• Post commander (2018-present)
• Post junior vice commander (2017-2018)
• Riders Chapter 38 communications officer (2016-2017)