Boys State was founded in 1935 by two Illinois Legionnaires to teach young men about the rights, privileges and responsibilities of American citizens. The program focuses on hands‐on participation in simulated city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, KBS activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, intramural sports, law‐enforcement presentations, a band and recreational programs. The program has produced such notable alumni as President Bill Clinton, KBS graduate Adm. Jon Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, astronaut Neil Armstrong, noted national news anchor Tom Brokaw, Michael Jordan, Robert Griffin III and entertainer Jon Bon Jovi, among others.
“KBS teaches young men to have pride in their communities and be responsible, engaged citizens. Our alumni go on to be leaders in whatever field they choose to strive in – we have alumni who are doctors, educators, military leaders, athletes, elected representatives, scientists, businessmen . . .” said KBS Director Bob Munhall.
KBS is open to all male Pennsylvania residents who have completed 11th grade and have at least one semester of high school remaining. The American Legion Department of Pennsylvania helps match successful applicants with a sponsoring Legion post so that the program is free for participants.
While the program has grown significantly in recent years, organizers and sponsors say they’re making a special effort to enable more attendance this year. The program is free to the family because the citizen receives a sponsorship/scholarship from his local American Legion Post.
“We know there’s demand beyond what we’ve been able to support in the past. A lot of people think KBS is only for guys who want to go into politics, but that’s far from the case. For one thing, there’s a lot more to the program than that. As we like to say, it’s “a week that shapes a lifetime”, said Darren Fossett, KBS Dean and 2006 alumni. “Plus, it’s just an incredibly fun time – that’s what’s kept me coming back for all these years.”
Each year, two delegates are chosen to participate in the American Legion’s Boys Nation program in Washington, DC, where they build on what they’ve learned at Boys State through participation in a simulation of the U.S. Senate and meetings with Congressmen and the President of the United States. Both delegates receive a $1,000 scholarship for college. All KBS citizens are also eligible to apply for a $20,000 scholarship sponsored by The American Legion and the Samsung Corporation.
“Seeing how the federal government works, up close and personal, was just an incredible experience and it was amazing spending a week with 97 of the most talented guys in the country. I’m still in touch with a lot of the guys I met there,” said Tony Salvatori, 2014 KBS Boys Nation delegate.
Openings are available at the 2015 KBS, which will be held June 21‐27 at Shippensburg University for 300 citizen delegates. Interested individuals can apply online through the website of the American Legion Department of Pennsylvania (http://pa‐legion.com/programs/studentprograms/keystone‐boys‐state/). Applications are due to the American Legion by May 15th.
For media inquiries, please contact KBS Media Director Lincoln Davidson (email: firstname.lastname@example.org | phone: 570.541.9531)
A printer friendly version of the press release from the KBS
Keystone Boys State fillable application 2015]]>
For several students, the scene was in sharp contrast to the desert heat they endured while serving in Iraq. Others in the group were supporters. All were conducting a daily demonstration – begun Jan. 22 and set to conclude Feb. 20 – to raise awareness about suicide by returning U.S. military veterans.
“It’s very significant,” said Robert Prah, Cal U director of veterans affairs and a Pennsylvania National Guard officer.
“This is real, it’s happening. Twenty-two veterans a day take their lives.
“But there is help out there.”
Sponsored by the Cal U ROTC and the Veterans Club, 22 Pushups is a 22-day exercise in community awareness.
The 22 Pushups campaign was created by Prah and Staff Sgt. Jess Maund, a Cal U ROTC staff member, on Jan. 20, the first day of spring-semester classes. Understanding the significance of 22, they decided to begin 22 Pushups on Jan. 22.
The time – 11:22 a.m. – was chosen, in part to honor Veterans Day, celebrated in the 11th month of each year.
“Our first day, there were 22 people in the photo. We didn’t plan that,” Prah said.
One online student has joined the group, sending video proof that he is doing the pushups at home.
The goal is for the Cal U students to collectively complete 22,000 pushups. That goal was set by 22 Until None, a national organization committed to bringing the number of suicides to zero.
A Smithton resident, Prah was an intelligence officer with the 56th Striker Brigade in 2009 when he served in Taja, a half hour north of Baghdad. He went with various battalions, seeing what was going on with their patrols.
