Eleven years ago a group of American Legion Riders from Post 737 in Lake Milton, Ohio, decided to work with other posts in their area to raise money for The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund.
The first year the group started with a donation of $995. On July 19, members of the same group presented American Legion National Adjutant Daniel S. Wheeler with a check for $10,714 for the fund.
Chapter 737 Legion Riders John Chittock, Ralph Oyster and John Wyllie rode more than 330 miles to make the presentation to Wheeler at American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis. In 11 years, $66,378 has been raised through Chapter 737’s efforts working with other Ohio Legion posts.
Each year, Riders from Chapter 737 have gone from post to post collecting donations for the Legacy Fund. Typically, 737’s Riders make a trip to Indianapolis to present the donations prior to the Legacy Run, but none were going to be able to go to Dodge City, Kan., this year for the start of the Run.
Chittock – who served as Post 737’s assistant chaplain, and chaplain for its Riders chapter and Sons of The American Legion squadron – said the fundraising idea came from the trial and error of others.
“I saw a lot of other posts trying some other things, and some didn’t work, so why not try this,” Chittock said. “We just stuck with it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We just took the ball and ran with it.”
The group also has racked up some mileage in the process. “We go out a month ahead of time and give (posts) a notice that we’re going to be coming and collecting,” Chittock said. “And then we come out the next month and we collect. It’s a three-phase, because when we get done we always give them a thank you letter. We personally deliver all this stuff. We put a lot of miles on.”
This year, donations came from Post 737, as well as Posts 76, 103, 112, 141, 166, 281, 331, 601, 700 and 719.
"What better program is there for these kids?” Chittock said, “And let me make this clear: It wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the Legion family members from these posts that we collect from.”
The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund provides college money for the children of U.S. military personnel killed on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, as well as to children of post-9/11 veterans with a combined VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher.
“I’m very appreciative of this (donation), as I know all of the recipients of the Legacy Scholarship Fund are,” Wheeler said. “This year we gave out $700,000. We really appreciate what you guys do, and we hope you continue to do it for many, many more years.”