Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,
Traditionally this has been a week when Americans pause to give thanks, share blessings and celebrate Thanksgiving. Things will certainly be different this tumultuous year for many families.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken more than 250,000 Americans from their loved ones, sickened countless others and limited our interactions with family and friends. This year has also seen its share of political vitriol, racial tensions, rampaging hurricanes and even murder hornets.
Still, I count my blessings.
I am thankful for the entire American Legion Family. I have been inspired daily by the selfless actions of Legionnaires, Sons of The American Legion members, American Legion Riders and Auxiliary members who have served their communities during these challenging times. American Legion Family members have rallied to provide food to those in need, organized special birthday recognition drive-bys for World War II veterans, launched blood donation drives in their communities and provided other services.
We have chronicled hundreds of stories on legion.org that demonstrate how American Legion posts have served communities, states and nation during the pandemic. Right now, we are assembling those inspiring stories into a book. Stay tuned for more details.
I also am thankful for our brave men and women who are protecting us at home and abroad. Many of our troops will not be able to see their families at Thanksgiving. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, especially at this holiday time.
Additionally, I am thankful for every veteran who has served our nation with honor. As deeply troubling as 2020 has been, our democracy is strong. Our nation has withstood challenges before and we will come out of this challenging year even stronger than when it began.
Most of all when I consider what I am grateful for this week, I will think of The American Legion. I am honored to be your national commander. I am inspired by all the community service you have performed in the past year. And I am truly grateful for your friendship, dedication, patriotism and membership in the nation’s largest, most influential and greatest veterans service organization.
Stay safe, my friends and comrades. And have a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
For God and country,
James W. “Bill” Oxford
by: Amber Hankins
WISH-TV Indy Style
It’s a tough subject, but an important one at that, especially for veterans and their families.
Today on Indy Style, we talk with David Ring, Owner, Indiana Funeral Care, about the benefits available to veterans and how Indiana Funeral Care can help with honoring veterans with a proper service and the respect they deserve.
Veterans and Processing Benefits
We are so grateful to our Veterans for their unselfish service to our country. We are proud to offer Veterans options for cremation and burial services. Veterans are a special breed of people. Admired by all, they have shaped the country in which we live. True to their country as well as their families, we believe every veteran deserves to be remembered correctly. We are here to serve you just as you served our country.
• There are some misconceptions that the VA will take care of everything, and we can help walk you thru the process:
• Every honorably discharged veteran their spouse and dependent child qualifies for a free cemetery space, opening and closing of the grave, headstone at any national cemetery in the country.
• Funeral benefits for families of veterans who passed away in the VA hospital or were being cared for by the VA thru a nursing home or hospice.
• Veterans with service connected disabilities and pensions also qualify for benefits.
• Indiana Funeral Care is the only funeral home in the state of Indiana that is endorsed by the American Legion Department of Indiana.
• Applications for these benefits can be complicated. That’s where we come in and can help lead you thru the benefit process with the benefit paid directly to you after the funeral.
For more information, visit IndianaFuneralCare.com.
The American Legion
Public health mandates in response to COVID-19 included stay-at-home orders and business closures. Those mandates financially impacted American Legion posts nationwide as member and community outreach efforts were limited, resulting in a loss of revenue.
To provide some relief during these challenging times, financial grants are now available for eligible American Legion posts.
Resolution No. 36, Mission Blue Post Assistance Program, will provide $1,000 grants to posts that are in good standing with their respective department. These funds must be used exclusively to pay current or past due rent, mortgage, utilities and insurance.
The American Legion National Executive Committee approved Resolution No. 36 Oct. 14, during its annual Fall Meetings. Funds for the approved grants will be provided through The American Legion National Emergency Fund (NEF).
Eligibility for a Mission Blue Post Assistance Program grant requires posts to have:
- A Consolidated Post Report on file.
- Filed an IRS 990 within the prescribed due date.
- Filed all other required forms and reports as prescribed by the department.
- Actively participated in one or more American Legion programs in the last 18 months.
- A financial need.
- A certificate of insurance naming The American Legion doing business as American Legion National Headquarters as an additional insured (See Resolution 35 memo below)
- Documentation indicating that the post is properly incorporated.
