Thursday, February 25, 2010


Four days remain for OCW voting

  The American Legion is calling on fellow Americans to spend a few moments every day between now and Feb. 28 to help our wounded service men and women.

The Legion's Operation Comfort Warriors is competing for a $250,000 grant to be awarded by Pepsi Cola, Inc, as part of its Refresh Everything campaign. There are 729 charities competing for grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 which are determined by the number of votes received at Pepsi's Refresh Everything Web site. Operation Comfort Warriors is currently in second place. The two charities with the most votes in the $250,000 category will receive the grants.

Visitors can cast their votes every day between now and Feb. 28 by clicking here.

Since December 2008, The American Legion family has raised funds for Operation Comfort Warriors, a program dedicated to meeting the needs of wounded military personnel, providing them with comfort items not usually supplied by the government. OCW ensures that patients at U.S. military hospitals and warrior transition units are given items like sweat suits, DVDs, puzzles, electronic devices, books, calling cards and more. All overhead and administrative costs for the program are paid by The American Legion, meaning 100 percent of donated money goes directly to the troops.

Pepsi will announce the winners on March 1.



The following are members taken from local news media who have passed on since our last newsletter. Please send your deceased members information to me as well as the county chaplain for his reports.

1/22/2010: RICHARD F. RONCINSKE, 77, Korea??, Army??, member Fuller-Taylor Post 915, Central Square.

1/29/2010: VERONICA MORYL, 96, VIM (Life member) of Prior-Stock Auxiliary Unit 1552, Hannibal.

2/10/2010: Hon. WILLIAM T. “Bill” RUSSELL, 58, Vietnam Air Force vet, member Hastings-Gorski Post 1128, Williamstown.

2/10/2010: FLOYD H. SHATRAW, 81, member Sons of American Legion, Wm. S. Monaghan Squadron 268, Oswego.

2/10/2010: ROBERT ‘Bob’ L. STEPHENS, 62, Vietnam Army vet, member Wm. S. Monaghan Post 268, Oswego.

2/16/2010: KENNETH ‘Ken’ FAULTER, 79, Korea Navy vet, member Fuller-Taylor Post 915, Central Square.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010



Listen to video below: Michael Peterson performs.....


Capturing the attention of a younger generation raised on all things video has been the preoccupation of public relations and marketing firms ever since the NBC peacock started broadcasting television programs in "living color."

Today the Internet, iPods, DVD players and a plethora of electronic gadgets are all providing videos on practically every subject imaginable.

National Commander Clarence Hill has been advocating that all Legionnaires should engage these "emerging" media as effective tools to reach out to younger veterans and their families. The American Legion is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Now, a brand new video is available that targets the younger generation and offers a powerful new tool to tell The American Legion story in just under four minutes.

"A Pledge to Service" presents the Four Pillars of our organization in a fast-paced, highly charged production narrated by Ryan Gonzales, creative director for the Department of Florida and graduate of the 2009 American Legion National College. Four Legionnaires, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, assist. With an original music score, the video ends with a call to join us either through the Web site or at "your nearest American Legion post."

Produced by Public Relations Commission staff, the video is now posted on The American Legion Web site and will be available free in mid-March on a DVD by request to or by calling (317) 630-1253.

Since the video is an American Legion production and we own the copyright, all Legion posts are free to reproduce and distribute the video as appropriate. Some uses include posting on a post Web site for viewing on-demand; using it at membership booths running in a looped configuration; displaying it on a laptop or DVD player for individual membership recruiting presentations; marketing to cable and broadcast television stations; presenting it during public speaking opportunities to community and civic groups; and having local movie theaters run it as a public service piece before feature presentations.

"A Pledge to Service" will officially debut at the Washington Conference on March 2. Because the contents are not dated, the video has a long shelf life to offer unlimited marketing opportunities. Additionally, a series of four public service television spots are in production based on the "Pledge to Service" theme.

As with all public relations tools, your feedback is important. Share information on how your post is using the video so others might consider doing the same. Creativity is the rule.

