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  • Sunday, January 22, 2023

    Dept. Puts Focus on Suicide Prevention; Awards $115,000 to Groups

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    Department Commander David R. Riley Sr. announces effort to stem veteran suicides and homelessness. At right is Department Adjutant James W. Casey.

    ALBANY — Committed to reducing veteran suicide and homelessness, the New York State American Legion is awarding two grants totaling $115,000 to organizations helping veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or who are at risk of homelessness. American Legion Department of New York Commander David R. Riley Sr. announced the awards Jan. 21 during the Legion’s Mid-Winter Conference in Albany.

    He also announced that the American Legion was bringing its “Be the One” suicide-prevention campaign to Legion Posts across the state. “If each Legion member is able to ‘be the one’ to reach out and help one veteran suffering from depression or other signs of post-traumatic stress, we’ll have a dramatic impact on the number of veterans taking their own lives,” Riley noted. He said the Legion wants to train members how to spot and talk to veterans exhibiting signs of PTSD.

    Last July the American Legion Department of New York unveiled a $1.5 million fund for grants to address veteran suicide and homelessness. The latest grants are:

    — $100,000 to the EquiCenter in Honeoye Falls, NY, to provide equine-assisted therapies for veterans.

    — $15,000 to the Western New York Veterans Housing Coalition in Buffalo to help outfit apartments for veterans.

    read more »

  • Saturday, January 21, 2023

    Winter Issue of ‘Legion New York’ Available

    The winter 2023 issue of Legion New York Magazine was unveiled at the Mid-Winter Conference, held Jan. 20-22 in Albany at the Crowne Plaza – the Desmond Hotel.

    1Cover LegionNY Winter2023 300pxIn this issue:

    — the national commander’s visit to the eastern half of New York.

    — an essay on the power of National Legion College by Janice Gravely.

    — Babylon Post offering mind-body healing through yoga.

    — ‘System Worth Saving’ town hall in Bronx.

    — Holiday donations and meals offered by several posts.

    — Long Island pipe band to perform at D-Day.

    — Bethlehem highway named after legionnaire.

    — Teddy Bear drive by Legion Riders.

    — Honoring vets at nursing homes.

    — Department vice commander is grand marshal.

    — Legion at WNY Heroes Gala.

    — Lee Legion at monument dedication.

    — Post 737 dedicates anchor to Navy vets.

    — Carthage Post provides grave marker for Viet vet.

    — Senator honors Armonk Post.

    — Photos of NY City Veterans Day Parade.

  • Friday, December 09, 2022

    Mid-Winter Session Focuses on Female Vet Resources, Empowerment

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    ALBANY — The Mid-Winter Conference is introducing a new Department of New York committee called ALIVE. The presenter is Janice Gravely. The session begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, in High Street Meeting Room 28 at the Crowne Plaza-Desmond.

    Formerly known as WINAL, the committee aims to:

    — empower female veterans with knowledge and resources to navigate within their organizations to positively influence change.

    — serve as a safe place, resource, and champion for women (and men) who have experienced sexual harassment and assault (Ombudsman Resolution).

    read more »

  • Thursday, December 08, 2022

    Mid-Winter Conference Agenda Now Available

    The schedule for the Mid-Winter Conference is now available, along with information on hotel accommodations and the conference banquet. See the Conference Page.

  • Thursday, November 10, 2022

    Not for the Faint of Heart

    Veterans Day Message from David R. Riley Sr., Department Commander

    David RileyVeterans Day is about honoring all of the men and women who served in the U.S. military.

    Many serve their communities as first responders, teachers, health care workers or church leaders. Some are business owners, farmers, company workers or retirees. But they are bound by one common commitment – to defend America with their life if called upon.

    Military service is not for the faint of heart. Most civilian jobs do not require risk to life or limb. Too often, however, the risk doesn’t end when servicemembers take off the uniform to become civilians again. Transitional challenges, the stress of military life and feelings of isolation all factor into a suicide rate among veterans that is more than 50 percent higher than that of nonveteran adults.

    The stigma of seeking help needs to end. Veterans value courage and it takes courage to ask for help. We must be pro-active. Ask and encourage veterans to seek help before they pass a point of no return. The bonds that we formed in the military are unlike any other. A good American Legion post fosters an environment that helps continue such bonds and create new ones.

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    (U.S. Army National Guard illustration by Spc. Rose Di Trolio)

    Very few of us are trained counselors or mental health professionals. But we are capable of listening, referring and following up. The national crisis line still works, but now there is an even shorter number. It is 9-8-8, extension 1 for veteran. Most kindergartners know what 9-1-1 is for. It’s up to us to ensure that 9-8-8 becomes just as widely known. By calling 9-8-8 now, we can prevent a 9-1-1 call later.

    The American Legion also has a Be the One website for suicide prevention.  WWW.BetheOne.org. Learn from it. Spread the word about it.

    Homelessness is another tragic outcome that is too often connected to military service. It is estimated that America has 60,000 veterans who are homeless. Though veterans comprise approximately 7 percent of the U.S. population, they are 11 percent of our nation’s homeless.

    The best way to prevent a veteran from becoming homeless is to hire one. It’s not only good policy but it’s smart business for an employer who values skill, discipline and patriotism.

    When politicians lament the cost of a veterans program, it is up to us to remind them of the cost of being a veteran. Whether it’s exposure to burn pits or other toxin, many veterans today continue to pay a high price for their military service. We need to ensure access to high quality health care and benefits reflecting the thanks of a great nation.

    One hundred and four years ago, on November 11, 1918, the guns of the world fell silent. An armistice was signed and the Great War was over. Unfortunately, World War I was not the “war to end all wars,” as many had hoped.

    While we rejoice and honor the service of America’s veterans, we also remember the wise words of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

    “The soldier above all other people prays for peace.”

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022

    Check out the latest issue of Legion New York Magazine

    The autumn 2022 issue of Legion New York spotlights the American Legion’s push to combat veteran suicide and homeless. This issue also features:

    • the 104th Department Convention (awards, messages, funding to fight suicide & homelessness, and photos).
    • baseball champions and scholarships.
    • how Commander Riley promotes drive-by membership.
    • Post 861 saves a vet’s Purple Heart and gives it to his daughter.
    • Phoenix Post hosts car show.
    • Penn Yan Post supports history center mission.
    • Norfolk Riders raise funds to help vets exposed to toxins.
    • Central Square Riders donate to T2T.
    • bridge named after deceased Manhasset legionnaire.
    • Rye Post donates $15,000 to support vets at VA facility.
    • Fredonia legionnaires help honor War of 1812 vet.
    • some news from Canada legionnaires.
    • legionnaires inducted into NY Senate Hall of Fame.

    Autumn 2022