Number one priority!

FROM THE DESK OF

Kit D. Watson, Department Adjutant

     Legion family members, the winter season has not been too bad so far.  As we get closer to our 100th year celebration we all should be working on the programs that have been and are so relevant today.  A renewed real effort to retain and recruit eligible Legionnaires into our posts should be a number one priority!  Membership is important to each home association, whether the member be a veteran or not, that is the essence of the business of each bar business overseen by your post Legionnaires.  The existence of all those businesses have one common denominator: “THE POST”.  While it is necessary to have enough members to support your business, it is imperative to maintain a strong post membership of eligible veterans regardless of how often they frequent the social quarters.  The tail doesn’t wag the dog is an appropriate adage.  The home association exists only through the post and a strong veteran membership has to be a number one priority!  Every veteran in your respective community needs to be reached out to and encouraged to join your post.  Don’t wait for them to maybe wander into your club.  Make a concerted effort to have every veteran within your area become a member!

Our Legion birthday is coming in March.  This is a great time to celebrate our anniversary.  It is also an opportunity to recognize the students that participated in our programs, along with the teachers of your local schools that assisted.  Post Honor Guards should be recognized for their service to your post; your long time members also.  Guess who else should be invited?  The veterans in your area who may not know what else your post does besides operate the bar.  We are our own best kept secret.  Our posts should be involved in your communities!  Each post has an opportunity to be an asset to your respective community.  Use each event as an opportunity to show what we do and continue to recruit prospective veterans into our ranks!

The National Commander’s tour dates are set and will be held Monday evening March 19th at Sellersville Post 255 for the Eastern Section, Tuesday March 20th at Linglestown Post 272 for the Central Section, and March 21st at Springdale Post 764 in the Western Section.  We encourage all posts to take an ad in the dinner booklets, send post representatives to support the post’s efforts in hosting this event, and to hear from our first woman National Commander Denise H. Rohan!  Help us show our Pennsylvania pride as we host our American Legion National Commander.

The Department Oratorical Contest is March 10th at the Harrisburg Forum.  This is a premier program of our American Legion and it is held free of charge to all who wish to attend.  The historic Harrisburg Forum is an outstanding venue to hold this contest.  The Department level contest will have three contestants, one from each section, competing for scholarship money totaling $16,500 for their efforts.  The winner will not only receive $7,500, he or she will move on to represent Pennsylvania at our National Oratorical Finals in Indianapolis, IN, where they will compete for even more prize money.  The contest takes place March 10th at 10 am sharp.  Parking is limited and if you plan to attend we will shuttle all who park in The American Legion’s parking lot at Department Headquarters at 800 N. Front St., Wormleysburg, PA 17043 beginning at 9 AM.  Please note all attendees must be in their seats by 10 am as we need to curtail any distractions for the students.  If you have never seen one of these contests, I assure you it is very entertaining.  Start to finish, the program is over by noon.  We hope to see you there!

All posts need to note a change in the 2017 re-enrollment year for the no cost LIT AD&D Program of $1,000 free and $5,000 if on Legion business.  When you register now, it will be for life.  The process is simple and it works.  Call toll free 1-800-235-6943 or register online at www.thelit.com.  This includes the members of the SAL and Auxiliary too.  Please get this information out to your membership.

The Department Executive Committee meetings will be April 20 – 22 at the Harrisburg Red Lion Hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn).  This will be the location of our Department Commander Paul Kennedy’s Testimonial Dinner on the evening of Saturday, April 21.  Reservation forms for the DEC and the Commander’s testimonial are available on our website at www.pa-legion.com .  Also, on the same website is the information for our three Department Vice Commander’s testimonials.

May 28th is Memorial Day and as mentioned in this article’s second paragraph it is an opportune time to reach out to the veterans in your community as well as the rest of the population there and show them we are more than a bar!

July 12 – 15, our Department Convention will be held in Harrisburg.  We will be celebrating our 100th anniversary with several events scheduled to commemorate this historic milestone in “our” history!  It’s never too early to make plans to attend this event.  Registration forms are available on our Department website at www.pa-legion.com .  Make plans now to be there!

Posts who have an SAL Squadron and/or an ALR Chapter, please remember any and all checking accounts associated with either group should have one (1) signature required from a Legion post officer/Legionnaire.  Both the SAL and ALR are programs of the post and as such they must be monitored by the individual American Legion post.

I want to wish our entire Legion family a “Happy Easter”!  Until next time.……….. Kit