The public relations commission urges all PR chairmen/officers to send your e-mail addresses to the office. In addition to receiving the latest press releases and advisories, a new PR "reflector" is being developed as an electronic forum for Legionnaires engaged in public relations to share ideas, ask advice and get the hottest PR tools off the press. Send your e-mail address to

Robert L. Morrill of the Dept. of New York is chairman of the National Public Relations Commission.

To post this video to your Web site or blog, follow these steps:

1. Click here to view the video on YouTube.

2. Copy the code from the "Embed" box found in the shaded window located in the upper right-hand column.

3. Paste the code into your Web site or blog to embed it.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Membership is a CONTACT SPORT, and there is only one way to Win, and that is to jump in with both feet and make a Difference!  There are many ways to increase your Membership, and listed below are just a few ideas for you to engage your membership team in a contact sport. JUST ASK!

Look for a Blue Star Banner in the windows of homes.

Contact the Veterans Affairs office in your area, and ask to display Legion Benefits and Applications on their display table.( They cannot give you the names of the Veterans, however they will more than likely display your flyers ).

Local tax records will list the Veterans with a  tax exemption, ask them!

Most Prisons Guards and law enforcement officers are Veterans.

DMS list by zip codes are available from Cassi at Department.  

If you sign up a new member, more than likely their friends are Veterans also, JUST ASK.

Your Post roster, has the list of delinquent members, share this with your membership team and make personal contacts to renew and reinstate those members.

Keep membership in the fore front of every members mind; at every District, County and Post meeting, set a time period aside to discuss the positive points of Membership. Show examples of how to acquire a new member, we have all been there!

Continue having membership workshops; the year is not over, on the contrary, our work is just beginning!

Work with your Auxiliary And SAL members to increase their membership, NUMBERS COUNT! And they will help you also, JUST ASK!

Our next Target Date is March 10th, please have all of your transmittals into Department by Monday March 8th!!!
Good Luck and God Bless
For the Good of the American Legion and our Membership, Always, W. Michael (Mick) Bowen DMC


The ANNUAL 5th DISTRICT AUXILIARY SPRING CONFERENCE will be held on Saturday, May 8, 2010 at Harold W. Townsend Post 1757, Sackets Harbor, NY. REGISTRATION starts at 8:30 a.m. MEETING at 10:00 a.m.

LUNCH will include ham, scalloped potatoes, vegetable, cabbage salad, applesauce, fresh rolls/butter, coffee and dessert. COST is just $10.00 including lunch and registration.

MAKE check payable to: “ALA 5th DISTRICT” and send BY APRIL 29, 2010 to: Anna Houghtaling, Harbor Heights B-ll, Sackets Harbor, NY 13685. Phone number is 315-646-2161.

Our 6 County Presidents will be speaking about what good things that are going on in their Counties. Our Chaplain will be holding a Memorial Service for our lost members.

The following members from your Unit should attend with expenses paid: Unit President; Vice Presidents, Membership Chairman; Children & Youth Chairman, Secretary, VA & R Chairman and Junior Advisor.

5th DISTRICT JUNIORS will also meet at Post 1757 with their lunch also costing $10.00.

Contact your local Unit for registration forms.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Just received word from Phoenix Auxiliary Unit 418 that Sheryl Lovell is in Crouse Hospital, room 5005, with acute diverticulitis and can have no visitors at this time. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.



Saturday, February 13, 2010


Fuller-Taylor American Legion Post 915 reports they have a member, Bob Lyons, in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse for brain surgery. He was operated on February 12th and seems to be doing well.

-- Reported by Mary K. Pelton, secretary-treasurer of the alumni association.

Keep this member in your prayers.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Injured veteran honored on talk show

Richard "Sunny" Farrand, California's Heroes to Hometowns
chairman, helped Julio "Alex" Guzman receive
a Sears charitable donation and 
an appearance on The Bonnie Hunt Show.

The American Legion's Heroes to Hometowns program was created to support severely injured servicemembers in their transition back to society. Often, arranging support can be as simple as picking up the phone and making a few phone calls.

