Here’s why you should join the SAL

In Matt Chastain’s experience through 25 years in the communications industry, the best way to communicate with someone is to tell a story.

So when he was asked to figure out a way to help grow membership in the Sons of The American Legion, it was the story of how he became an SAL member that he drew upon.

The result: videos depicting how Chastain came to join Squadron 123 at James T. Rayle Post 123 in Lexington, Ga. Those videos can be used by squadrons, posts and others to highlight the SAL and what it means to be a member.

Chastain credits George Gray, the former squadron adjutant and Detachment of Georgia commander, for selling him on the SAL.

“George is exactly who he is depicted to be in the video and more. If every community, every post, every squadron just had a few Georges, the world would be a better place!” Chastain said. “When George believes in something as much as he does the mission of the SAL, he gives it everything he has. So he’s always recruiting.”

The video depicts Gray first talking with Chastain at a cookout. While Chastain accepted the membership application Gray gave him, he admits he forgot about it.

A few months later, Chastain’s friend Jesse invites him to karaoke at Post 123. This time, Chastain signs up.

For reenacting that part of the story for the video, Jesse wasn’t available. “So another buddy of mine played the role of Jesse. He was only there for maybe two hours but before he left, George had recruited him to join the SAL!

“All this to say that George never stops recruiting and when I was asked to come up with an idea for a recruitment video, I thought that there’s no more effective communication tool than storytelling, so why not just tell a true story?”

In talking about why membership in the SAL is important, Chastain brought up another story.

“Back before Christmas, I had the honor of participating in a Flags Across America event put on by our local American Legion and SAL in conjunction with my son’s Trail Life USA troop. Of course it was amazing to hear from a handful of local veterans and family members of fallen heroes. It was also rewarding for Legion/SAL members and Trail Life boys to work together laying wreaths.

“But at the end of the event, I got into a conversation with a young veteran who had lost eight of his fellow veterans to suicide. Hearing his story of how difficult life can be — especially disabled vets like him — gave me such a better perspective on why organizations like The Legion and SAL do what they do. America’s heritage must be preserved if our country is to be preserved. There’s no better way to preserve our heritage than to serve the men and women who fought to protect it.”

Three versions of Chastain’s story — a fullscreen version, a square version for social media and a short “elevator pitch” — are available to download at