In the effort of increasing connectivity with post 9/11 veterans in and outside of their membership, Post 160 in Smyrna, GA., is using a simple approach: catering an evening around these veterans and inviting them to the post to learn about The American Legion, what Post 160 is doing in the local community and how they can be a part of it.
On April 30, Post 160 is hosting Post 9/11 Veterans Night Out from 7 p.m.-midnight. While all veterans and their families are welcome, the focus of the night is to connect with post-9/11 veterans in order to, according to Post 160 social media, “enjoy camaraderie, networking, and a good time with one another.” Members will take a moment to briefly highlight what Post 160 is doing locally, both independently as well as collaborative work with other veteran/non-veteran organizations throughout the community and how the post-9/11 generation can become involved.
Post 160 will also leverage the night as a fundraiser, with money raised going toward the post’s Direct Impact Fund for local veterans, the post itself and toward future Veterans Night Out.
Nick Wegner, a past post senior vice commander who handles communications for the post, is organizing Veterans Night Out after organizing a Super Bowl party with a couple other 9/11 veterans for the same demographic in February that drew more than 30 attendees.
Wegner said it’s important that the newest generation of veterans understand what organizations like The American Legion have done to pave the way for the benefits those younger veterans now enjoy. “I wouldn’t have a VA home loan if somebody didn’t do it for me,” said 39-year-old Wegner, who served in the U.S. Army from 2003 to 2008. “It’s really about that.”
It's also about the post-9/11 veterans paving a similar road for the veterans that will follow them, Wegner said via social media. “We are the next largest era of veterans alive,” he said, using a phrase he said he borrowed from fellow Post 160 member and post-9/11 veteran Marcello Buckner. “It is up to us to improve the path for the guys/gals behind us.”