Article by: J. David Burnette Jr., 5th District Commander
Hello to all of my legion family, I am honored to serve you as your District Commander for a second year. I met a lot of people and made several new friends over the last year. I am looking forward to having another great year.
Every post in the District should be using mylegion.org to submit their membership; I am willing to help anyone get set-up and teach them how to use it. It’s simple and easy to use, and a valuable tool which allows you to know who paid online quicker and will aid in finding National members near your post. We need to get them in our State, which helps veterans in Indiana have a stronger and louder voice in our State government to help get better aid to our Indiana veterans.
The Legion Act passing in both the House and Senate it’s just a matter of time before Trump signs it to law which opens membership eligibility from December 7, 1941, until now. Combining our new years' membership goals and the Legion Act every post, squadron, and unit in the District could have a record-setting year with everyone being 100% by the end of the legion year.
The District has a vendor recruiting booth for any post in the District to use for free, it attracts attention, with program information, and an excellent way to promote the passing of the Legion Act, letting the veterans the were unable to join they are now eligible. Please contact Membership Chairman John Hawkins for availability.
5th District Golf Scramble September 14th at Arbor Trace Golf Club, 2500 E 550 N, Marion, IN 46952 8 am. This is the District's biggest fundraiser; all entities are welcome to sponsor and play. I am challenging all post in the district to sponsor a hole for $100 and send a team $200, includes a meal, skins game extra $20/team. Look for fliers or contact Richie King Sr, or myself for registration forms, must be registered by September 8th.
A reminder of the primary role of a District Officers is to provide a line of communication between Post and Department, providing new information and changes, and taking post feedback to the Department. We are also here to help you. We need to continue to support each other to make the American Legion stronger.
Thank you for all you do!
Article by: Gary Parker, 4th District Commander
Greetings to the Fourth District! This being my introduction article as your District Commander, I thought I would tell you a little about myself. I was born and raised in Ft. Wayne. I graduated from North Side High School in 1964. After school, I started to work for Zollner Pistons Corp. in Ft. Wayne. In late 1965 I joined the Naval Reserve Unit in Ft. Wayne. I was ordered to active duty in March 1967 and stationed aboard the U.S.S. Dubuque (LPD8). During my active duty service aboard the Dubuque, we made one tour eight months in the war zone of Vietnam. After my time in the navy, I returned home and married my wife Barbara in April 1969.
We have two children and seven grandchildren. I joined the legion in 1979 and have served post, district, and state positions. The highlight being elected Department Sergeant at Arms in 2009-10. In 2011 I decided to become a Fourth District officer and has held most of the offices in the district, this year elected Commander. I would like to wish newly elected Department Commander Connelly and new and re-elected state, district, and post officers a prosperous and fruitful year. If we all work together for the same goals, we will do great things. I want to thank the Fourth District delegates for electing me District Commander.
I would also like to all the past District Commanders for their guidance and support thru the years. The fourth district this year will be working on legion programs training to help veterans with V.A. benefits and legion traditions. I will promote all the post to do a Four Chaplain's program at their post this year. We will be working hard on membership to renew all present members and talking to area vets about the benefits of being a legion member.
God bless the USA
During flu season, protecting your health with a flu shot is easier than ever — and as close as your local VA or neighborhood Walgreens! VA and Walgreens care about your health and are partnering to offer enrolled Veteran patients easy access to flu shots.
VA and Walgreens are national partners, providing no-cost quadrivalent flu shots to enrolled Veterans of the VA health care system. During the program, which runs from August 15, 2019 through March 31, 2020, enrolled Veteran patients nationwide have the option of getting their flu shot at any of Walgreens’ 9,600 locations in addition to their local VA health care facilities. No appointment is required; simply go to any Walgreens, tell the pharmacist you receive care at a VA facility, and show your Veterans Health Identification Card and another form of photo ID.*
Your immunization record will be updated electronically in your VA electronic health record. Walgreens has the capability to electronically send vaccination information to the VA electronic health record. The VA-Walgreens national partnership is part of VA’s eHealth Exchange project. This national program ensured that many Veterans got their no-cost flu shot at their local Walgreens, satisfying their wellness reminder because they either found it more convenient or did not have a scheduled appointment at a local VA health care facility.
