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he American Legion’s mission statement, as adopted by the National Executive Committee in October 2020, is: To enhance the well-being of America’s veterans, their families, our military, and our communities by our devotion to mutual helpfulness. The American Legion’s vision statement is “The American Legion: Veterans Strengthening America.” The American Legion’s value principles are as follows: A VETERAN IS A VETERAN - which means The American Legion embraces all current and former members of the military and endeavors to help them transition into their communities. SELFLESS SERVICE - which means The American Legion celebrates all who contribute to something larger than themselves and inspires others to serve and strengthen America. AMERICAN VALUES AND PATRIOTISM - which means The American Legion advocates for upholding and defending the United States Constitution, equal justice and opportunity for everyone and discrimination against no one, youth education, responsible citizenship and honoring military service by observing and participating in memorial events. FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT - which means The American Legion meets the unique needs of local communities. ADVANCING THE VISION - which means The American Legion educates, mentors and leads new generations of Americans. HONOR THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE US - which means The American Legion pays perpetual respect for all past military sacrifices to ensure they are never forgotton by new generations. The American Legion’s motto is “Veterans Strengthening America.” Preamble to the Constitution FOR GOD AND COUNTRY WE ASSOCIATE OURSELVES TOGETHER FOR THE FOLLOWING PURPOSES: To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; To maintain law and order; To foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism; To preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in all wars; To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; To combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; To make right the master of might; To promote peace and goodwill on earth; To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; To consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.


PUBLISHER Big Media USA, Inc. FOUNDER/CEO Tony DeMaio PRESIDENT LuAn Mitchell VP OF COMMUNICATIONS Mark Miller VP OF SALES AND MARKETING Wendy Hamelin VP OF PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT Angelika Christie VP OF INTERNATIONAL CONTENT Nina Michalchuk D’Ambrosio DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL STRATEGIES Cheryl Womack CREATIVE DIRECTORS Lanna Monday Emmett LuAn Mitchell Tony DeMaio PUBLICATION DESIGN Kaitlin Irvin PRODUCTION CONTRIBUTOR Tusculum University Department of Art and Design CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tony DeMaio Commander Richard Chalupnik ADVERTISING & SALES Wendy Hamlin Maurice Stewart Georgene Summers Angeline Benjamin CONTRIBUTING PODCASTERS

Rudy Valadez Amado Salinas Richard Chalupnik Tony Agular Tony DeMaio


Honor 6 Operation Guard

of the American The History of 16 Sons 18 Legion American Legion Baseball

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8 Boys State 9 Boys Nation 10 American Legion Riders 12 The Four Pillars 14 Oratical Contest 24 American Legion Service Officers 26 Showing What the Legion Family Does 28 National Suicide Prevention

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American Legion District 21

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, servicemembers and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Membership swiftly grew to over 1 million, and local posts sprang up across the country. Today, membership stands at nearly 2 million in more than 13,000 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines. District 21 is in Area 5 in Southern California which has has 16,324 members and 108 Posts. District 21 has 5.163 members and 17 Post.

Richard Chalupnik, 3rd Vise Commander and Finance Officer, American Legion District 21


Richard is native to Southern California. He spent 6 years in the United States Air Force in the weather field and is a Vietnam Era Veteran. Following the Air Force he completed his college degree with a major in Computer Science. His civilian life was spent as a Computer Programmer/ Analyst. Richard is an Honorary Life Member of American Legion (AL) Riverside Post 79, located in Fairmount Park. He has served in a number of the AL Rualph Chalupnik Post 79 positions. He was AL Post 79 Commander in 2007- 2008 and served two consecutive terms as AL Post 79 Commander from July 1, 2017 till June 30, 2019. Richard has transitioned into a leadership role in AL District 21. The AL District 21 encompasses 17 posts in Riverside County. He was voted in as the AL District 21 3rd Vice Commander in September of 2019 and continues to hold that position. As 3 rd Vice Commander Richard is responsible for Children and Youth programs and is heavily involved with the Oratorical Contest and Boys State programs. In January of 2020, Richard was appointed as the AL District 21 Finance Officer and currently continues in that position. Richard is the captain of the Robert J. “Uncle Bobby” Castillo Memorial Honor Guard, also known as Team 12 at the Riverside National Cemetery (RNC) Memorial Honor Detail (MHD). The team

serves all day at RNC on the 1st, 3rd, and if there is one, the 5th Tuesday of each month along with the 3rd Friday of the month. The team has served in over 4,200 Military Honors services at RNC. The team also performs as an Honor Guard in the community and performs Military Honors when requested at various venues. Richard has served on the Riverside County Veterans Advisory Committee (VAC) since July of 2015. As a VAC member, He has been involved with the Pass Area Veterans Expo and the Riverside Area Stand Down. He served as the VAC Vice Chairman for the 2017 – 2018 fiscal year. In September of 2019, he was voted in as the Riverside County VAC Chairman and continues in that role. He is also a member of the AL Past Commanders club, AL Riders Chapter 79 where he has served as Judge Advocate and currently as Chaplain, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 47 and the La Société des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux, Voiture 394, also known as the 40 & 8.

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Rudolph Valadez, Commander, american legion District 21 Rudolph “Rudy” Valadez is a retired Senior Executive of the United States Government, presidential appointee as the Western Regional Administrator of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, a 25-year veteran of the FBI, professor of law, and author. Since 2014, he has been a member of Post 79 in Riverside, California and held the offices of Post Adjutant, First Vice Commander, Judge Advocate, and Post Commander. He is a CLICK HERE TO WATCH the interview NOW! member of the National Mentor’s Corps and assists Veterans involved in the Criminal Justice System. His main goal is to be of service to all veterans. Painting and writing are his hobbies.

Rudolph “Rudy” Valadez

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Tony Aguilar Jr., American Legion District 21 District Adjutant Tony has many decades of service and leadership to the American Legion and the Palm Springs Community. In this interview Tony discuss the many aspects of the American Legion. The process for veterans to join and find a Post that fits their needs and that they can enjoy interacting with fellow veterans. The interview also dives into the various services provided to veterans by the American Legion whether at the local or the District, Area, State and National levels. The American Legion is known for its long service to the community and fundraiser for many local great causes. For Tony’s great community works and leadership he was awarded a Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in 2015.

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Tony Aguilar Jr.

