The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 291 Newport Harbor

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Post 291 General Membership Meeting

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Post 291 was founded in 1924 by a group of thirty World War I veterans who were residents of the Newport Harbor area. They held an organizational meeting in the quarters of the Balboa Chamber of Commerce. The group elected as their first Commander, Raymond Hitchcock Brunswick.

Newport Harbor Post 291 of the American Legion is the second largest of American Legion Posts in the United States with 4000 Legionnaires and 6500 families. and is the only Post with its own Yacht Club. Located on the water in Newport Beach, California and dedicated to supporting all military veterans in the Orange County region.


Commander's Message

Cory Vigil is an (OIF) Navy veteran who served a total of 8 years. He was deployed to Iraq twice. His first MOS was an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate and his second enlistment as a Corpsman (FMF).He currently volunteers fulltime as the Service Officer for the American Legion Post 291 and helps veterans/spouses with emergency financial assistance utilizing the Veterans Emergency Assistance Fund. His current position as a lead peer navigator with Strong Families/Strong Children helps military-connected family’s transition with wrap-around services. He has been active in the Orange County Veterans & Military Families Collaborative as the chair of the Housing Working Group for almost two years recently. He volunteers 3x a month at the Housing Unit for Military Veterans at Theo Lacy Jail. He was specifically picked for this project by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. His expertise with VA programs, homeless issues, re-entry & diversion courts and veteran benefits is significant. He has been instrumental in promoting collaboration among providers and his strength is his network. He has been asked to speak at multiple VA’s to discuss housing, re-entry, and county collaborations. He currently resides in Rancho Santa Margarita. To top it off, he has received multiple veteran of the year awards during the pandemic including the Orange County AD 74 Veteran of the Year initiated by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.

In his passing, Howard Denghausen, took up the cause to create a stipend in the name of Walt Wagner for Veterans who are furthering their education and could use a hand up. This program was a great fit for the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 291. The Squadron that Walt loved so much. We began with a modest $1000 stipend to an individual that Howard vetted and approved for the honor. We grew to 2 at a $1000 each, then to 5 recipients of $1000. I was extremely proud to present $1000 checks to 10 worthy candidates this morning. It was humbling. These are the things that reground me as a Commander. THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE! We made an impact in 10 Veteran lives today. We helped them over the hump. We contributed to their after service success. The money was helpful, but I also think about the impact of knowing that someone cares. That a 1600 member Veteran organization found you important enough to bet on your success! Be proud SONS291! We do good things. The candidates themselves were varied. One particular gentleman had a sick baby at home and was concerned about his health with all that is going on. One had a wife that was having surgery. One of the candidates was an 83 year old retired Lt. Commander in the Navy who was going to college to learn to bake. One was positioning himself in a career of cyber security with eyes on the future and how he could make a difference. They had all served our country and I was humbled by the opportunity to give them a little nudge. Keep your head right. Keep your focus on helping Veterans. This is why the Sons of the American Legion exists. This is the opportunity that Squadron 291 has over many others with similar hearts. This is a volunteer service organization. We are the biggest in the world, but always striving to be the best.You have talents, abilities, and knowledge that no one else has. Will you use it to help us?

Go out and make a difference!