Prah said the key for the soldiers on such patrols is to always be “hyper-vigilant.
“They say in the Army, ‘Keep your head on a swivel,’” Prah said.
Prah said many veterans have a difficult time reintegrating into society.
“The big thing here is connecting again, especially on campus,” Prah said. “They come in and often feel a little scared coming back to college because it’s new to them.”
More than 100 veterans are attending Cal U.
“One of the best things is when I see two veterans who did not know each other before they came here having lunch or walking to class together,” Prah said.
“We try through the Veterans Club to bridge that gap and that connection from coming off active duty to coming to school.”
As director of veterans affairs, Prah assists veterans with benefits due to them. His office serves as a place on campus where veterans can go “if they need help or to feel comfortable.”
Prah said the veterans office has not dealt with suicide issues on campus.
“I’ve had people ask where they can go to deal with readjustment issues,” Prah said. “We have a licensed counselor from (Veterans Affairs) every Tuesday so people in the Valley don’t have to travel to Pittsburgh.”
Many veterans deal with the stress of readjusting to civilian and family life, enrolling in college and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Recognizing that suicide is a difficult subject to discuss, Prah aimed to bring awareness to the issue through a positive physical activity – like pushups.
“It’s spreading to other students,” Prah said. “We had a few people walk by and ask, ‘What are you doing?’ and, we said ‘Jump in and join us.’”]]>
The Brady’s Bend American Legion holds an annual Bishop-Madden Veteran’s Day Essay contest for Chicora Elementary School 6th grade students. The students are ask to write an essay naming three (3) things you (the student) can do to show a Veteran that you are thankful for their service. The essays are read and voted on by members of the Brady’s Bend Legion. Essays are scored on effort, content, organization, spelling, and grammar. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner were awarded with a certificate and a check. 3rd place received $50.00, 2nd place received $75.00 and 1st place received $125.00. Pictured below is Kennedy McGinnis, Bob Loose, Madison Eyth, Vanessa Bartoe, Owen Collwell, Larry Hogan, and Josh Ritzert.
Winners were announced and presented their awards at the elementary school veteran’s day program on November 14, 2014. This year there were two exceptional essays that were both chosen for first place.
1st place winners were: Kennedy McGinnis, daughter of Jennifer Barger and Kevin McGinnis of Chicora and Madison Eyth, daughter of Brandon and Shannon Eyth of Petrolia.
2nd place winner was Owen Collwell, son of David and Dayna Collwell of Chicora.
3rd place winner was Josh Ritzert, son of Ronald and Lori Ritzert of Karns City.
We hold the same event for Sugar Creek Elementary School 6th grade students. Pictured above is Brayden Stuchell, Larry Hogan, Nathan Boyden, Bob Loose, and Augustin Forester.
1st place winner was Brayden Stuchell, son of Robin and Jimmy Stuchell of Karns City.
2nd place winner was Nathan Boyden, son of Cindy Boyden of Karns City.
3rd place winner was Augustin Forester, son of Kathy and Rev. Randall Forester M.D. of Chicora.
The Pennsylvania American Legion encourages all American Legion posts to participate in the Essay Program for high school students. You can also do as Brady’s Bend American Legion does and support the Essay Program for younger students.
For more information about the Essay program please check out Department’s website at www.pa-legion.com]]>
Chairman John A. Eisler, Jr.
The Sons of The American Legion was created in 1932 as an organization within The American Legion which exists to honor the service and sacrifice of Legionnaires. Their mission: to strengthen the four pillars of The American Legion. Their 2014 membership achieved another “All-Time High” of 358,009 with a 5% increase over 2013. The renewal rate was 88.44% so their key to success is recruiting new members. They have been one of the main supporters of The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation (CWF) which reached a milestone of contributions to more than $6 million. In its 60th year CWF has awarded $566,691 in grants to 18 nonprofit organizations.
Pennsylvania holds the honor of the largest Detachment recording a membership of 59,030 for the 2013 – 2014 Legion year. National’s final Membership report dated December 31, 2014 was 60,080 with a renewal rate of 89.79%. The proposed budget for 2015 was calculated from last year’s membership of 59,030 at $2.00 per member for a total of $118,060.00. The surplus from the 2013 years budget on December 31, 2013 was $7,567.59 as every proposed budget is calculated to the maximum payout almost guaranteeing the solvability of the program.