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American Legion District 21 4

amado c. salinas II, assistant adjutant american Legion District 21 Amado C. Salinas II is a VETERAN of the U.S. NAVY, due to his exposure to Hollywood Celebrities that lived in Palm Springs, and the many stories he would relate to his Squadron he was given the CALL Sign “HOLLYWOOD”. But it could have been for his charismatic personality or GODD LOOKS! In the early 1980’s a NEW SPACE PROGRAM caught his attention, and he secured a job as an Engineer with Hughes Aerospace and Communications. In the Aerospace Industry he was able to apply his skillset on various projects such as the SST, KU-BAND Mil-Spec Military Satellites, Advance Stealth Jet Fighters. He left the Aerospace Industry for a position as a Systems Analyst to the DoD/VAMC. The Software Development Team was tasked to create what is now the current Veterans Administration Medical I.D. card, which allows for Veterans to get medical attention anywhere in the world via a Secure Digital Image Record System. In his extensive travel (both in the Service and Private Business), he became acutely aware that children in the USA were provided opportunities to succeed, but they did not or could not take advantage of the opportunities provided to them. In leaving the employment of the Federal Government for the Private Sector and starting his own consulting business, it afforded Amado the opportunity to work with various Projects. The last Aerospace project was as consultant to Bowing’s 787 “DREAM LINER” passenger aircraft via Crane Aerospace and Technologies. As a Consultant and able to travel he always took time to help Veterans and Children at Risk. He was able to help VETERANS and Children in their respective communities. As an Advisor and Board member to Champ of Champs a non-profit, Amado has helped provide and host events where retired Athletes and successful businessmen/women would come and talk directly with the kids at schools in the Coachella Valley. Over the last 14 years Camp of Champs has been able to reach over 60,000+(Plus) kids in their program. He has worked with NBA Alumni /NFL Alumni at Los Angeles Chapter with Kids in Los Angeles, and Orange County neighborhoods. Amado has been a HOST Event coordinator for the Annual WARRIOR Celebrity Golf Invitational held in Palm Springs (going on 14th Annual), and the Palm Springs Celebrity Golf Invitational ( 21st yr.). Amado is able to leverage his business and Celebrity contacts to shine a light on how we

Amando C. Salinas II

as individuals can help a child or a veteran in need. As a Licensed Realtor since 1986, He has utilized his knowledge of Various VA Programs to assist Veterans to obtain and secure the FUNDS affording the opportunity for a Veteran to provide a HOME for his Family. Currently with RE/MAX Desert Properties in Palm Springs, Ca. Both in Commercial / Residential Sales. He utilizes the license to enable Veterans to purchase a Home, or a place of Business. As the California AMERICAN LEGION Area 5 District 21 Assistant Adjutant Amado has been able to help the District Commander and all 17 POST within the District obtain and sustain each POST Annual / REQUIRED Mandates. He will also serve as 1st Vice Commander for the Palm Springs Owen Coffman POST 519 for 20212022 Period.

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David brambila, 1st vice commander American Legion District 21 Commander at American Legion – Joe Dominguez Post 742 Community Outreach Board Member at VAREP Riverside, CA Chapter First Vice Commander – District 21 Department of California at District 21 American Legion Department of California President at Creative Marketing Parade Chairman and Marketing David Brambila Chairman at Corona Cinco De Mayo Scholarship Committee Former Finance Officer American Legion Joe Dominguez Post 742 at American Legion – Joe Dominguez Post 742 Former Sgt

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of Marines at U.S. Marine Corps In this podcast David discusses how to build relationships with local business and creative fundraising. David has raised the funds to completely remodel and expand Post 742 to one of the premier Posts in District 21.

russell w. mills, american Legion District 21 Mills served in the USAF for 2 years (Did a inter service transfer to the USN) and served in the USN for 12 years – as a Hospital Corpsman assigned to the Fleet Marine Forces 1st Marine Division stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA, and periodically as 1st Force Service Support Group, also Russell W. Mills at Camp Pendleton. After leaving the Navy, he worked in the Aerospace field as a CNC Machinist/Programmer and had the pleasure of working for a military contractor that provided parts to many modern era air craft as well as to the STS (Space Shuttle) program until retirement 20 years ago. Mills joined the American Legion at Colton, California Post 155 in 1993. His local community did not have a Boy Scout Troop or Cub Scout Pack for the local youth of the community. He approached the Post to get donations to start the units and learned about how the American Legion supports Children and Youth though out America. The Post generously supported the units and Youth of the community, and he became a member and eventually the 2nd Vice Commander for the Post. He moved to San Jacinto, CA 6 years ago and joined American Legion Post 53 (One of the oldest Legion Post in America, established in 1919. The American Legion received its Congressional charter in 1919) while also staying active in the Boy Scouts of America. The scouting units of this Post are very active in support of

the Legion as well as the local community. While in this Post he was elected to the positions of Finance Officer, 1st Vice Commander and Commander of the Post. He also became a Dual member as I became a member of the Sons of The American Legion. While in this unit I was elected to serve as the Sons of The American Legion District 21 Commander. He moved his membership to American Legion Post 595 in Perris, CA just prior to the Covid outbreak. He has recently been elected to serve as the Post 1st Vice Commander for the upcoming term. He served the last 2 years as the 5th Area Chaplain with great honor. The 5th Area consists of the following counties: Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego and Imperial at the request of 5th Area Vice Commander Mike Weir. Mills currently serves as the 21st District Judge Advocate by appointment by District Commander Rudy Valadez. His duties include advising the District in matters concerning the Constitution and Bylaws and maintaining open communication with Post and civic leaders who support the communities.

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Operation Honor Guard


ow did Operation Honor Guard come to be? First, you must know a little about Rich Darby. Rich and his family have been in the business of helping people for over half a century; owning funeral homes and cemeteries in Illinois, Indiana, and Arizona.

pants, frayed flags and faded hats. Rich began to realize that he had it pretty good. He then remembered that the Honor Guard serve in all weather conditions, any time of day, and without compensation.

In August 2013, Rich, a licensed funeral director, was working a military funeral on an intensely hot and humid day at Sunset Memorial Park in Danville, IL. Rich recalls thinking, "I don't know how much more of this heat I can take. I hope this service doesn't last much longer."

​ ich knew he needed to help. Operation Honor R Guard was born. The first item of business was to hold a fundraiser to purchase Danville Illinois' American Legion Post 210's Honor Guard new uniforms. Since that brutally hot day in 2013, over 40 Honor Guards have benefited from Operation Honor Guard, NFP grants.

