Article by: Ken Pridemore, 7th District Commander
Greetings from the “Fighting 7th”. I am honored and excited to get started on my second year serving as the Commander of the 7th District. I met a lot of new people and learned more about the Legion this past year and hope to expand my knowledge further as I continue this year. I have learned from the Post Commander role that the first year is basically learning the duties and then you get to see the fruits of your labor and build upon them the following year. I hope that I have served well this past year and am very appreciative of the great bunch of guys and gals I have working with me and providing support.
First, I want to thank everyone for working so hard on membership this past year as this is an integral part of our mission, and without new members, we cannot continue to thrive. Now that they have expanded the dates for eligibility, we hope to see a good increase across the state as a whole for the coming years. I was proud of my District for coming in first place for membership this past year and made sure Past Commander Strong was reminded of our position during the year, nothing like a good competition among Districts!
Department Commander Allen Connelly’s project this year is The Indiana American Legion Legacy Foundation, which I will also be supporting as my project. This foundation is being established to carry on the programs that the Legion has funded for the last century. Membership dues have always been the primary source of funding for these; however, due to the decline in membership over the years, it was determined that another source of funding needed to be established. These programs include the Oratorical and Boys State as well as the Service Officers that assist our disabled veterans, and their family members receive the benefits they are due. Without ample funding, we could see these programs and services decrease or possibly cease due to financial inadequacy. The foundation will depend upon widespread public support and collecting funds through donations. This will also allow for the distribution of grants to organizations that conduct programs and activities for the foundation. The foundation is an innovative and forward-looking approach to making sure we continue to meet the needs of our veterans and their families as well as communities across Indiana into our second century.
Our Legion families continue to rise and work together in our communities. Without the support of the Ladies Auxiliary, SAL, and Legion Riders we would not be prominent in our communities, so make sure to include them in your posts and encourage them to participate in all programs. I look forward to working with our District Ladies Auxiliary President Luanne McDonald, our SAL Squadron Leader Gary Miller, and all of our ALR groups across the District.
Don’t forget our State is hosting the 101st National Convention in Indianapolis this year. There will be a lot of activity and options for everyone, so make sure to come down and participate August 23rd – 29th. It is also the Ladies Auxiliary 100th National Convention. It should be one for the record books, and we hope to see record-breaking participation!
This year will also be exciting to return to visit the Posts in my District to see what programs they are working on and how they continue to grow. I look forward also to seeing all of our out of state Legion family at National Convention and hearing about what new ideas and programs the Legion have planned for our year.
Together, we change lives for Veterans, their families and their communities.
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