The third and final day of Operation Snowball Express began at Sellersburg Post 204. Just because it was the last day of a three day trip, the Hoosier Legion Family was not going to take it easy on themselves. They had five post to visit today before they traveled back to Department Headquarters.
After the group spent over an hour at the Sellersburg Post, it was time to load up and head to our second destination of the day, Evansville Post 8. Many people came out to greet the Express at the Funkhouser Post, along with some Indiana Lawmakers. U.S. Congressman, Larry Bucshon and Representative Wendy McNamara were both in attendance to both talk about what they are doing for Hoosier veterans..
After lunch at the Funkhouser Post, the group made the long-haul to Terre Haute Post 346. They were greeted by a big crowd at the Terre Haute Post. From here, the group traveled to Mooresville Post 103.
Another big turn out from the Mooresville Legion Family. From here, we head to our last stop of Operation Snowball Express, Indianapolis Post 64.
With close to 1,000 miles covered and over 700 membership cards collected, Operation Snowball Express was a huge success.
Members of the State American Legion usually travel to many different parts of the country, but today Evansville was the destination. State officials also kept our veterans in mind as they talked about various national issues. Many veterans grouped together at the Funkhouser Post to discuss if their needs are being met as well as increasing sponsorship for the veteran focused organization.
The State American Legion promote programs such as Legion Baseball, Hoosiers Boys and Girls State Organizations and fund scholarships for young children. The state commander for the American Legion says, “It is a chance to meet our community, our legion people, our staff and it’s the first time they get a chance to meet and greet throughout the state.”
U.S. Congressman, Larry Bucshon also attended the American Legion Tour event. He says he has been working to make sure veterans are getting the healthcare benefits they deserve. Bucshon says, “It’s so shocking around the country, how we have people who have served our country who are homeless. Those are some of the issues the American Legion works on as well as other veteran organizations.”
Wendy McNamara was also in attendance. She says there is still legislation for veterans that she is attempting to promote at the State House.
She has co-authored House Bill 1214 which deals with CBD oil and industrial hemp. McNamara says, “That would be a pretty important bill coming through for veterans or for anybody that is experiencing pain in their life and could find comfort through the use of CBD oil.”
The State American Legion will also host a spring conference on April 6th and 8th.
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The second day of Operation Snowball Express was a long day, but it was an outstanding day. Believe it or not, the schedule was even tighter than it was on day one. Today, we traveled to 6 different posts to meet with fellow members of the American Legion Family and to collect their membership cards. First up, we traveled Bristol Post 143.
Outstanding people at the Bristol Post, but the "Express" needs to keep moving. Next up was Angola Post 31. Were honored by the huge reception we received. Cmdr. Dzieglowicz told Legion Family members in attendance about upcoming Legion Programs and special events that they can be a part of. After that, the "Express" packed up and headed the Fort Wayne Post 241.
Again, the "Express" was greeted by a large group of friendly Legion Family members. They may have had donuts for us put I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure I caught a glimpse of them , but by the time I got to the table they were all gone. Once everyone cleared the room of the disappearing pastries, it was time again to load back and head for Fort Wayne Post 241.
Pulling into the Fort Wayne Post 241, the "Express" was greeted to this wonderful sign as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. Big crowd and a delicious lunch provided by the post. We were surrounded by great people at a great post. Some of our leadership also had the opportunity to get some coaching from the Junior shooting sports instructor. Lot's of fun, but the "Express" has more stops to make. Next up is Middletown Post 216.
Packed house at a fun post. The "Express" set up shop in Middletown Post 216. Cmdr. Dzieglowicz was seen teaching a young man a pool trick shot that he could "Maybe win some money with". After collecting membership cards, it was to to roll-out to the next station, Knightstown Post 152.
We rolled into Knightstown Post 152 and were treated to a wonderful lunch. This was a very friendly post. I'm sure the entire "Snowball Express" would have been up for staying a bit longer, but we had one more stop to make, St. Leon Post.
The day was very tiring, but Membership Chairman, Ron Byrley said that we have collected 478 membership cards from the Posts' that we visited. One more day to go. DO YOU HAVE YOUR CARDS READY?
The first day of Operation Snowball Express was a huge success. The schedule was tight, but the group was able to visit five posts in different parts of the state. First up, the group traveled to Kokomo Post #6 where they were treated to a wonderful breakfast.
From there, it was off to Morocco Post #146 where Legionnaires met with the leadership of the Hoosier Legion Family.
After that, it was time to make the long-haul to East Chicago Post #369, which just so happens to be the home post of Department Commander, Marty Dzieglowicz.
Next stop is at South Haven Post 502.
To close out a perfect day, the group pulled into the Osceola Post #308.
Off to bed we go. Day 2 of the Operation Snowball Express will kick off with a trip to Bristol Post #143. We will see you in the morning.
Tim Sproles - American Legion Dept. of Indiana
It’s a tradition that dates back to 1935. Each year, on Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12th, Legion Family members, and fellow veterans travel to Springfield, Illinois to honor one of our country’s greatest Presidents, Abraham Lincoln.
More than 30 Hoosier Legion Family members braved the winter weather this year and met up at the Department Headquarters to “convoy” to Springfield for the 84th Annual National American Legion Pilgrimage to the Tomb of Abraham Lincoln.
“The roads were kind of rough heading to Springfield,” said Department of Indiana Cmdr., Marty Dzieglowicz. “We had freezing rain and sleet leading up to the time we left headquarters, but we took it slow and made it here safe and sound. The Lincoln Pilgrimage is just one of those events you can’t miss.”
The weekend is filled with events to not only honor our 16th President but to also recognize Legionnaires for their hard work. Four Hoosier Legionnaires took home membership awards from the Department of Illinois’ Membership Challenge.
“We took the District Commander and Membership Chairman from the top two Districts after our membership card turn-in at the Department Mid-Winter Conference.”, said Department of Indiana Membership Chairman Ron Byrley.
Tenth District Department Cmdr., Laurie Bowman, and her Membership Chairman, Niles Gammon took home first place honors. Sixth District Commander, Richard Culp and his Membership Chairman, John Klepfer placed second.
Each of the winners received a commemorative Lincoln Pilgrimage Membership Challenge jacket from the Department of Illinois.
Byrley said, “All of our Legionnaires, from the blue-cappers to the district leaders have put in the hard work to make this a successful membership year. We still have work to do, but we are on the right track to meet both Department and National goals.”
On Monday morning, Legionnaires from 6 states met at Abraham Lincoln’s tomb located in Oak Ridge Cemetery for a special wreath-laying ceremony.
Special guests included The American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan, the Illinois Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard J. Hayes Jr., Sons of The American Legion National Commander Danny Smith, and Springfield, Ill. Mayor Jim Langfelder.
Cmdr. Rohan said, “There is yet another solemn legacy left by President Lincoln that means everything to The American Legion. It was the famous promise from his second inaugural address “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan.” It is a promise that The American Legion delivers every day.”
Cmdr. Dzieglowicz said, “Being able to come here to honor President Lincoln alongside our National leadership will always be a great honor to this department. This is just an outstanding event that highlights the hard work of the Department of Illinois. We look forward to this, and we will see you next year.”
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