We need to get the word out to every post with a SAL squadron they need to file the IRS form 990 of each post to include the SAL Squadron. The squadron is a program of the post and as such the post is responsible for reporting squadron funds on the post 990.
The SAL license plate has been approved by Penn DOT and the applications must be submitted to the American Legion Dept. of Pa with a fee of $11.00 payable to The American Legion. The plates are impressive with the colors matching the SAL emblem. The Department of Transportation is also offering a vanity plate with lettering. The plates are not pre-printed they are manufactured on a as need basis.
I would like to thank Commander Haas for the opportunity to serve on the committee. I would also like to thank Adjutant Kit Watson and our staff, vice-chairman; Ray Woof, Manuel Griffin, John Amole, Brad Simpson, Roger Pospisil and Leonard Clawson.]]>
Chairman Bill Carr
Accomplishments of the American Legion Riders
Membership is at 1,007 as of the last report dated 12/24/14. This put us at 36% of our membership goal.
On September 19, 2014 at the DEC in Grantville, a Resolution was passed to form a committee to restructure the current Regions to better represent the membership. The Committee was decided at the Riders DEC to be the current Legion Oversight Committee. The Committee decided that only Regions 1, 2, & 3, all making up the Western Section, were in need of realignment. This was mainly because Region 2, being geographically from Lake Erie to South of Pittsburgh, has 20 Chapters within an11 county area, and Region 3 has only four Chapters within eight counties. I called a meeting with the Regional Directors of Regions of 1, 2, & 3 along with Western Vice Chairman Gary Weaver to meet at Post 515 after Legion College West. It was then decided that the Regions will be re-divided horizontally. Each Region will have 9 counties and approximately 6,500 square mile sections. The new Regions will be as follows:
American Legion Post 223 members left to right: Post Commander Dick Guyer, Post Service Officer Eldon Wingert and Post Historian Guy Hayslett travel with hospice care nurse Pauline Goulet to present the Veterans a certificate, Veteran pin and small American Flag. Pictured center with the post members are Richard Smith and his wife Patricia Smith who is on hospice care. Richard is a US Army Veteran of WW11 and Patricia is a British Veteran serving as a nurse WW2.
Home hospice care may be granted to a Veteran who has either enrolled or was not required to do so and has been determined to be eligible for VA benefits. If the Veteran has been diagnosed with an incurable disease in which he or she is in the last phase of hospice, services may be granted. Hospice services generally require the physician, patient and family to acknowledge that the disease is terminal. The understanding is that the care provided is comfort care as opposed to healing treatment and that this treatment will be relinquished once hospice care begins, must also be acknowledged.
Myth: the VA does not pay for hospice services.
Truth: the VA pays for all Hospice services provided to eligible veterans.
Myth: hospice care must be provided in a VA facility.
Truth: services are available in private homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or wherever one calls home and Interim HealthCare Hospice can be the provider of these services.
Myth: using hospice services will disqualify a Veteran for VA benefits.
Truth: accessing hospice services will not affect a Veteran’s eligibility for any VA benefits to which they are otherwise entitled.
Veronica Bartoe turned 16 on Veteran’s Day 2014 and asked her guests to bring a monetary donation for PETS-FOR-VETS or items for The Anna Shelter in Erie Pennsylvania instead of birthday presents. The Anna Shelter is one of only three approved animal shelters that have teamed up with PETS-FOR-VETS.
PETS-FOR-VETS is an organization dedicated to providing a second chance for shelter pets by rescuing, training and pairing them with America’s veterans who can benefit from a companion animal. Sadly, there are alarming statistics of suicide, family abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder facing veterans returning to civilian life after military duty. It’s PETS-FOR-VETS belief that companion animals can be the lifesaving therapy or friend that many returning service men and women need. PETS-FOR-VETS team members from The Anna Shelter interviews each veteran to determine exactly what he or she is looking for in a companion animal. They are paired with his or her personality and lifestyle to make the perfect pet/veteran match.