Other Options for Immunization
VA now offers expanded access to preventive health care by giving more options for your annual flu shot. You choose! No-cost flu shots are available at your VA health care facility or neighborhood Walgreens! Your VA medical record will be updated either way.
VA Health Care Facilities
You may receive a no-cost flu shot during any scheduled VA appointment, if you are admitted to one of our VA health care facilities, or at one of the convenient walk-in flu stations. For more information on locations and hours contact your local VA health care facility.
Other Non-VA Providers and Pharmacies
Many local retail pharmacies offer flu shots that may be covered by private insurance or programs such as Medicare. There may be a charge for your flu shot at these locations. If you do not have insurance, there will usually be a charge.
Click here for more information.
Article by: Rob Kelley, 3rd District Commander
Greetings from the 3rd District and myself. First, a short introduction: My name is Robert L. Kelley, but everyone calls me Rob. I am a 15-year US Navy veteran. I’m married to a wonderful woman named Charlotte, who is a 12-year US Navy veteran. We met while we were on active duty in, get this, Bermuda. Her first duty station after boot camp and I transferred there after two seasons with Operation Deep Freeze (Antarctica). We have four children (Bob, Robyn, Jennifer, and Shirley) and three grandchildren (Michael, James, and Jocelyn).
My predecessor, Wayne Zeman, said that one of the greatest joys that he found as a District Commander was handing out the 100% packages. I couldn’t agree more. As the District Membership Chairman, I have passed out my share of those packages and the faces of the Posts that haven’t hit 100% in a long time are priceless. I would also like to thank Wayne for taking on the role of Membership Chairman for the upcoming year, with his assistance and guidance, I feel we have a reliable team along with a dedicated group of District Vice Commanders.
In the upcoming year, I would like to hand out more 100% packages than ever before. With the team I have assembled, I think we can do it. I want to thank Wayne Zeman for stepping up and taking the Membership Chair for the upcoming year and the rest of my Officers for doing the best job they can do.
For any Posts in the District, if you are unsure on any procedure having to do with membership, please feel free to contact either me or Wayne Zeman, and we can work out a time for some one-on-one training.
I look forward to working with Commander Alan and the rest of the Department staff and my fellow District Commanders.
The last time The American Legion’s centennial float rode through the streets of Indianapolis, it did so as the recipient of the IPL Indy 500 Festival Parade’s Grand Marshal’s Award for Most Creative Concept and Execution.
Three months later, on Aug. 25, the float again traversed downtown Indianapolis, this time near the front of the 2019 National Convention parade. Along with American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad and other Legion Family dignitaries, it also carried three very special guests.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Maxfield, Sgt. Chris Leverkuhn and Sgt. Chris Henderson – all medically retired after suffering injuries while either in training operations or combat – were guests of The American Legion over the weekend as part of the Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors program.
The trio, who served together in the 209th Quartermaster Company out of Lafayette, Ind., were able to do some sightseeing, hit area restaurants and even attend the Aug. 24 Indianapolis Colts game – witnessing quarterback Andrew Luck walk off the field as a member of the Colts for the final time in the process.
The weekend “was pretty cool,” said Maxfield, who was medically discharged in 2017 after suffering injuries to his legs, head and neck during a nighttime training operation. “It was really relaxing.”
Henderson, injured by an IED and awarded a Purple Heart while serving in Iraq in 2004, said, “Everyone we’ve met has been really nice.” And Leverkuhn, who was injured during the same IED blast and wound up with a below-knee amputation, said, “It’s the first time a few of us have been together in a while.”
The trio had another dinner planned after the parade and were going to visit the grave of a fallen comrade before heading back home. Maxfield said the weekend showed the benefit of Operation Comfort Warriors.
“I think more people need to know about it,” Maxfield said. “It’s a really good operation. I think it needs to be more recognized."
The OCW recipients – along with the rest of the parade participants and the large crowd lining Pennsylvania, New York and Meridian Streets – benefitted from unseasonably cool temperatures that hit the high 70s and carried very little of the high humidity typical for this time of year in Indiana.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles served as grand marshal, while immediate Past National Commander Denise Rohan was honorary grand marshal. More than 90 units took part in the parade, including American Legion Riders, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Motorcycle Drill Team, and the 38th Infantry Division Band, the Ceremonial Unit Mounted Color Guard, bands and delegations from American Legion Family departments.