This was exactly the case two days before Veterans Day on Nov. 9, when Phil Riley, director of the Legion's National Security division, received a phone call from another Legion employee who told him that The Bonnie Hunt Show was looking to provide support to a wounded warrior. The syndicated talk show, through sponsorship from Sears Holdings Corporation, was arranging a "Heroes at Home" special to air on Veterans Day, during which an impaired servicemember would receive a $15,000 gift card from Sears.

Riley didn't know anyone who could appear on the show on such short notice, but he did know an individual who could find someone. Riley phoned Richard "Sunny" Farrand, the Legion's Heroes to Hometowns chairman in California. 

Farrand, who had just finished delivering comfort items to wounded warriors at Balboa Military Hospital, promptly located Julio "Alex" Guzman, a Marine Corps lance corporal who had served two tours in Iraq.

Guzman, who was injured in the plot to capture Fallujah, was in a pinch. He had recently lost his job, his wife was pregnant, and he was attending college full time working toward a degree in human services. His combat-related injuries only complicated matters further, as he has traumatic brain injury and nerve damage in his right leg. He struggles with PTSD, as well.

That made Guzman the perfect candidate for Sears' charitable contribution.

"It was perfect timing because he just lost his job due to PTSD, and his wife was about to have a baby," Farrand said.

Farrand continues to support Guzman and work with him on dealing with PTSD. Guzman's wife delivered their son last December.

That same month, Guzman ate lunch with National Commander Clarence Hill at Legion Post 255 in National City, Calif. Guzman used the meeting to express his thanks to The American Legion.

"It was a nice surprise for both of them," Farrand said.


A better understanding of Memorial Day

DoD photo

On Nov. 19, 2009, Wal-Mart's senior manager of executive communications sent American Legion Post 378 in Gulf Breeze, Fla., a letter that caused applause from both Post 378 Legionnaires and veterans nationwide. Starting in 2010, Wal-Mart stores in the United States will discontinue the sale of fireworks until after Memorial Day.

"If Wal-Mart management wondered what the thunder was they heard last November, it was 25 million veterans in America applauding their decision to discontinue the sale of fireworks on Memorial Day," said Mike Esmond, Americanism chairman of Post 378. "Somehow, the true meaning of Memorial Day has gotten lost in all the backyard barbeques, beach parties and sales. It's a day to honor veterans' memories, not celebrate their deaths."

Esmond and his fellow Post members were not aware that Wal-Mart sold fireworks on Memorial Day until May of last year. This awareness motivated the Legionnaires to resume their letter-writing campaign with Wal-Mart, a campaign that started back in 2002 with local supermarket Winn-Dixie.

While shopping in Winn-Dixie prior to Memorial Day in 2002, Esmond saw a shocking display that brought tears to his eyes - signs that read "Celebrate!" were posted next to rows of fireworks for sale. The shock of fireworks being sold on a day devoted for honor and remembrance of fallen soldiers inspired Esmond and his fellow Legionnaires to write letters in order to get their voices heard. They wanted to voice their idea on how to change the way Americans view and respect the significant holiday.

Therefore, the CEO of Winn-Dixie received numerous letters urging him to stop selling fireworks on Memorial Day. The letters came pouring in from Post 378 members, along with other local post commanders and members from various veteran organizations - thanks to Esmond attending their meetings and gaining their support.

As a result of the Legionnaires' persistence, the CEO responded in February of 2003 with a letter to Post 378 that stated Winn-Dixie would discontinue selling fireworks on Memorial Day for that year only. The Legionnaires' voices were heard, but only for a brief time. "We had won the battle then, but we knew not the war," Esmond said. But 2009 marked a new year for winning the war with a new target - Wal-Mart.

Starting last May, Legionnaires sent Wal-Mart's upper management letters urging them to discontinue selling fireworks on a day American's should be "honoring the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect this great nation and not celebrating their death," Esmond said. In a span of seven months, more than 50 letters were sent, and for that reason, Wal-Mart relented, announcing in November that fireworks will no longer be sold in U.S. stores until after Memorial Day.

