Paul E. Dillard delivers the Veterans Employment & Education Commission report during the 2017 spring National Executive Committee meetings, held in Indianapolis, Ind., on Thursday, May 11. Photo by Lucas Carter/The American Legion.

Commander Schmidt: 'Meet me on stage in Reno'

In his closing remarks to the National Executive Committee members Thursday morning at American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis, National Commander Charles E. Schmidt said he wants all 55 department commanders to "meet me on stage in Reno, Nevada" during the organization's upcoming national convention. He wants to recognize the departments not once, but twice – for 100 percent membership and 100 percent submission of Consolidated Post Reports.

He tasked the NECmen with working with their respective department leadership all the way down to the post level to accomplish his goal. "I have a lot more (commander's membership incentive) pins to give out, and I want to see everybody in this room earn one," Schmidt said. "And posts should get credit for all the things that they do."

Schmidt believes that Resolution No. 1 – passed yesterday during the NEC meeting, which will make contact information for newly acquired DMS members available through effective July 1 – will give the organization a membership boost for 2018. But he doesn't want members to give up on this membership year because "in effort to carry the Legion's legacy forward, who's going to fill your shoes? Carrying the legacy forward is our responsibility."

The NEC passed 29 resolutions, which will be made available early next week on the Legion's Digital Archive. A few resolutions passed include the establishment of a suicide prevention program under the Legion's TBI/PTSD Committee that will be charged with examining the recent trends of veteran suicide as it relates to traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and military sexual trauma. The program will "analyze best practices in veteran suicide prevention not currently being used" by the Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs. Another resolution passed will honor a VA physician and health-care provider of the year.

Other resolutions call on the support for memorials in Washington, D.C., that honor the Global War on Terrorism, Desert Storm and Desert Shield and Gold Star Mothers. And to honor the Legion's upcoming centennial, resolutions passed for a centennial postage stamp and coin, and a painting that commemorates the Legion's 100 years.

Meanwhile, on behalf of National Headquarters, Schmidt made a $500 donation to the Department of Mexico's support efforts for the Escuela Legión Americana. The donation will purchase school books and supplies for the children in attendance. Learn more about the history of the school here.