The Mission Blue Post Assistance Program grant application is available on the web at www.legion.org/coronavirus.
American Legion posts applying for a grant will be required to first submit the completed application to their respective department for approval before it can be sent to National Headquarters. This application procedure is the same as the NEF.
American Legion posts have until Dec. 31, 2021, to apply for an Mission Blue Post Assistance Program grant.
Resolution 35 memo
By Kevin Bartlett, National Judge Advocate
The American Legion national organization is the owner, protector and the organization that may grant the use of the names, emblems, trademarks and copyrights (Tradenames) of The American Legion. As owner and protector of the Tradenames, The American Legion utilizes a number of different protective insurance coverages. As owner, protector and grantor of the Tradenames, The American Legion, like all owners of trademarks or copyrights, is allowed to place restrictions upon the use of its Tradenames, including similar insurance requirements, reviewing Tradename usage prior to use, etc.
Resolution No. 35 places restrictions on the use of the Tradenames – namely that, if any organization would like to use the Tradenames of The American Legion and the Tradename-using organization has a situation whereby there is a need for liability insurance protection, then the Tradename-using organization will specify that The American Legion (and, if needed, the respective department of The American Legion) is held harmless and named as an additional insured on any and all insurance liability policies.
In other words, any organization using the Tradenames of The American Legion, and needing liability insurance coverage, is required to specify that The American Legion (and, if needed, the respective department of The American Legion) is held harmless and named as an additional insured on any and all insurance liability policies. This Tradename protection is a standard business practice and not viewed as a control of the insurance-purchasing organization.
This requirement brings up two Q&As for clarification.
Q: What is liability insurance?
A: Liability insurance is an insurance product that provides an insured party with protection against claims resulting from injuries and damage to other people or property. Liability insurance policies protect both the insured and third parties who may be injured as a result of the policyholder’s unintentional negligence and therefore the liability insurance covers legal costs and payouts for which an insured party is responsible, if the insured party is found legally liable. Liability insurance policies pay these damaged parties and not the policyholders.
The different types of liability insurance include directors and officers insurance (D&O); commercial liability; general liability insurance; dram shop liability; special events insurance; employment practices liability (EPL); and criminal acts insurance.
Q: What is an additional insured?
A: An additional insured is a type of insurance status associated with liability insurance policies that provides coverage to another group that is not initially named in the liability policy. With an additional insured endorsement, the additional insured is then protected under the named insurer’s liability policy.
Therefore the Tradename-using group may obtain this additional insured endorsement coverage for The American Legion, and the respective department of The American Legion as needed, by simply calling their insurance agent and requesting the addition of The American Legion, and the respective department of The American Legion as needed, to their liability insurance coverage(s) as an additional insured endorsement. The majority of insurance agencies do not charge for this endorsement; therefore, if presented with an additional charge one should inquire why such additional fee.
Enforcement of this Tradename business requirement is also covered in Resolution No. 35. The American Legion’s national adjutant, or designee, has been given authority to independently investigate, confirm and determine that organizations using the Tradenames are also naming The American Legion, and respected department of The American Legion as needed, as additional insured on their respective liability insurance policies. Once a national adjutant’s designee is determined and authorized, this designee’s information will be made public.
The 37 resolutions from the Fall Meetings of the National Executive Committee are now available on the Digital Archive. archive.legion.org
The public comment window to comment on the proposed changes for burial at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia opened on September 15 and will be open until November 16. The 60-day comment period is the next step in the federal rule-making process. “We are asking our veterans, families, stakeholders and the public to review our website information, read the Federal Register and engage in this deliberate process,” said Charles “Ray” Alexander, cemetery superintendent. “All of us have a voice into the future of Arlington National Cemetery.”
Click below for more on the proposed eligibility criteria and the link to make a comment.
Keona Shearer was on dialysis and in need of a kidney transplant. WPTA-21 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana told the story of Keona last year.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA 21) – 14-year-old Keona Shearer, better known as Keke, isn’t like most teenagers. She has to do much more than homework and chores.
She copes with serious health problems, but her family is hopeful someone will take a chance on their daughter and they’re on a mission to find that someone.
Keke is on dialysis, it helps keep her alive. She’s been on it for nearly two years since her kidney failure.
