THE AMERICAN LEGION DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA

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1 February 11, 2018 THE AMERICAN LEGION DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA In this issue: Commander s Remarks Women s Luncheon Oratorical Contests Jr. Shooting Competition Baseball Program Boys/Girls State Legion Birthday Washington Conf. Brick Program Revitalization Schedule Commander s Remarks Who s on FIRE... with their membership program and connecting to veterans in their community? It looks like the First Division is leading the pack. All districts are above 85%. Congrats to District 11. All posts in the district are above 85%. They are smoking hot. District 13 is getting hotter. There are two posts that are a bit warm. I see that the Second Division is hot on the trail. Two of the four districts are above 85%. Third Division is pulling up the rear with two of five districts above 85% Thanks to all that are working hard to reach out to our members and other veterans in the community. Our next goal is 90% by March 14. After the mid-winter conference, we ve been working on plans for next year to increase membership in the department. I m proud to say that we have a lot of commanders and members that care about our mission and responsibilities. They work diligently to find ways to better serve our veterans and youth. However, I ve seen some apathy as well. We ve been conducting district revitalization programs for two years with the same marginal results. The posts that participate, do well. However, participation is poor. I feel the main reason is apathy. When I call commanders to see why they aren t participating, I get a variety of answers. The bottom line is apathy. Alabama Legionnaires are on FIRE!! Most posts are meeting their membership program goals. Let s all get fired up and connect to our veterans to join the American Legion. -Donna Stacey Alabama has over 355,000 eligible veterans, yet our membership is less than 18,000. It has been dropping for many years. We used to have 33,000 members. WHAT HAPPENED? Again, there are a variety of reasons. It boils down to more apathy, than interest. I feel that many of our posts have forgotten their purpose. They choose to narrow their scope and they don t openly welcome veterans. Some posts have more interest in their bar operations rather than serving veterans and youth in the community. WE NEED TO CHANGE. I challenge each post to evaluate themselves. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? We have a team of Legionnaires that are developing a strategy to get the Alabama American Legion back on track. I look forward to working with those posts and leaders that want to grow, improve and change. Together, we can do this.

2 Honoring Women Veterans It was a special day at Enterprise Post 73 when the Auxiliary of District 35 hosted a luncheon to honor women veterans. The ladies decorated the tables with candy and valentines. They served a variety of soups, sandwiches, and deserts. They also had a beautiful custom-made cake for this special day. Unit 73 Americanism Chairman, Haley Rose McInnis, read a beautiful essay that she wrote about how all American s should do their part to serve those that serve our country. The guest speaker and member of Post 73, retired Army Colonel Teresa Townsend, talked about the history of women in the military and where they are today. Women veterans may be invisible to some, but they are a valuable asset to the Armed Forces. Today, they make up about 15% of the services. Oratorical Speech Contest One of our many Americanism programs is the Constitutional Oratorical Speech Contest. Posts, districts and divisions are conducting contests to select the best orator to compete at the next level. The division winners will compete at the department on March 10, 2018 at Alabama Department of Archives and History, 624 Washington Ave, Montgomery at 10 A.M. The winner receives a $5000 scholarship and competes at the National contest in April. The department commander encourages all leaders to come and observe the knowledge and skills demonstrated by the youth in our communities. Contact Chairman Willie Rogers for more information. or Junior Shooting Commander s Cup Talk about Olympic athletes; programs like The American Legion Junior Shooters can be the beginning of a future Olympic competitor. The Alabama Junior Shooters Commander s Cup competition is set for March 3, 2018 at Camp Perry Competition Center, Anniston, AL. The shooters participate in a variety of competitions throughout the state to sharpen their skills. Later this year, they will compete at the National Junior Three-Position Air Rifle Tournament. The top state shooters will then compete at the regional level. The winners will then compete at the National Championship in Colorado Springs, CO at the Olympic training facility. These opportunities are open to both girls and boys. However, they must be affiliated with an American Legion junior shooting program. Contact Anthony Kissik for more information. or