​ dmittedly feeling sorry for himself, he shifted his A focus to the Honor Guard. The volunteer veterans averaging well over 75 years of age standing attention; all red faced and perspiring. He noticed their extremely worn uniform jackets, mismatched

Operation Honor Guard is growing into a national organization and is looking to populate its database of honor guards across the nation. Please call our headquarters at 844,409.1049 or visit our website http://www.operationhonorguard.us/


American Legion Honor Guard is a Dedicated Group


ennett & Dennis Herrick Memorial American Legion Post 626 takes their duties to heart and shows their commitment to service. Their current honor guard team, which saw its first service at the Leavenworth National Cemetery on May 25, 2016, is still going strong and is getting plenty of assignments from the Missouri National Guard Headquarters which oversees the Missouri Military Funeral Honors program. Their dedication to service has led to being recognized as one of the area’s “go-to” teams. “We have a good rapport with the people in Jefferson City,” said honor guard captain Phyllis Rosales. “My goal as honor guard captain is to reply back to Jeff City within 20 minutes. They know that we try and do all they send our way. Very rarely do we decline any. They also know that they can call us in a pitch and we usually come through for them. For example, they called last week in the afternoon for a morning funeral the next day because the other honor guard had a positive COVID test. We were able to do the last-minute funeral with no problems."

Post 626 (Mo.) Honor Guard members Billy Thompson (bugle), Bill McDonald, Santos Rocha and Jerry Braton conducted four back-to-back military funeral honors ceremonies at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery - Higginsville on Dec. 7. Sending them home with honor.

As of Dec. 10, they have completed 297 funerals in all. Four were done in one day, Dec. 7, at the State Veterans Cemetery in Higginsville. “We are busier right now, because so many posts have stopped performing services because of the pandemic,” Rosales said. “We have stopped twice to quarantine for 14 days and then resumed. We are proud to serve the veterans and their families in this final goodbye.” “Everybody in the post is proud of our team and appreciates their commitment to duty,” said Post Commander Douglas Millison. “We are really lucky to have each and every one of them.”


Boys State A

merican Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high school students. A participatory program in which students become part of the operation of local, county and state government, Boys State was founded in 1935 to counter the socialisminspired Young Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a separate but similar program for young women called Girls State. At Boys State, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs. Legion posts select high school juniors to attend the program. In most cases, individual expenses are paid by a sponsoring post, a local business or another community-based organization. Boys State programs currently exist in all Legion departments in the United States except Hawaii. As separate corporations, Boys State programs vary in content and method of procedure, but each adheres to the same basic concept: teaching government from the township to the state level. For more information: Please review eligibility and dates to find a program and contact information in your state.




Boys Nation T

wo representatives from each of the 49 Boys States represent their state at Boys Nation in Washington, where the young leaders receive an education on the structure and function of federal government. The first Boys Nation – then called Boys Forum of National Government – convened at American University in Washington in August 1946. The 1946 American Legion National Convention adopted the event as an official youth activity. Three years later, it became American Legion Boys Nation. At the event, each delegate acts as a senator from his Boys State. The young lawmakers caucus at the beginning of the session, then organize into committees and conduct hearings on bills submitted by program delegates. Senators learn the proper method of handling bills, according to U.S. Senate rules. Participation in the political process is emphasized throughout the week, including organization of party conventions and nominating and electing a president and vice president.

Students learn the rights, privleges, and responsibilities of franchised citizens.

The week of government training also includes lectures, forums and visits to federal agencies, national shrines, institutions, memorials and historical sites. On Capitol Hill, Boys Nation senators meet with elected officials from their home states. Since Boys Nation began in 1946, a number of its graduates have been elected to public office, including presidents, congressmen, state governors and state legislators. Many others have been inspired to work for the campaigns of individuals seeking public office.



merican Legion Riders chapters are well known for their charitable work, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local children's hospitals, schools, veterans homes, severely wounded servicemembers and scholarships. Since 2006, Riders nationwide have participated in The American Legion Legacy Run to annually raise money for the Legacy Scholarship Fund, established to provide scholarships to children of U.S. military personnel killed since Sept. 11, 2001. HISTORY In Garden City, Mich., in 1993, Chuck "Tramp" Dare and Bill "Polka" Kaledas, commander of American Legion Post 396, shared an idea to start a motorcycle enthusiasts association within the organization. The two longtime riders wanted an environment where Legion family members could come together to share a common love for motorcycles. Dare and Kaledas wrote a letter to Michigan Department Adjutant Hubert Hess, sharing their idea. Hess replied that he liked the concept and wanted to pursue it. Later, he gave Kaledas and Dare instructions for managing the program at the post level. He also explained how they could be approved to use the American Legion emblem, and how to gain Membership's support and recognition. At a regular meeting, Post 396 members passed a resolution for a new program to be known as the "American Legion Riders." Joined by 19 other founding members from their post, Dare and Kaledas were flooded with requests for information about their organization. They agreed to establish a central source for the Riders to ensure that chapters formed not as motorcycle clubs or gangs, but as Legionnaires and Auxiliary and SAL members joining to ride as Legion family. LEGION RIDERS TODAY Currently, over 110,000 American Legion Riders meet in over 2,000 chapters in every domestic department and in at least three foreign countries. Riders in Iowa have formed an honor guard called The Five Star Freedom Riders, and Riders in Mulvane, Kan., founded the Patriot Guard to protect the sanctity of military funerals from protesters. Riders in all states have escorted military units returning home from combat tours overseas, conducted massive cross-country fundraising events for wounded warriors from all services, and have raised millions of dollars for countless local, state and


national charities. Many Riders, supported by their departments, conduct annual statewide Legacy Runs in direct support of American Legion scholarship progras of Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW), supporting our wounded servicemembers across the nation.

The American Legion Riders True to the Legion's grassroots tradition, each chapter manages its programs at the post level, where the best ideas are born. The Riders are part of many projects and events, including: • •

• • • • •

• •

Rolling Thunder, the annual POW/MIA rally in Washington on Memorial Day weekend. Annual regional rides such as Operation Wounded Warrior, sponsored by Riders in Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, California and other Western states. Local charity events in support of The American Legion and local communities. Raising money for VA hospitals, women and children centers, children and youth centers, schools and other facilities. Sponsoring or participating in motorcycle runs to benefit numerous charities. Local memorial ceremonies and community parades. The American Legion Legacy Run, an annual cross-country fundraising ride from National Headquarters in Indianapolis to the national convention city. Riding to honor fallen military men and women, and to protect the sanctity of their funerals from those who would dishonor their memory Escorting military units to departure airfields and airports for combat tours overseas, and welcoming them home upon their return.


