Mother and Son making a difference in Texas
Service in the American Legion wasn't a foregone conclusion for Jason Castleberry. Jason had been a member of the VFW and never thought about joining the American Legion. His mom Mary was not eligible for the VFW and had joined their local American Legion. "She was the one who got me to join The American Legion. She wanted us to have something that we could do together. So I joined."
Joining The American Legion came at a pivotal point in Jason's life. "I had really been struggling with my PTSD and had felt like I lost my purpose. The American Legion gave me a purpose again." said Jason.
Mary served during the Vietnam era in the Air Force while Jason served during the Global War on Terror in the Army. Now they both serve veterans at the same post and hold positions at District and Department levels.
"We started the Royse City American Legion Post where I was the Commander and she was the Vice Commander" said Jason. The Royse City American Legion Post is only a year and a half old but has already exceeded 65 members and continues to grow and work programs.
Besides their roles at the post, Jason was elected District Vice Commander for the 4th district for 2018-2020 and Mary Westbrook was appointed as one of the District Zone Commanders for 2018-2020. They have also previously worked together on the Department of Texas Membership Task Force for 2017-2018 who's mission was to find ways to recruit younger veterans and female veterans. The Task Force put together presentations on integrating members into post's, promoting public relations through social media and created ideas on ways post can do more to not only recruit new members but also on how to retain them.
Mary is now working to open up multiple all female post's in the Dallas Ft. Worth area and Jason is working to increase membership in his district, even though they are busy they still try to participate and have a social every now and then.