FIRST DIVISION MARCH 2016 ISSUE WELCOME TO THE AMERICAN LEGION. Please visit the First Division online at: vision.

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1 WELCOME TO THE AMERICAN LEGION FIRST DIVISION MARCH 2016 ISSUE Please visit the First Division online at: vision.org FRO M THE DESK OF THE C O MMAN DER Legionnaires, March is here and membership is going well. However, the close of books for Department is in late June and last year we missed a 100% by approximately 125 members. This year we have a great chance to make that goal. District Commanders, now is the time to contact your Post Commanders and encourage them to call members or go knock on their doors. While at the Lincoln Pilgrimage I was able to talk with the District Commanders who attended and I am encouraged by their attitude. To improve our membership, the Division and Department have set up Membership Revitalization Days in the Division in March. The focus of the endeavor will be the 3rd District and the 7th District. Now, these districts cannot do all the work themselves, we need volunteers, people who will make phone calls, ride with the district members to knock on doors to talk to legion members. This will take all First Division members to pitch in, it does not matter what district you are in, this is for the American Legion and we as members of The First Division work together as family. I expect nothing less. District Commanders, I will have called you before you read the 1

2 newsletter, but I must remind you of the following. Every District Commander who reaches 105% membership by the close of books, will have 1 or possibly 2 nights at the Department Convention paid for as a reward for your work. Now, every post must have their First Division Delegates registered with the Division Adjutant NLT 10 days prior to June 4, Registration will not be accepted at the door and any changes in delegates must be in writing and be in the hands of the Adjutant by the due date. Next Division meeting: April 6, 2016, Merle Guild Post 208, 121 N. Douglas Ave. Arlington Heights, IL. Dinner-6:00pm,Board Meeting-7:00pm, Division Meeting- 7:30pm. Post Phone Hang Tough, Mike Carder FRO M THE DESK O F THE JUN IO R VIC E COMMANDER My Brothers and Sisters, Here we are! Can you believe it's March already? April 3 rd is just days away from our very 1 st First Division Joint Past President's Past Commander's Luncheon. This newsletter contains a form for your convenience. Please fill it out accordingly and mail it to the P.O. Box address that appears on the form. If you have any questions please call me at or me at You can also send me a text message. This is the perfect opportunity to come together as a family, break bread, good old-fashioned conversation, the sharing of ideas and enjoying the positive energy around you. Looking forward to seeing you!! Legionaries! Auxiliary! Juniors! S.A.L.! Legion Riders! Once again, any questions, please contact me! Take Care, God Bless You and God Bless America. (P.S.PLEASE RSVP By MARCH 28th.) FRO M THE DESK O F THE SERVICE O FFICER As you read this newsletter I am in Washington D.C. I went there for my semi-annual Service Officer training and to attend 2

3 the D.C. conference. The training is twice a year and keeps me accredited with the National American Legion Headquarters. It also updates me on any changes in Veterans Administration benefit programs and procedures. The D.C. conference gives us a chance to hear from Veterans Administration officials as to what is new, how the previous year went and future plans. I will give a more detailed report in the next newsletter and at the Division meeting. Here it is only nine weeks into the New Year and already I have had two urgent calls from family members needing a copy of the veteran s discharge papers for burial in Abe Lincoln National Cemetery. We were able to locate one in time but the other vet had a very common name and no one knew her old service number. She had to be buried in a private cemetery. So let s learn from this and be proactive. Be sure you stress at your Post meetings that a legible copy of separation (usually a DD 214) be kept in a safe place at home so when the time comes, the next-of-kin will be able to find it. And why not also give your Post adjutant a copy for safe keeping too. If you or one or our comrades have misplaced theirs, please contact me for assistance on getting a replacement. Most of us remember the long history of Agent Orange usage in Vietnam. It took decades for the Veterans Administration to grant presumptive benefits for conditions like diabetes, prostate cancer and coronary artery disease. Well, the same is happening to servicemen and women who were at Camp Lejeune sometime between Please go to our Division web site at: for more details. State convention is fast approaching and I am looking for more resolutions from our Division. If you have an idea for one and need help please contact me for assistance. As mentioned last month your Chicago VA&R office is starting the year with a full staff. We now have three Service Officers to assist you. Our latest addition is Carolena Contreras; she served six years in the Navy as a corpsman and will be focusing in on women veterans and their unique problems with Veterans 3

4 Administration health care and claims. With this full staff our office once again has walk-in hours. They are Monday through Thursday from 9:00 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 3:00. Appointments can also be made outside those hours by calling Finally, if you have heard any rumors and want me to check them out, let me know. Judge a man by his questions, rather than his answers FRO M THE DESK O F THE S.A.L. Greetings American Legion Family, The 1 st Division has been busy with numerous events planned for March and April. Our membership is increasing steadily, but we still have some work to do to keep us at the top. There are also some Squadrons and Districts that need a little push to become compliant. March is a busy month; the 8 th District will have their meeting on March 5 th in Chicago Heights and the Detachment DEC is March 12 th at the Mt. Vernon Squadron #141 located on 816 Main St. Mt. Vernon, IL Please consider attending this meeting, it is all Divisions and Districts present to discuss the required business and set the course for our future events and programs. The 1 st Division will be sponsoring some fundraisers, one for the National Emergency Fund -Hockey Night with the Chicago Wolves VS Admirals March 20th 3:00 pm. Donation is $30.00 which includes game ticket. Optional Discounted food coupons available for purchase ($6.00). Contact Sergio Senese at or (773) Another fundraiser on April 9th is for The Child Welfare Foundation at Legion Post #974, 9757 Pacific Ave. Franklin Park Doors open at 6pm, Dinner at 7pm Entertainment by Groove Candy at 8pm. $20 Donation per ticket. Contact Eugene Gort at (847) Please consider attending these events and help raise money for these Legion Programs. On Saturday April 16, 2016, the Sons of The American Legion 4

5 from the 1st Division will meet at the home of Evanston - Squadron #42 located at 1030 Central St, Evanston, IL Please notify all of your squadron and District members of this meeting and try to attend. Thanks for all you do for veterans and their families and I look forward to meeting everyone. For God and Country, Sergio V. Senese Jr 5

6 6

7 OFFICER & OTHER CONTACT INFORMATION COMMANDER: MIKE CARDER (847) VICE COMMANDER: GARY WHYTE (773) JUNIOR VICE COMMANDER: ANTHONY SICILIANO (312) FINANCE OFFICER: BERNARD DARMETKO (708) SERVICE OFFICER/ VA&R CHAIRMAN: RAYMOND TOCZEK (312) ASSISTANT SERVICE OFFICER: CHARLES BOSKO (312) CALENDAR OF EVENTS April 3 rd, 2016 Past President/ Past Commanders Luncheon 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM Location: The Great Escape 9540 Irving Park Rd. Schiller Park, IL Cost $ per person (CASH BAR) April 6 th, 2016 First Division Meeting Merle Guild Post 208, 121 N. Douglas Ave. Arlington Heights, IL Dinner: 6:00 pm, Division Meeting: 7:30 pm June 4 th, st Division Convention Franklin Park Post Pacific Ave., Franklin Park IL More information to follow 7

8 First Division, Cook County Council The American Legion, Department of Illinois Dearlove Rd. Apt. 2A. Glenview, Il Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Bloomington, IL Permit No. 18 If you would like to be added to the First Division Newsletter, or for any other issues, concerns, or address changes, please feel free to contact: Natalie F. C. Durec Monthly Publication Editor Mike Carder, Commander 8

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