All American Legion Rider groups must be a program supported by a Post or Department of The American Legion and shall uphold the declared principles of The American Legion as well as conform to and abide by the regulations and decisions of the Department, Post or other duly constituted Department governing body.

All The ALR groups shall avoid the perception of being a "motorcycle club" or biker club.”


All Members will obey the motorcycle laws of their state.

All members of The American Legion Riders shall be current members of The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary or Sons of The American Legion. Each ALR member shall establish and maintain membership by owning, individually or through marriage, a motorcycle licensed and insured as required by state law ALR programs may allow for continued membership for those members who have given up motorcycle ownership because of age, illness, injury, or other reasons outside the member's control All ALR members shall strive to maintain the image of The American Legion, at all times upholding The American Legion name and emblem, which symbolizes the integrity and principles of this great organization.

The only recognized The American Legion Rider logo is that which is copyrighted and sold through The American Legion National Emblem sales.

No use of rockers with the ALR patch because touching the patch violates trademark laws of the ALR patch. Sponsoring organization (Post and Department) will review liability insurance coverage to ensure that adequate coverage is available to cover the organization to include coverage for any specific special riding events. American Legion Rider groups shall abide by The American Legion Constitution and By-laws as well as the established Post and Department directives. The American Legion National Headquarters and the respective Departments shall maintain general oversight of ALR Program as regards to proper use of the name and emblem of The American Legion, ALR and The American Legion Legacy Run, and compliance with the National Constitution and By-Laws of The American Legion.



The Four


In southern California, a Vietnam War veteran who knows firsthand the cruel realities of homelessness now leads one of the nation's most dynamic efforts to help severely wounded troops find their way home from war, sometimes with missing limbs, mental illness or broken families. In a courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Chinese-American veteran from New York City closely monitors legal proceedings to assure that detainees from the war on terror are given fair opportunities to plead their cases. In a college corridor in Maine, a patriotic veteran stands with his arms folded and stops students from walking across a U.S. Flag laid out on the floor. He is threatened with arrest before the so-called "art" project is removed. A group of veterans in Alabama takes an annual motorcycle ride to a summer camp for children with cancer. Terminally ill youngsters thrill to the rumble of the big bikes. They try on helmets. They twist the throttles. The veterans drop off a check for $10,000 before heading out. These are some extraordinary veterans. They are also members of The American Legion. And their stories can be multiplied thousands of times over, across the nation and around the world. They abide by the preamble of a constitution nearly 90 years ago, words that are held aloft on four main pillars of service and advocacy: • • • •

Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation National Security Americanism Children & Youth

Last spring, I asked our National Headquarters staff to prepare a "white-paper" report to provide information for the leading presidential candidates this year.


Its intent was to spell out The American Legion's positions on VA health care, veterans benefits claims, the GI Bill, jobs and business opportunities,

accounting of our POW/MIAs is a sacred priority, as is a decent quality of life for military personnel and their families. The candidates need to know that the strength of American Legion conviction on issues we include within the pillar known as National Security.

adjustment assistance for wounded warriors returning home, and other important issues taken up by our Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Commission. These are, indeed, major aspects of what we do. But that's not all we do. And so, the report needed to be expanded. The new commander in chief also needs to understand The American Legion's ongoing commitment to success in the global war on terrorism - that we support the troops and their mission. The candidates need to know that The American Legion opposes illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens, but fully supports opportunities for legal immigration. The candidates need to know that a full

Jeff Driskell, first vice commander, District 13 salutes during the raising of the POW/MIA flag ceremony, Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif., Sept. 18, 2015. The flag was donated by the American Legion Moffett Field Post and is a symbol of our nation’s commitment to resolve fully the fate of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for. (U.S. California Air National Guard photo by Kim E. Ramirez)

No candidate should ever question our patriotism. Upon the pillar of Americanism, this organization promotes obedience to law and order, and respect for the U.S. Flag. The American Legion builds enthusiasm for public service among young people through such programs as Boys Nation and the National Oratorical Contest. We will never abandon Boy Scouts of America as it fights disingenuous lawsuits filed by profit-minded legal organizations. We believe God deserves a place in the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America, and in the town square, too. The roots of the fourth pillar - Children & Youth - reach back to the combat-weary doughboys who founded The American Legion. They survived trench warfare, machine-gun firefights, mid-air dogfights and mustard gas. When they called their first caucus at Paris in 1919, they focused not on themselves but on the children and youth of America. They knew that children were made orphans by the war, and that many had little chance to succeed without help. The slogan they coined resonates today: "A Square Deal for Every Child." Millions of dollars have since been raised and innumerable hours have been volunteered by Legionnaires, in order to help children who are sick or in need, or simply looking for opportunities to achieve their goals. The American Legion has advocated on their behalf, fighting against such social ills as child pornography, teen suicide, drug abuse and violence at home. The American Legion, with 2.7 million members and more than 14,000 posts, has flourished since 1919 because of these pillars, these values. The pillars are us, and we are them. As you read the following pages, take pride. You are among millions of extraordinary veterans who call themselves Legionnaires, past, present and future. And it is our duty to keep strengthening the pillars.




he American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years, including former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, national television commentator and talk radio host Lou Dobbs, and former Vice-President of the United States Mike Pence.



oung orators earn some of the most generous college scholarships available to high school students. Over $203,500 in scholarships can be awarded each year. The overall national contest winner gets a $25,000 scholarship. Second place takes home $22,500, and third gets $20,000. Each department (state) winner who is certified into and participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $2,000 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an additional $2,000 scholarship. The American Legion’s National Organization awards the scholarships, which can be used at any college or university in the United States. High school students under age 20 are eligible. Competition begins at the post level and advances to a state competition. Legion department representatives certify one winner per state to the national contest, where department winners compete against each other in two speaking rounds. The contest caps off with a final round that decides the three top finishers. Speaking subjects must be on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with some emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government. Speeches are eight to 10 minutes long; three- to five-minute speeches on an assigned topic also are part of the contest.