3 Baseball Season Approaches Spring is the beginning of baseball season. Alabama s American Legion baseball program is growing. We had over 50 teams last year. Many of your high school coaches would love to extend the skill development of their youth and playing time by participating in American Legion baseball. There are three categories: Jr. Varsity, Varsity and Senior. It isn t hard to get a program going at your post. Team registration is now open. Go to The season will begin after the high school season ends, June. Contact Alan Phillips at or or visit for more information. Alabama Boys State and Girls State Now is the time to start rounding up sponsors and coordinating with school counselors to select quality high school juniors for Boys and Girls State. Alabama Boys State is May 27 thru June 2. Application deadline is May 1. Fee is $225 per student. Department goal is 700 students. Try to send at least one student from every high school in the state. District commanders can help align schools by city, county or area. Girls State is June 10 thru 15. Application deadline is May 11. Fee is $200 per student. Don t forget that some schools will be able to send more than one girl. The junior class strength dictates the delegate allowance: 1 to 199 = 1, 200 to 599 = 2, 600 plus = 3. Both events will be held at the University of Alabama. For more details go to and/or Happy 99th Birthday The American Legion celebrates its 99th birthday on March 15, The National Commander, Denise Rohan, has asked posts to celebrate with a special dinner or activity. Commander Stacey encourages every post to conduct a recruiting activity sometime during the month. A Membership Recruiting Event Guide was handed out at the mid-winter conference. You can find a copy at under publications. Commander Stacey desires to participate in as many events as possible. Let her know when and where you have an event scheduled.

4 Alabama Boy Scouts Program The Boy Scout Program of Alabama acquired a fresh breath of life for our youth with a new Pack and Troop at American Legion Post 9 in Jasper, Alabama. The post approved the charter of both units last month. Many of their units leaders are joining the post families. I would like to welcome all the new members. I want to thank Wade Szakacs, Tina Bush, and Jeremy Blevins, for their great presentations at the Mid-Winter Conference. The scouting committee will be looking for nominations for a new award for Best Scouting Program from a Chartering Post, to be chosen from post CPR Boy Scouts and attached short information about bio; due in Department by April 15. We have two applicants, David Hartin and William Sloan, for the prestigious Square Knot Award, which have been submitted to the National Americanism Commission. We hope we can present them at this year s department convention. If you would like to submit an application please do so there is still time. For information please visit We will be traveling to the 15th District Meeting next week in order that we can share the new Chartered Organization Representative Guide Book. You may request a electronic copy from Department Headquarters.. Jeremy Blevins is working on the Boy Scout page that will be soon available at I want to thank all of the District Boy Scout Chairmen for their hard work getting the scouting program to their areas. If you are considering a scouting program in your area, please do not hesitate to call Chairman Ken Nichols at or by Department Convention June 14-17, 2018 This year s Annual Convention will be held in Montgomery at Embassy Suites. The rate is $ Parking is $14.00 a day. The cutoff for room reservations is May 25, Please call today and make your reservations. If you are wanting a hospitality suite please call and speak to Dawn Railey directly. This hotel DOES NOT accept checks so please plan accordingly. Check in is at 4:00 pm and check out is 11:00 am. There will be a banquet on Saturday the 16th at a charge of $15.00 per person. Menu and order form will be provided at a later date. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Department Headquarters.

5 To the Hill We Go: D.C. Bound Members of The American Legion convene for the Washington Conference and legislative rally later this month. They will share with Congress the organization's top priorities and initiatives. The Alabama delegation will visit senators and representatives to discuss the top veteran priorities and seek their support. The culminating event is the National Commander s testimony before Congress. Some of the top priorities are: Support VA suicide prevention efforts Limit VA outsourcing Fully fund a superior national defense Reclassify cannabis for medical research Gender specific healthcare for women veterans A detailed pamphlet is available at Status of Alabama War Memorial Fund Raising Brick sales in support of paying for the refurbishment of the Alabama War Memorial is moving very slow. Florence Post 11 challenged Legion, Auxiliary and Sons of each post to purchase at least one $85 brick and to donate $100 toward the project. The department is also selling Alabama centennial pins and coins to help fund this project. Membership Revitalization Program Schedule DISTRICT SCHEDULED DATES District 33 February 23-24, 2018 District 15 March 16-17, 2018 District 21 March 23-24, 2018 District 14 April 6-7, 2018

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