Moreover, the news of Wal-Mart's immeasurable decision spread quickly, as Esmond read the letter to those involved in the campaign. Everyone applauded with excitement, including Post 378 Commander Bud Freeman, who "felt a surge of patriotism like you feel during the national anthem." The letter also had a significant impact on Esmond.
"When I read it, I jumped up out of my chair with excitement, and then I sat down and cried," Esmond said. "I cried because I knew I was holding in my hands a letter that would make a difference in changing the mindset of a lot of Americans in the way they think about Memorial Day."

And because of Wal-Mart's decision, letters currently addressed to its management have a different tone to them.
"For six months I have gone around to posts asking them to write letters to condemn Wal-Mart for selling fireworks," Esmond said. "Now I'm going back around asking them to write letters complimenting Wal-Mart for discontinuing the sale of fireworks."

Esmond even wrote to President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain regarding Wal-Mart's way of showing appreciation for the service and sacrifice of U.S. military personnel and their families.

"The whole purpose of the letter-writing campaign is to change the attitude of American's viewpoint of Memorial Day," Esmond said. "Because if we don't teach our younger generation the proper respect for Memorial Day, then who will?"

In the meantime, the letter writing campaign presses on with Winn-Dixie, as Post 378 members continue to wait for a response that coincides with the one from Wal-Mart.

If you too would like to thank Wal-Mart, please address a letter to:

Robert Morlino
Sr. Manager, Executive Communications
Wal-Mart, Inc.
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716



 The new American Legion promotional video has been completed and will debut at the Washington  Conference.  Titled, “A Pledge to Service,” the 3:55 minute, fast-paced video features an original  music sound track, hosting by a recent National American Legion College graduate, and four Iraq- Afghanistan veterans highlighting the Four Pillars of The American Legion.  DVDs will be  available to those attending the conference and by request from the public relations office after the  conference at no cost to posts/districts and departments.  Television/cable public service spots will  be produced based on the theme of the video in the forthcoming weeks.

Legion remembers Lincoln’s promise

National Commander Clarence E. Hill delivers a radio address at President Lincoln's tomb 
in Springfield, Illinois, Friday morning. Photo by John Raughter

During a visit to the tomb of 16th President Abraham Lincoln on his birthday, American Legion National Commander Clarence E. Hill repeated a promise from the president’s second inaugural address.

“Two score and 14 years before our organization was founded, President Lincoln summed up the reason why The American Legion would one day be needed,” Hill said in a radio address he delivered at Lincoln’s final resting place. “’To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.’ These 17 words, taken from President Lincoln’s second inaugural address, have been adopted as a motto for the Department of Veterans Affairs. While nobody denies that the VA has its problems, it does provide excellent care. Moreover, The American Legion is proud of its advocacy of today’s veterans, and its work to ensure that the VA lives up to Lincoln’s solemn promise.”

Visits to the tomb by national commanders have become a tradition in the past, and this year marks the 76th annual American Legion Lincoln Day Pilgrimage. After Hill’s visit to the tomb, he continued the theme to hundreds of American Legion family members during a luncheon hosted by Springfield American Legion Post 32.

“With the times, we have expanded (Lincoln’s) commitment to also include caring for her who shall have borne the battle and for her widower and her orphan,” Hill said. “The demographic of the American veteran is changing. We now have a much more diverse veterans’ population than in past generations. This diversity includes a growing and significant number of women veterans who sacrifice no less than their male counterparts. In this war without a front, there are no safe areas. As such, women who historically were not severely wounded in great numbers during previous conflicts are now returning home with limbs missing, terrible burns or blindness.
“We advocate for a strong Department of Veterans Affairs that not only treats common war ailments such as post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and severe burns, but also addresses breast and cervical cancer, sexual trauma and maternity care,” Hill continued. “The American Legion family will be there for all of our veterans because that is what we do.”