Keke’s father, Justin Shearer, donated one of his kidneys to Keke when she was five, but that kidney is failing.
“To me, that someone would actually give up part of themselves so that I can have a better life, hang out with my friends, eat the foods I want. It would just mean a lot that they would go through a transplant and pain just for me,” said Keke.
Well, good news! The Indiana Legion received a note recently from Rick Lofgren, President & CEO of Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA). Lofgren said "Just a quick note about one of our Ft. Wayne kids who received her kidney transplant on Friday... Keke is one of the kids the Indiana Legion Fund here at COTA helped thanks to the incredible work by Dewey during his Commander’s project, as well as the work done by members of The American Legion Family in the Department. This has been a long and successful process with posts, units and squadrons still giving to help Hoosier kids well after Dewey’s formal project was complete!"
Keke's mother Jessica says "Our family can’t thank everyone who reached out and for all your thoughts and prayers. Not only from the last few days but from the many years of support that many of you have given and donated as she’s been on this journey most of her life. She is a strong young lady with a heart of gold and I believe she is going to be able to give so much some day, even more than she already has, to many people because of her experiences in her lifetime! Our appreciation pours out to you all from our close friends and family to people who barely know her, we love you and appreciate the support! Her road isn’t cleared yet but we are beyond thrilled of the outcome so far! Although we are rejoicing, I know there are the hearts of this donors family that are grieving tonight and our thoughts and prayers continue for this precious family for the loss of what we believe, was possibly Kekes age or younger. How do you thank someone for a gift like they have given Keke, and the many others lives this donor was able to help too! Please prayer for them and we hope someday soon we will be able to share our love and Keona’s life with them! Love, The Shearer family"
To keep with with Keke's progress, you can follow her father's Facebook page at:
BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) -- The American Legion Is a non-profit organization that was chartered by Congress in 1919. It was chartered as a patriotic veterans organization. The Legion focuses on service to veterans, service members, and communities.
This weekend in Brazil, Indiana The Legion Post 2 is celebrating 100 years with an open house.
They have several activities planned for Saturday.
The day will begin with an all you can eat breakfast. That starts at 10:30 a.m.
Next, there will be activities throughout the day. Finally, the night will conclude with live music and free food.
Judge Advocate for The Legion Randy Kaelber said, "Saturday's an open house day. You can come in and see what we're all about. If you're a veteran we'd love to talk with you and see if we can get you to be a member. "
Social distancing and mask guidelines will be followed.
Again, this special celebration will take place on Saturday, November 7th at The American Legion Post 2 in Brazil.
To learn more about everything planned for Saturday you can go to their website.
Click here for more information.
Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,
The American Legion’s Buddy Check program came along at the perfect time. A year before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on our lives, Legionnaires had already begun reaching out to older veterans in their communities to perform wellness checks.
That type of outreach became even more critical when social-distancing measures, quarantines and stay-at-home orders became the norm. American Legion members dutifully checked in on at-risk members in their communities.
Thanks to these ongoing efforts during the pandemic, Legionnaires have been delivering needed medicine, food and camaraderie to older veterans who are unable or unwilling to venture outside their homes.
This Veterans Day and the holiday season that follows will be different than in the past, of course. The number of coronavirus cases is soaring throughout the nation. Instead of spreading cheer during these normal times of celebrations, many Legion posts will be forced to limit the size of gatherings, continue to conduct virtual events or cancel them altogether.
We know the camaraderie that Legionnaires share — especially around Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas — is important to their well-being. Without those celebratory events this year, more veterans may sink into depression or contemplate suicidal thoughts.
That is why The American Legion has developed a special enhanced Buddy Check kit focusing on the well-being of veterans during this time. We are counting on all Legionnaires to be alert to the signs of depression and suicidality when they make these Buddy Check calls.
To assist Legionnaires, the new toolkit is available with information on how to make contact, engage in conversation about suicide and direct veterans to the appropriate services. Review and download the kit here.
If you talk with a veteran in need of urgent help, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press 1. Or text 838255. More information is available at the Veterans Crisis Line website.
Join me in reaching out to veterans in your community. It’s quite likely that these check-ins will save the lives of veterans.
For God and country,
James W. “Bill” Oxford
Together, we change lives for Veterans, their families and their communities.
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