Sons of the American Legion


he National Public and Media Communication Commission is excited to share with you the next video in the series. We proudly support our Veterans and their families. Join us and help improve the lives of our heroes. Sons Video Founded in 1932, Sons of The American Legion exists to honor the service and sacrifice of Legionnaires. S.A.L. members include males of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military and were eligible for American Legion membership. Members of The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion comprise the Legion Family, which has a combined membership of nearly 3 million. Although Sons has its own membership, the organization is not a separate entity. Rather, S.A.L. is a program of The American Legion. Many Legionnaires hold dual membership in S.A.L.

place an emphasis on preserving American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our nation’s children, caring for veterans and their families, and teaching the fundamentals of good citizenship. Since 1988, S.A.L. has raised more than $6 million for The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation. S.A.L. members have volunteered over 500,000 hours at veterans hospitals and raised over $1,000,000 for VA hospitals and VA homes. The Sons also support the Citizens Flag Alliance, a coalition dedicated to protecting the U.S. flag from desecration through a constitutional amendment.

SONS MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS All male descendants, adopted sons, and stepsons of members of The American Legion, and such male descendants of veterans who died in service during World War I, and December 7, 1941, to date, as set forth in Article IV, Section 1, of the National Constitution of The American Legion, or who died subsequent to their honorable discharge from such service, shall be eligible for membership in the Sons of The American Legion. There shall be no forms or class of membership except an active membership.

HISTORY The Sons organization is divided into detachments at the state level and squadrons at the local level. A squadron pairs with a local American Legion post; a squadron’s charter is contingent upon its parent post’s charter. However, squadrons can determine the extent of their services to the community, state and nation. They are permitted flexibility in planning programs and activities to meet their needs, but must remember S.A.L.’s mission: to strengthen the four pillars of The American Legion. Therefore, squadrons’ campaigns


The Sons of The American Legion was created in 1932 as an organization within The American Legion The S.A.L. is made up of boys and men of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the United States military and became eligible for membership in The American Legion. Together, members of The American Legion, The American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of The American Legion make up what is known as The Legion Family. All three organizations place high importance on preserving our American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our nation's children, caring for veterans and their families, and

The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation. Members have volunteered over 1.3 million hours to date in Veterans Hospitals throughout the country and raised over $2,500,000 that has gone directly to VA hospitals and VA homes for a variety of items including TVs, radios, medical equipment and clothing for the patients. There are many men who are members of both The American Legion and the Sons of The American Legion. Often, these individuals started out as young members of the Sons. Then, when they were old enough to serve the military, they also became eligible to join The Legion. Such individuals are known within our organization as dual members. The Sons of The American Legion is one of Mr. Michael L. Lawler, Sons of the American Legion national vice commander, poses with Chad T. Woodburn, Department of Illinois membership director, and his son Luke many organizations that sponsors and Aug. 29, 2016, at the American Legion’s 98th National Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. Lawler gave Luke a pin for his cap to add to the growing collection. (DoD photo by Staff supports the Citizens Flag Alliance, a coalition formed to secure flag protection Sgt. Jocelyn Ford, USAF/released) legislation through an amendment to the perhaps most importantly, teaching the fundamentals U.S. Constitution. S.A.L. volunteers work to establish of good citizenship. local networks by having petitions available and Sons have always assisted Legionnaires with Legion handing out informational material. They alert their Family programs. Our Family boasts a combined total communities to the importance of respect for the flag membership of nearly 4.2 million members. This year, and they encourage flag education programs in schools Sons attained an all time high national membership of and other local organizations. over 365,000. The largest Detachment, Pennsylvania, has over 61,000 members. Trophies and awards are given to Detachments and Squadrons for the largest membership and the largest increase in membership. Just as each Legion post determines the extent of Proud possessors of a priceless heritage, we male its service to the community, state and nation, each descendants of veterans of the Great Wars, associate S.A.L. squadron is permitted flexibility in planning ourselves together as "Sons of The American Legion" programs and activities to meet its own needs. The for the following purposes: S.A.L. has study programs recommended for younger members. One such program, called "The Ten Ideals," To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United teaches the elements of patriotism, health, knowledge, States of America; to maintain law and order; to training, honor, faith, helpfulness, courtesy, reverence foster and perpetuate a true spirit of Americanism; to and comradeship. If a member completes the Ten preserve the memories of our former members and Ideals program, he is eligible to continue with another the association of our members and our forefathers in program called the "Five-Point Program of Service." all wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation This program covers patriotism, citizenship, discipline, to the Community, State and Nation; to combat the leadership and legionism. autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make


Sons focus on much more than just membership. At all levels, Sons support The American Legion in promoting a wide variety of programs. Sons assist their posts in other activities such as Veterans programs, Veterans Administration home and hospital volunteerism, Children Youth projects and fundraising. Since 1988, The Sons have raised more than $6.9 million for

right the master of might; to promote peace and good will on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy, to consecrate and sanctify our friendship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness; to adopt in letter and spirit all of the great principles for which The American Legion stands; and to assist in carrying on for God and Country.



American Legion Baseball


merican Legion Baseball is anational institution, having thrived through a world war, several national tragedies, and times of great prosperity as well as great despair.

A MODEST BEGINNING Community service has always been a core value of The American Legion. In 1925, this commitment was furthered to include a baseball program.

The league was first proposed at an American Legion state convention in Milbank, S.D., when The league still stands behind the traditional Sioux Falls attorney and Department Commander values upon which it was founded in 1925. Frank G. McCormick invited his close friend, American Legion Baseball has taught hundreds of Maj. John L. Griffith, to address the convention. thousands of young Americans the importance of Instead of a traditional speech, Griffith, who was sportsmanship, good health and active citizenship. also the collegiate commissioner of the Western The program is also a promoter of equality, making Conference (now the Big Ten), spoke about the teammates out of young athletes regardless of role athletics can play in the development of youth. their income levels or social standings. American Legion Baseball has been, and continues to be, a "The American Legion could well consider the stepping stone to manhood for millions of young advisability of assisting in the training of young men who have gone on to serve their country or Americans through our athletic games," Griffith community, raise families or play the sport at the said. Athletic competition teaches courage and highest level. respect for others, fostering their growth into active


citizens, he explained.