The Department of Alabama led off the procession of contiguous Legion departments after finishing No. 1 in membership, which was a source of pride for Alabama National Executive Committeeman Willis Frazier.
““It shows that our members are very dedicated to increasing our membership,” said Frazier, who announced his delegation and joined it on the parade route. “They did a great job. Everybody pitched in. It was a team effort. We’ve got people who just want to be in the Legion.”
The reception the parade got from Indianapolis-area residents also moved Frazier. “It lets us know that we’ve got some very patriotic people in Indianapolis and the great state of Indiana,” he said. “It makes us proud to know that they still care about the service we gave to this great nation.”
Following the parade Legion Family members were able to attend a post-parade party hosted by The American Legion Department of Indiana on the American Legion Mall. The party included food, beverages and live music.
Hoosier Legion Family marches in National Convention Parade
Article by: Mark Gourley, 2nd District Commander
I am honored that the members of the Second District have chosen to stand beside me as we step fully into our second century of service.
Just as our Democracy remains strong through the regular change in government leadership, so too does the start of each new membership year strengthen The American Legion by bringing new members into the fold and providing them with opportunities to lead. The Legion, at every level, must reach out to new veterans and offer them a place to develop practices built on the leadership skills instilled in them by their military service.
Our members are the lifeblood of our organization, and our Posts are the beating heart through which our membership flows. The strength of our Posts is dependent on fostering the balance between their independence and maintaining the standards necessary to be a part of The American Legion.
A century ago, the veterans who came before us saw a need among themselves. They organized most of the Post we have in the Department today. We now have an organization larger than any other of its kind. We provide more services and programs to both our fellow veterans and our communities. The challenge before us this year is to ensure every Post is fully engaged, executing as many of our programs as possible in their communities. If we run our programs to their fullest, membership will follow.
While the demographics of our nation’s veteran population has changed tremendously in the hundred years since the Legion was founded, the need for proper care, treatment, and respect remains the same. I look forward to working with the greatest service organization in the country to make sure the need of our fellow veterans and the entire Legion Family are met.
BY KAYLA SULLIVAN - FOX 59, Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The American Legion’s National Convention in Indianapolis continues through the weekend, though Wednesday was the main event.
Vice President Mike Pence addressed more than a thousand members in downtown Indy.
Pence brought greetings from President Donald Trump and said their administration supports the American Legion.
Allen Connelly, the department commander of the American Legion of Indiana, said Pence told them what they wanted to hear.
Commander Chuck Aggliaro with the Beech Grove post said he thought Pence gave an excellent speech.
“I’m very happy with all the results with the VA, especially the hospital,” said Aggliaro. “I go there myself and now have daily appointments, which we never had before.”
Pence said trust in the VA among veterans is 88% and rising.
“We’ve fired more than 7,000 VA employees for negligent behavior. The era of abuse at the VA is over!” said Pence.
John Crosby, department adjutant for the American Legion Department of Indiana, said that part of Pence’s speech hit home.
“And something that he said was that the benefits that we receive are compensation not entitlement,” said Crosby.
Vice President Pence added, “Wait times have dropped more than 33%. In fact, the AMA says that wait times are now shorter for the VA than they are for private doctors.”
“I would absolutely agree,” said Crosby. “In fact, I just got released from Roudebush VA last Tuesday. I had become ill.”
Pence said unemployment among veterans has dropped to its lowest level in nearly 20 years. He also pointed out budget increases for the military.
“President Trump has actually signed into law the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan, and this month, we signed a budget deal that secured $738 billion for our military,” said Pence.
VP Pence said he and the president will continue fighting for the rights that these military men and women fought to defend.
“I think that anybody that listened to the speech will realize that this administration does support the veterans and the veterans community and military,” said Connelly.
We reached out to Indiana Democrat’s for response on Pence’s speech.
Democratic Party Chair John Zody said, “Hoosier Democrats are working to ensure every veteran and their families have access to quality care and can get ahead.”
