Departments square off in ‘membership challenge’

In The American Legion, membership is a business. But this week, it also will be personal for two Legion departments.

The departments of Missouri and Kansas will compete against each other in a membership challenge Sept. 19-21. Dinner is on the line for the participating Legionnaires; the department that transfers, reinstates and signs up more members gets dinner courtesy of the other department.

The idea for the challenge came during discussions between National Membership staff and immediate Past Department of Kansas Commander Paul Sanford regarding revitalization efforts in Kansas. That led to talk about a possible revitalization effort in the Kansas City, Mo., area; the idea was floated about running simultaneous efforts in both states. Missouri department officials were brought in, and the challenge was on. Sanford even made an appearance at Missouri’s department convention to express his confidence in his department winning the challenge.

Meanwhile, Department of Missouri Adjutant Missouri Lowry A. Finley-Jackson believes in her own Legionnaires, saying, “Missouri is in it to win it.”

Department Legionnaires and national staff will be working out of Legion posts in Olathe, Kan., and Independence, Mo., during the three days. An open house, complete with a Legion service officer present, will take place from 1-3 p.m. Sept. 21 at Earl Collier Post 153, 410 Dennis Ave. in Olethe. From 2-5 p.m. on the same day, a similar open house with a service officer present will take place at Tirey J. Ford Post 21, 16701 East Highway 40 in Independence.

Legion staff and volunteers also will be going door to door and making phone calls during the three days to discuss veterans benefits and service to the community.