“Who are you?” Jason Feimster wants to know.
That’s not the post commander’s icebreaker. It’s Feimster’s way of leveraging the interests, skills and abilities of members into various programs at Dyer-Gunnell American Legion Post 180 in Vienna, Va. Under Feimster’s leadership, the post became the first in the Department of Virginia last year to hit the 100 percent membership goal.
He credits a two-step process: engage members and prioritize programs.
“That’s the secret sauce,” says Feimster, who served in the Marine Corps from 2005 to 2010. “I will always preach programs. The American Legion is a well-greased machine. You can’t ignore the fact that it is 100 years old. A lot of the success is our underlying programs.”
As a post-9/11 veteran, Feimster understands why his peers need to feel not only welcome but connected. Under his leadership, the post has redesigned its website and expanded its social media presence. Those efforts work in concert with one-on-one interaction.
“At the end of the day, membership is not just an annual thing,” he says. “We want them for the rest of their lives. You have to know the person. Not the veteran, not the engineer, not the secretary – the human being. And that’s why I usually start with that question: ‘Who are you?’”
Branch of service Marine Corps (2005-2010)
Military job Combat marksmanship instructor
American Legion post Dyer-Gunnell Post 180, Vienna, Va.
Years in The Legion 6
• National Veterans Benefits Subcommittee member (2018-present)
• National American Legion College graduate (2017)
• Department Veterans Employment & Education Committee chairman (2018-present)
• Department Leadership College instructor (2018-present)
• District Media & Communications Committee chairman (2018-present)
• Post commander (2017-present)