the organization's financial coffers stretched thin The South Dakota convention agreed and from the trip's expenses, the Legion couldn't fund passed a resolution urging the Legion to create a World Series. No champion was named and the an organized summer baseball league that future of American Legion Baseball looked bleak, started each June. National Commander James as the inaugural season wound up costing more A. Drain backed the resolution, which passed than originally planned. that fall at the Legion's national convention in But the Legion's Americanism director, Dan Omaha, Neb. It read: Sowers, worked to keep the league afloat. The "RESOLVED: That The American Legion ... tournament format needed $50,000, and Sowers inaugurate and conduct baseball leagues was determined to raise it. Early in 1928, he went and tournaments for local championships, to an executive meeting for professional baseball, and that local champions determined by the hoping to reach a sympathetic ear. He found one competitions be given opportunity to compete in Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who in departmental, sectional and regional pledged a $50,000 annual donation from Major tournaments, and that a junior world series League Baseball. Legion Baseball resumed in championship baseball series be conducted at 1928, and by 1929 participants were coming from every state and the District of Columbia. each national convention ... " The first program in the world to provide a national baseball tournament for teenagers, American Legion Baseball was born. In 1926, posts in 15 states began to make Griffith's vision a reality. They organized and sponsored teams, drafted local schedules and conducted championship tourneys. Postseason tournaments at the state, sectional and regional levels culminated with a national championship. Only a few changes have been made to the format over the years. The tournament still has a similar setup: 64 teams play at eight regional sites, with eight teams going on to the World Series. The winning team receives a trip to Major League Baseball's World Series, a tradition dating back to 1926.

Still, the program wasn't in the clear. Like other institutions, Legion Baseball fell on tough times during the Great Depression. In 1933, MLB's funds were sapped dry, and Legion Baseball was left without a sponsor. The annual $50,000 donation was pulled, and it looked likely the national tournament would be abandoned indefinitely.

Again, Sowers set out to find a generous sponsor. Initially, he hounded big corporations, but he was concerned they'd treat to his fledgling baseball league as a public-relations arm. He turned to Frank Knox, a newspaper publisher and former department commander. Knox, who originally cautioned Sowers against using corporate sponsorship, contributed $5,000 and gave Sowers letters of introduction to several other newspaper publishers. An additional $28,500 was raised in donations from the Chicago Daily News, the Omaha World-Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Indianapolis News, the New Orleans Item-Tribune and the Atlanta Journal. Sowers received the final The first American Legion Baseball World Series $6,500 from his own boss, Col. Henry L. Doherty, was held in Philadelphia in 1926. Yonkers, N.Y, president of Cities Services. Post 321 beat a team from Pocatello, Idaho, capping off what appeared to be a successful Legion Baseball soldiered on, even though some first season. posts were still forced to run teams on shoestring budgets. MLB resumed its funding in 1935, starting The league, however, hit a few growing pains with a $20,000 donation and gradually working in its second year. In 1927, the Legion's back up to the original amount. national convention convened in Paris. With



Professional baseball now contributes $40,000 yearly, or about 3 percent of the total budget.

AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL IN THE MODERN ERA American Legion Baseball enjoys a reputation as one of the most successful and tradition-rich amateur athletic leagues. Today, the program registers teams in all 50 states plus Canada. Each year young people, ages 13 to 19, participate. Since its inception in 1925, the league has had millions of players, including countless who have gone on to play in college and professional baseball, with 81 inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Legion Baseball also has a reputation for serving the young people who play for it. In college scholarships, the league annually awards a total of $25,000 - $500 for a player selected from each department based upon leadership, character, scholarship and financial need. Recently, the Legion passed a resolution allowing corporate sponsorship, in the hope of creating more financial aid for college. Diamond Sports currently funds $25,000 in scholarships for the American Legion Baseball All-Academic Team. Eight players receive a $2,500 scholarship and the "Captain" of the All Academic Team receives a $5,000 scholarship. In 1949, the national player of the year was first named through the arrangement of Robert Quinn, director of The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Fittingly, winners receive a trip to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., making them the only amateur athletes invited to the exhibit. The award is now named after George W. Rulon, who served as program coordinator from 1961 to 1987. Three other recognition awards were established in the 1970s: the Dr. Irvin L. "Click" Cowger RBI Award, the Rawlings Big Stick Award and the Bob Feller pitching awards. All recognize strong performances in the regional and national tournaments. Over the years, plenty of other major corporations


have joined Gatorade in sponsoring Legion Baseball. In the 1940s, Ford Motor Co. dealers supplied uniforms for local teams. Diamond Sports recently signed on as a sponsor, and Baseball Factory has agreed to scout Legion players with big-league aspirations.

A PRESTIGIOUS PEDIGREE Major League Baseball and American Legion Baseball don't have a formal partnership, but the two owe each other a tremendous debt of gratitude. MLB has sponsored Legion Baseball almost since its inception, and Legion Baseball has returned the favor, churning out major league prospects since the alumni base has been old enough to be scouted. The number of former Legion players who have gone on to the pros is far too large to chart. More than half of current major-leaguers played Legion Baseball. So did almost every working MLB manager, along with several former commissioners. In all, 81 program graduates are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Naturally, Legion Baseball's alumni base includes some of the sport's most recognizable names. Yogi Berra played for Fred W. Stockham Post 245 in St. Louis and was once quoted as saying it was the most fun he ever had. Ted Williams suited up for a post in San Diego. Frank Robinson led his Oakland, Calif., team to the only back-to-back national championships in program history. Babe Ruth was too old to join when Legion Baseball started, but he spent the final years of his life promoting the program as its director of operations. Other prominent players include Justin Verlander, Ryne Sandberg, Roy Campanella, Dusty Baker, Albert Pujols, Greg Maddux and Chipper Jones. Of all the notable former players, Legion Baseball had perhaps the greatest impact on former Cleveland Indians great Bob Feller. A selfdescribed shy farm kid from rural Iowa, Feller cut his teeth playing for Variety Post 313. He says the experience taught him as much about life as it did baseball. Legion Baseball gave him an outlet to be discovered as a pitcher, but also gave him a chance to form lifelong friendships, learn to deal with letdown in athletic competition, and become

better prepared for the mental and emotional strain Yet baseball isn't the only area where former of fighting in a war. players have excelled. Legion Baseball graduates have gone on to prominence in other career fields. The first Legion alumnus elected to the Baseball Former Vice President Dick Cheney played for Hall of Fame, Feller wrote a column for The Post 2 in Casper, Wyo. Famed journalist and American Legion Magazine in June 1963, author Tom Brokaw played Legion ball in South expressing his love and appreciation for the league Dakota, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was on a team in Pennsylvania. after it honored him with a plaque in 1962. "Truthfully, I feel I should have given a plaque to The American Legion rather than receiving one from it," Feller wrote. He penned the column free of charge and admitted that he never endorsed anything he didn't believe in during his career, even for large sums of money.

