Missouri Legion post receives sixth consecutive Toot Our Horn award

Missouri Legion post receives sixth consecutive Toot Our Horn award

For six consecutive years, American Legion Malta Bend Memorial Post 558 has received the Department of Missouri’s Toot Our Horn award for having an effective public relations program. The award, presented by the department’s Media & Communications Commission, recognizes posts in Missouri that promote The American Legion in local and state media, participated in district and department events, are active in their communities, encourage membership growth in The American Legion, and maintain communication with their members.

Post 558 in Malta Bend was one of 17 posts in Missouri to earn the Toot Our Horn award for 2021.

“It’s a great award,” said Post 558 Adjutant Steve Olson. “All together (as a post), we get the story out about The American Legion to the community and remind them that The American Legion does exist, we do things for people.”

Post 558 met the Toot Our Horn requirements in several areas, including:

- Publishing a post newsletter. Olson said members who can’t make it out to events really enjoy reading what the post is doing and seeing pictures of their fellow Legionnaires.

- Participating in philanthropic activity. Post 558 participates in Wreath Across America, Toys for Tots (the post raised $700 for the program and collected five boxes full of toys last December) and many fundraising events.

- Participating in community events with photos/newspaper clippings to show. The post conducts military funerals, and helps hosts a Patriot’s Day ceremony, Veterans Day ceremony, three blood drives a year, a veterans benefit to learn about services at the Truman VA Medical Center, and a county government day for high school youth.

- Making Buddy Checks. Post 558 calls its more than 200 members. Olson said Buddy Checks have been a learning process for them as there were a lot of bad phone numbers, voicemails were not set up to leave a message, and members didn’t answer the phone because of the unknown number. To help alleviate some of these barriers, a message is featured in the post newsletter that says Buddy Checks will be happening and that members should expect to receive a call from another member in the post. “You may not recognize the phone number, but we are calling to check in,” Olson said. If members had any concerns, contact information for post leadership was highlighted in the newsletter. About 20 post members make Buddy Check calls and Olson shared that feedback has been “Thanks for calling. I don’t have any problems, but I’ll call you if I do.”

- Submitting a Consolidated Post Report (CPR). The CPR is “a nice thing in regard to when you have a report like that of an accommodation of things that’s happened over the last year, it makes see exactly what you did over the year,” said Olson, who added that the report also allows the post to see how funds were spent. For example, Post 558 sponsors two high school students annually to both American Legion Boys State and Auxiliary Girls State, and supports Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. “It’s a good thing to pull that together and realize how much you do.”

- Maintaining a post web presence on Facebook. A Post 558 member runs the Facebook page, and he’s also the photographer for all post activities and helps get word in the local newspaper about what the post is doing.

“Legion guys and gals work very hard to help veterans. As many ways as we can get the recognition to the folks that do the work for something at the post or in the community is important,” Olson said. The Toot Our Horn award is about American Legion “getting the community involved and letting them know that here is The American Legion doing something for the community.”