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Article by: Dan Mills, 1st District Commander
Greetings from the 1st District and welcome to the dog days of Summer.
Before I get too far into this article, I would like to Honor one of our Riders from Post 17 who lost his life while returning home from the last Rolling Thunder ride to Washington DC. Greg Paz was an exceptional legion member. He will be missed.
There is a lot of good news coming down the pipeline. The inclusion of the blue water Navy for the treatment from exposure of agent orange and the elimination of date requirements for legion membership.
The 1st District had 25 Delegates who attended the American Legion Hoosier Boys State program at Trine University in Angola, Indiana. A week-long program to help shape young men to become future leaders, and the understanding of how our government works. This year the 1st District had two young men who stood out amongst the rest. George Dimopolous and Kathir Venkat, both were Juniors from Munster High school. Kathir was elected as Lieutenant Governor of Boys State, and George was voted as the Outstanding Citizen of Hoosier Boys State. George went on to Boys Nation held in Washington DC. Congratulations to both of these young men for their outstanding achievements. Thanks go to John Sarnecki Sr. the committee chairman for his hard work in making this program such a success.
This year American Legion Eagle Scout of the year was awarded to Kenny Stone from the 1st District sponsored by Post 369. Congratulation to Kenny for his hard work. Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is no small task.
From Post 100 the teacher of the year was awarded to James Wiltshire a Notre Dame graduate and a retired Navy Captain. Good work Post 100 for getting out there and finding a teacher such as Mr. Wiltshire, not only is he a well respected teacher. But he’s a veteran.
I’m looking forward to working with Commander Connelly and his staff in the upcoming year.
We will be headed out to Indianapolis in a few days to attend the National membership workshop. Aug 8th, 9th and 10. Then comes the National Convention Aug 24th thru the 29th. It looks like it’s going to be a busy month.
I hope I can keep up the good works of our past District Commanders and make this a great year.
Thank you for your support. God Bless you, and God Bless the American Legion!
The American Legion
The 101st National Convention of The American Legion in Indianapolis gets underway Friday, Aug. 23, with community activities, meetings, workshops, training sessions, distinguished guests, speakers and more, and concludes Aug. 29 with the election of a new national commander.
For a schedule of events, tour opportunities and more visit:
A few activities held during convention include:
•American Legion community service project – Friday, Aug. 23
• Color Guard contests – Friday, Aug. 23
• Band contests – Saturday, Aug. 24
• Legion Family Night with the Colts – Saturday, Aug. 24
• Legion Family Night at Victory Field where Indianapolis Indians take on the Louisville Bats – Saturday, Aug. 24 (National Commander Brett Reistad will throw out the first pitch)
• National convention parade – Sunday, Aug. 25
• Centennial Film Festival – Monday, Aug. 26
• Legion Family Night with WNBA Fever Basketball at Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Tuesday, Aug. 27
The following workshops and conferences will be held in conjunction with the convention:
•Indianapolis Military Hiring Fair – Thursday, Aug. 22
•Subject Matter Expert Training – Saturday, Aug. 24, and Monday, Aug. 26
•Digital Media Training Workshop – Monday, Aug. 26
•National Credentialing Summit – Wednesday, Aug. 28 and Thursday, Aug. 29
Other convention news:
• The U.S. Mint will be selling American Legion centennial coins in the Exhibit Hall at the Indiana Convention Center.
• The American Legion’s traveling GI Bill exhibit is on display in the rotunda at the Indiana State Capitol, 200 W. Washington Street.
• A naturalization ceremony and voter registration will be conducted with 100 new citizens – Tuesday, Aug. 27
• Several national convention events, including all three days on the convention floor, will be streamed live. Click here to see the complete schedule and how to watch.
Stay updated with what’s happening at The American Legion’s biggest annual gathering by following online at www.legion.org, on Facebook and on Twitter.
The Legion’s National Convention mobile app is also available for download, free of charge, from the Apple Store or Google Play. Click here to access it. The app includes maps, information from meeting times to registration and shuttle hours, social media links, a guide to Indianapolis and more. It will continue to be updated with information, headlines and alerts throughout the convention. If you still have last year’s app on your phone, you can simply update it for 2019.
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