Monday, January 11, 2016
Legion Reaches Out to Veterans Across New York State
ALBANY – The New York State American Legion has a New Year’s resolution to give more military veterans what it calls “the Legion advantage,” State Commander James V. Yermas announced.
“We’re reaching out in a new marketing effort using both traditional and new media.”
Veterans can “check us out at JoinNYLegion.com” and also get a chance to win a family cruise, “thanks to the Legion, AAA and Celebrity Cruises,” he said.
American Legion Posts have a significant impact on local communities in the state through their youth, family and community service programs, Yermas noted, and with 2.4 million members nationwide, “we are a powerful voice for veterans in Washington, D.C.”
Founded in 1919 at the end of World War I, the American Legion, among other things, drafted the original G.I. Bill that has been renewed and updated for each new wave of veterans, he said.
In New York State, there are 113,000 Legionnaires whose military service ranges from World War II to the current war on terrorism. This past year, Yermas said, New York’s 892 Legion Posts:
— spent over $1 million on children and youth activities and racked up over 64,000 volunteer hours.
— spent a total of $1.374 million on Americanism programs (Boys State, oratorical contests, junior shooting sports, bowling, Scouting, Legion Baseball), with 128,869 volunteer hours valued at $3.65 million.
— awarded 603 local scholarships totaling $346,490.
“We’re asking men and women veterans, including those still serving in the Armed Forces, to become part of the American Legion,” Yermas said. “Simply put, in numbers there is power – not only in our continual fight for benefits for veterans, but also in the impact that our national security, community service, family and youth programs have.”
No one understands wartime veterans better than fellow veterans, he noted. “That’s what the American Legion is here for.” The Legion, among other things, provides advocacy and assistance in financial, educational and healthcare benefits; national and local newsletters keeping veterans informed; financial grants to Legion families displaced by disaster; comfort items and equipment to wounded warriors; full scholarships to children of fallen warriors.