Hill pointed to President Obama’s signing of a law last October, which enacted advance funding for VA appropriations, as an example of Legion advocacy that made a difference. “Now, the VA knows a year in advance what resources will be available so it can plan accordingly. Advance appropriations will go a long way toward minimizing compromises in the delivery of the high quality health care our veterans expect and deserve.”

Despite significant legislative successes, Hill stressed that The American Legion’s advocacy is still needed. He called the huge backlog of veterans waiting for VA compensation, “one aspect of President Lincoln’s promise that remains unfulfilled.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Military Times
Lowe’s Military Discount Now Year-Round
(10 FEB 10)

By Karen Jowers

Most members of the military community no longer will have to wait for a special holiday discount to buy shovels, paint, and other home improvement needs.

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s has expanded its 10 percent military discount to all day, everyday, for active-duty, National Guard and reserve, retiree and disabled service members, and their families, company officials announced Wednesday.

Those who want to receive the discount must present a valid military ID card.

All other military veterans will receive the 10 percent discount on the holiday weekends of Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day.

The discount is available on in-stock and special-order purchases of up to $5,000. It cannot be used on sales at, on previous sales, or on sales of services or gift cards.

“Lowe’s was founded on the heels of World War II by veterans Jim Lowe and Carl Buchan and has always been a supporter of the military,” said Larry D. Stone, Lowe’s president and chief operating officer, in a statement announcing the new policy.

“The year-round discount program is one way we are reaffirming our commitment to the thousands of men and women who are serving throughout the world, as well as their family members at home.”


Votes needed for Operation Comfort Warriors in Pepsi grant giveaway

With 17 days left in the Pepsi Refresh grant competition, The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors remains in the number 2 position.  Keeping this position, or better yet, moving once again into the number 1 position, is the goal for midnight, February 28.  On March 1, Pepsi will announce the top two winners of the $250,000 grants.

Competition is keen and growing by other charities vying in the competition.  It is imperative that every member of The American Legion family votes every day, both at the office and at home.  Spread the word to all family members, neighbors, friends, and local community groups who would like to see our wounded warriors get the comfort items they so richly deserve.

Go to The American Legion Web site – - and click on the “Vote Today” icon on the right, or access the site directly at:


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


U.S. soon to use device that sees through walls
By Sandra Jontz, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Wednesday, February 10, 2010

 Photo courtesy of TiaLinx, Inc.

A soldier shows how a new scanner can see motion of an individual behind a wall. The device is set to be fielded in Afghanistan this year.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be equipped sometime this year with hand-held devices that let them peer through concrete walls and scan for buried explosives and tunnels.

Called Eagle scanners, the book-sized instruments send out radio frequencies and measure the signals that bounce back, displaying an image on a screen of what is on the other side of the target, said Fred Mohamadi, chief executive officer of TiaLinx Inc., the California-based company that has developed the devices.

“The product is designed to detect motion behind a barrier, and that barrier could be a wall,” Mohamadi said. “The unit can be used to detect objects or a person or … scan the ground, like for a tunnel underground.”

The company so far has two versions: the portable Eagle 5P, and Eagle 5M, which can be mounted onto vehicles.

The scanners, being purchased through the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment program, will be fielded this year in Afghanistan through the Rapid Equipping Force, according to Army officials in the States and Afghanistan.

Details on how many will be used and when, and which troops can expect them, aren’t being provided. “We don’t comment on systems that are being fielded,” AEWE spokeswoman Brenda Donnell said.

The technology closely mirrors the ground-penetrating radar that troops in Afghanistan already are using to detect buried roadside bombs, Mohamadi said, but the Eagle scanners use a higher number of lower frequency radio signals, meaning the image they see is more detailed, and the scanners can detect motion.

Technology that would allow troops to scan through clothing for objects such as explosives or concealed weapons is being developed but could be fielded as early as next year, Mohamadi said.

The company had hoped to deploy the devices to help in search-and-rescue missions following the devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti.

“It would have gone a long way to helping identify if people were trapped under the buildings,” Mohamadi said. “But logistically, they [rescuers] were so overwhelmed, we just couldn’t make it happen.”