In short, Legion Baseball graduates are proud contributors throughout our society and often are the most successful people in their respective career fields.


For info, click here or contact Juan Fernandez (915) 526-8876 or visit post742ca.org


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American Legion Service Officers


uicide – a public health issue that is affects all Americans, with veterans among higher risk.

Ibar J. Romero Jr., American Legion Department of New Mexico service officer, was assisting a veteran with benefits when he noticed suicidal thoughts. Instead of telling the veteran to go to the local VA medical center for help, he drove the veteran in distress because he felt safe enough to do so.

Awareness Month, and mental health resources from the VA are available to support veterans, servicemembers and their families in need. The following are a few ways that Legionnaires, caregivers, friends and others can support veterans. Contact the VA Crisis Line. The crisis line connects veterans and their families and friends with qualified VA responders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

“More qualified medical staff provided them the 1. Call toll-free at (800) 273-8255 and then press 1; treatment that they so urgently required,” Romero said. “It was the most rewarding Uber ride back to the office because I had the peace of mind that 2. Text the number 838255; or the veteran was getting the best VAMC treatment 3. Chat online at veteranscrisisline.net/chat. they needed.” Romero shared that if a veteran is comfortable with a service officer during the “kneecap to kneecap interviews, they may say certain things, statements or hints, about their state of mind, their well-being, and potentially suicide. If the veteran gave you a peek into their well-being and state of mind, they’re asking you to help them.

Share Make the Connection. Visit MakeTheConnection.net to discover an online resource that connects veterans, their family members and friends, and other supporters with information and solutions to issues affecting their lives.

Download suicide prevention materials. Visit which includes “You have to ask additional problematic questions. BeThereforVeterans.com, resources for making a difference, a message Are you thinking of hurting yourself? Have you ever tried to harm yourself before? Are you generator tool for connecting with loved ones contemplating suicide? Are you thinking of dying using safe messaging, and prepared social or giving up? Do you own weapons or have access media content for spreading the word. Other suicide prevention educational materials can to them? be found at VeteransCrisisLine.net/support/ “Listen to them, be sensitive, be empathetic, be shareablematerials. compassionate, be caring, but also be persistent. There are numerous agencies to assist you, so "If a veteran gives you a suspicion or hint about harming themselves, it will prompt your need to don’t attempt to handle crisis alone.” September is National Suicide Prevention ask more questions. Yes of course it is difficult, but we’ve all done difficult before," Romero said.


Service Officer Training American Legion service officers include post volunteers who can refer veterans and families to proper support agencies and accredited Department Service Officers who operate larger programs to provide free guidance, counseling and personal assistance to veterans and families navigating their government veterans benefits. Accredited service officers may be qualified to obtain power of attorney for veterans, but in order to maintain accreditation, and to learn about changes in the benefits landscape, legal or medical, American Legion Department Service Officer School is conducted in the first quarter in Washington, D.C., and in the summer in Indianapolis each year. To learn more about American Legion Department Service Officer School, email var@legion.org or contact the Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division, The American Legion National Headquarters, Washington, D.C., at (202) 861-2700. 25

Showing What the Legion Family Does


One of the volunteers working at Robinson’s home was Past National Commander Fang Wong, who has participated in every Legion community event at the national convention since 2013. “As Legionnaires we believe you always want to improve your community (and) always want to That’s why, for the second year, Williamson serve your community,” he said. “It may not be a joined other Legion family members in an Aug. 26 professional job, but we want (Robinson) to know, volunteer event during the national convention. and the community to know, that there are people Williamson and other members of the Legion out there looking out for their benefits, looking at family went to three different houses in Cincinnati for their well-being, and that the Legion is obviously to repair a wheelchair ramp, stain decks and do one of them. Hopefully if they run into trouble and yard work. they need help they will think of us.” hen back home in Alaska, American Legion Auxiliary Legislative Chairman Lisa Williamson would rather try to show prospective members what the Legion family is doing, rather than trying to tell them.

“I truly believe that doing projects like this, it’s like the ‘Field of Dreams’ movie: If you build it they will come,” she said. “I’m not a real great membership recruiter when it comes to handing applications out. But people come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I love what you’re doing. How can I be a part of it?’ That’s the key to me.” Williamson was at the home of Korean War Marine veteran Roscoe Gatewood Sr. and helped stain a wheelchair ramp that volunteers also fixed up with some new wood planks. “It helps (Gatewood) remain at home and not go into a nursing home for safety reasons,” said Ja’Lah Willingham, Gatewood’s granddaughter. “(Gatewood) has a history of construction, so he had actually tried to put together this ramp for my grandmother … but he wasn’t able to do the best job because of some of his (health conditions). To have (the Legion family) come and correct it in the right way means a lot to us.” Korean War Army veteran Henry Robinson suffered a stroke a few years ago and now cannot put too much pressure on his right leg. So when volunteers showed up at his house to mow and stain his back porch, he was very grateful. “It means a whole lot to have The American Legion come out here and help me out,” Robinson said.


At another resident’s home, Past National Commander Mike Helm was busy with other veterans painting and staining a front porch and rear deck while cleaning up the yard. “You really make a difference,” said Helm, also a participant in every convention community event since 2013. “The lady we’re doing this for, she came by earlier and she’s just so excited about it. I think we really do make a difference. And the people who do this on a regular basis, they appreciate us coming in and showing we care what they’re doing.” The Legion worked on the project with local nonprofit People Working Cooperatively (PWC), which provides thousands of low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners with home repairs, energy conservation and weatherization, mobility modifications and maintenance services. “It’s incredibly valuable,” PWC Volunteer Program Manager Aaron Grant said of the Legion family effort. “These are people connected to the armed services, and they wanted to make sure that the impact they had here in Cincinnati was related to veterans. It’s really important to connect those two groups of people.” Williamson felt that connection. “I just had five minutes with (Gatewood), and just to know that we’ve helped him out … it’s heartwarming,” she said.