Bartoe is from Rimersburg, PA and a sophomore at Union High School in Clarion County. Bartoe said, “My sisters and I have all picked a charity to celebrate our sweet 16, and they all have something to do with our military veterans. I picked PETS-FOR-VETS because I love animals and respect veterans, so it was a win-win for me.” Veronica received gas cards, gifts cards and $425.00 cash to be donated to PETS-FOR-VETS. She also got 29 animal toys, 20 stainless steel food dishes, 15 blankets, 13 containers of Clorox wipes, 10 bags of animal treats, 9 boxes of black trash bags, 8 cans of cat food, 6 bags of dog/cat food, 6 bottles of mouthwash, and 3 litter boxes she will deliver to The Anna Shelter.
Veronica with all the items she collects for The Anna Shelter. Her two of three dogs, Angel on her lap and Lucy under the table, both recued dogs.]]>
On May 25, 2012, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation declaring the period May 28, 2012 through November 11, 2025 (13 years) as the commemorative period of the United States of America to call upon all federal state and local officials to honor our Vietnam veterans, our fallen, our wounded, those unaccounted for, our former prisoners of war, their families and all who served with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War (1955-1973).
Our American Legion committee in Pennsylvania was established during the 2013-2014 program year under the direction of Department Commander Bill Cleveland. Original members were John Tomosky, Eastern Vice Chairman; Keith Mc Bride, Western Vice Chairman; and Tim French, Central Vice Chairman. No chairman of record was listed in the 2014 Department directory.
I was contacted in October of this year by Richelle who informed me that an oversight occurred and that the Committee was not included in the 2014-2015 Department directory and that Commander Haas had appointed me as chairman for the 2014-2015 program year. She also advised that I needed to appoint three vice chairman for submission to the Department for approval. Both Keith and Tim when contacted agreed to stay on board. Philadelphia County Commander Al Willis was appointed to replace me on the Committee as the Eastern representative. These appointments were approved, letters of appointment were sent to members of the Committee confirming their appointments and we were off and running for the New Year.
Following these appointments, an application was submitted to the Vietnam War Commemoration organization at the Department of Defense to register The American Legion, Department of Pennsylvania as an official Commemorative Partner. On November 26th a congratulatory letter of acceptance into the program was received from the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. An official certificate of recognition signed by Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense and Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff dated 12/1/14 was received in early December along with the official commemorative flag, a copy of the original presidential proclamation and a poster referencing commemoration objectives as outlined below. We thank Richelle for her assistance in the processing of this application.
What is the purpose of the Committee? The Committee was formed to enlist The American Legion, Department of Pennsylvania as a commemorative partner to assist the United States of America in thanking and honoring our Vietnam veterans and their families. What are the objectives of the Committee? Under the guidelines of the Commemorative Partner Program, each partner is asked to participate in or perform at least two activities yearly with the following objectives in mind:
During the past four months, among other activities, Committee participation has been involved in the following projects:
The Committee will continue its work in CY 2015 and present a final report of our activities and achievements during the 2014-2015 program year at the 2015 Department Convention in Harrisburg.]]>
As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reflect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor. We pay tribute to the more than 3 million servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, a world away from everything they knew and everyone they loved. From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.
As a grateful Nation, we honor more than 58,000 patriots –their names etched in black granite — who sacrificed all they had and all they would ever know. We draw inspiration from the heroes who suffered unspeakably as prisoners of war, yet who returned home with their heads held high. We pledge to keep faith with those who were wounded and still carry the scars of war, seen and unseen. With more than 1,600 of our service members still among the missing, we pledge as a Nation to do everything in our power to bring these patriots home. In the reflection of The Wall, we see the military family members and veterans who carry a pain that may never fade. May they find peace in knowing their loved ones endure, not only in medals and memories, but in the hearts of all Americans, who are forever grateful for their service, valor, and sacrifice.
In recognition of a chapter in our Nation’s history that must never be forgotten, let us renew our sacred commitment to those who answered our country’s call in Vietnam and those who awaited their safe return. Beginning on Memorial Day 2012, the Federal Government will partner with local governments, private organizations, and communities across America to participate in the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War — a 13-year program to honor and give thanks to a generation of proud Americans who saw our country through one of the most challenging missions we have ever faced. While no words will ever be fully worthy of their service, nor any honor truly befitting their sacrifice, let us remember that it is never too late to pay tribute to the men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor. Let us renew our commitment to the fullest possible accounting for those who have not returned.]]>