Resources to support Na uicide – a public health issue that is affects all Americans, with veterans among higher

Ibar J. Romero Jr., American Legion Department of New Mexico service officer, was assisting a veteran with benefits when he noticed suicidal thoughts. Instead of telling the veteran to go to the local VA medical center for help, he drove the veteran in distress because he felt safe enough to do so. “More qualified medical staff provided them the treatment that they so urgently required,” Romero said. “It was the most rewarding Uber ride back to the office because I had the peace of mind that the veteran was getting the best VAMC treatment they needed.” Romero shared that if a veteran is comfortable with a service officer during the “kneecap to kneecap interviews, they may say certain things, statements or hints, about their state of mind, their well-being, and potentially suicide. If the veteran gave you a peek into their well-being and state of mind, they’re asking you to help them.


“You have to ask additional problematic questions. Are you thinking of hurting yourself? Have you ever tried to harm yourself before? Are you contemplating suicide? Are you thinking of dying or giving up? Do you own weapons or have access to them? “Listen to them, be sensitive, be empathetic, be compassionate, be caring, but also be persistent. There are numerous agencies to assist you, so don’t attempt to handle crisis alone.” September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and mental health resources from the VA are available to support veterans, servicemembers and their families in need. The following are a few ways that Legionnaires, caregivers, friends and others can support veterans. - Contact the VA Crisis Line. The crisis line connects veterans and their families and friends with qualified VA responders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

ational Suicide Prevention

1. Call toll-free at (800) 273-8255 and then press 1; 2. Text the number 838255; or 3. Chat online at veteranscrisisline.net/chat. Share Make the Connection. Visit MakeTheConnection.net to discover an online resource that connects veterans, their family members and friends, and other supporters with information and solutions to issues affecting their lives. - Download suicide prevention materials. Visit BeThereforVeterans.com, which includes resources for making a difference, a message generator tool for connecting with loved ones using safe messaging, and prepared social media content for spreading the word. Other suicide prevention educational materials can be found at VeteransCrisisLine.net/ support/shareablematerials. "If a veteran gives you a suspicion or hint about harming themselves, it will prompt your need to ask more questions. Yes of course it is difficult, but we’ve all done difficult before," Romero said.


Contact: Tony DeMaio, CEO Big Media USA TD@BigMediaUSA.com / 818 233 5357 https://synergisticsanitizingsolutions.com/news/



committed to supporting female members transitioning out of the military Women veterans face remarkably different experiences than their male counterparts when they transition out of the military. While VA has made significant advancements in women veterans health care throughout the VA health-care system, there is still room for improvements. The American Legion wants every woman veteran who walks through the doors of a VA medical facility to feel that it was designed with them in mind and no longer has the looks of a “For Male” only building. As a result of the increase in the number of women veterans, The American Legion National Executive Committee passed Resolution 14, in September 2016, which calls for VA to ensure that all women veterans receive gender-specific quality health care. In 2013, The American Legion System Worth Saving Task Force turned its attention to women veterans’ health care and identified a number of challenges women veterans face when receiving VA health care to include: • • • •


Many women veterans do not identify themselves as veterans. Many women veterans do not know or understand what benefits they are entitled to receive. VA medical facilities across the system do not have adequate baseline plans to close the gender gaps and improve use of facilities and services for women. Additional research is needed to determine the purpose, goals, and effectiveness of three VA women models of care on overall outreach, communication and coordination of women veterans health services. Many VA facilities do not offer inpatient/residential mental health care programs for women veterans. Many VA facilities do not offer child care services for women veterans seeking health care appointments. The time it takes for women veterans to receive results from their mammogram screening.

you can help! American Legion Charities: Serving Veterans. Serving America. learn more about how to assist american legion today! Your donation will be used to help The American Legion fulfill it’s mission to support veterans, military personnel, families and communities. The American Legion has many ways to dontate including through our charities, foundations and scholarship funds, just to name a few. Click the link below to learn more:

click here to learn more

about how to support

the american legion 33


VA Loma Linda Healthcare System Healing Through Music


he strum of a guitar. The feel of your fingers hitting the strings. The sound that comes from that motion. The overwelming sense of pride that you feel as you learn a new skill. That's what VA Loma Linda Medical Center Guitars for Vets (G4V) Chapter, which began in July 2011 helps provide our Veterans. An experience that can be very theraputic for those dealing with a wide range of medical issues.

“We always leave them with a positive feeling. They leave feeling like they accomplished something...”

Two instructors take on six students in a 10-week period. One-on-one sessions allow each Veteran to learn at his or her own pace. The natural tendency for competition, often seen in group classroom environments, is also eliminated.

guitar by attending graduate-only group sessions once a week. Instructor’s of the program practice of patience, acceptance, gratitude, empathy, respect, and sincerity (P.A.G.E.R.S.) is what ensures the success of program participants.

Disorders other than post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a common reason VA medical team members would refer someone to the program, can make learning to play a guitar more challenging for some Veterans.

“We always leave them with a positive feeling. They leave feeling like they accomplished something. Even if it’s a little tiny thing, that means a big thing to the person that’s learning guitar because there are situations where they’ve been told they can’t do it,” said G4V Loma Linda Educational Coordinator Dan Saldivar.

For example, arthritis in the hands makes it difficult to strum and fret a guitar. Dyslexia complicates the reading of guitar chords from a book, but the accommodating nature of the program allows each Saldivar, one of the program’s volunteer instructors, inspires his students with the story of individual to meet the program’s goal. Tony Meléndez. Meléndez was born without arms, “It’s not how well the student learns to play. It’s but managed to perform for Pope John Paul II in not how much they learn during the 10 weeks. 1987 by playing guitar with his feet. It’s that they show up and start bonding with the guitar, music, practice, and everything else. Then hopefully someday, they will get in the zone where time and space no longer matters,” said G4V Loma Linda Chapter Coordinator Darnell Fall. Upon graduation, Veterans are given a new guitar to encourage them to practice what was learned and allow music to get them through situations that cause anxiety. G4V Loma Linda graduates are also invited to continue learning to play the

Saldivar has played guitar for over 40 years in many different genres. Guitar for Vets is looking for new instructors that must have at least 5 years of experience. According to Saldivar and Fall, a high level of proficiency and demonstration of P.A.G.E.R.S. are the key ingredients for a VA Loma Linda G4V volunteer instructor. If you are interested, please contact Guitar for Vets Loma Linda Chapter.



American Legion DIStrict 21 california 1557 yorba street corona, ca 92882 714-502-4316

Profile for Success Publications

American Legion Special Edition INformed People Magazine 2021  

American Legion Special Edition INformed People Magazine 2021  

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