Monday, February 8, 2010



Just learned that Bill passed on on February 3rd. He was currently serving as Department of NY Vice Commander for the 5th & 6th Districts. Bill was a Korean veteran and was an active Legionnaire at Post 80, was past Broome County Commander, past 6th District Commander. He will be sorely missed by his Legion family as well as his own family.

Bill and his wife, Carolyn, founded the free Christmas Dinner in 1989, an annual event located at American Legion Post 80 that provided over 3000 meals in 2009, their 20th season of serving the community.


OCW Falls to #2 in Pepsi voting

After capturing the #1 spot in its bid to win a $250,000 grant in the Pepsi Refresh Project competition on Friday afternoon, The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors fell to #2 early today.

Pepsi Cola, Inc. is awarding $1.3 million each month to charities receiving the most votes on their Web site.  In the $250, 000 category, the top two charities receiving the most votes will both receive $250,000 and will be named March 1. It is essential that members of The American Legion family vote every day throughout the month of February. It is also important for supporters to spread the word to friends via social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other popular sites. E-mails and phone calls can also make a big difference.

Rules allow the public to vote each day per e-mail address during February.  The American Legion OCW page can be found at:  Or, it can be accessed via The American Legion national Web site at and clicking on the “Vote Daily” icon on the right side of the page.

Please vote every day and spread the word.


Pepsi Refresh Project - Good Luck!

Legion Family,

The American Legion family has raised more than $300,000 to purchase comfort items for U.S. troops recovering in hospitals and warrior transition units around the globe. Now we have the opportunity to nearly double what was raised. Pepsi Cola is offering a $250,000 grant to the top two charities (based on votes) as part of its  Pepsi Refresh project. There are 729 charities competing and as of Feb. 1, Operation Comfort Warriors is 21st  in votes.

All overhead and administrative costs for Operation Comfort Warriors is paid for by The American Legion, meaning 100 percent of donations go toward helping the troops. If OCW were to receive the Pepsi grant, that money would also go entirely to the troops. Please go to and vote.

Just as importantly, use your post and department newspapers, facebook pages, web sites, twitter and all other tools at your disposal to encourage others to vote for this great cause.

The refresheverything grant can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of our disabled troops.

If you have any questions about OCW, please feel free to call Communications Director John Raughter at (317)630-1350 of visit

Thank you for your support,
Dan Wheeler
National Adjutant

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Freedom Car prepares for ARCA race
By James V. Carroll | The American Legion - February 4, 2010
American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car driver Jerick Johnson and his ARCA series car outside the Team Johnson Motorsports garage in Mooresville, N.C. The car does not have its racing colors yet. 
Photo by James V. Carroll

Jerick Johnson, driver of The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car, and his Team Johnson Motorsports crew are in Florida this week preparing for the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway. The 80-lap race is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and will be televised live on SPEED.

The Daytona race is the first of 10 Automobile Racing Club of America contests in which Johnson is scheduled to compete during 2010. The step up in racing circuits follows a successful racing season that culminated in Johnson’s winning of the 2009 ASA Late Model Challenge Series Rookie of the Year trophy. He also finished ninth in total championship points for the 2009 season.

Competing in the ARCA circuit isn’t Johnson’s and Team Johnson Motorsports’ first experience with the steel-bodied, 3,400-pound ARCA race cars. Johnson drove two ARCA races in 2002 and five NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series races in 2007.

The ARCA series is considered by most in the racing business as the NASCAR “farm system.” Those teams that achieve success in ARCA many times move up to Nationwide or Sprint Cup competition.

In addition to a busy schedule at the track, Johnson and the 76 Freedom Car team will make a number of appearances at local American Legion posts while in Daytona, including:
 Edgewater, Fla., Post 285 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday
 Holly Hill, Fla., Post 120 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday

Johnson and the 76 Freedom Car team will also attend a Daytona 500 Party at Lady Lake, Fla., Legion Post 347 at 1 p.m. and a Super Bowl Party at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.The David Law Firm and the 76 Freedom Car team will host an invitation-only dinner for veterans service officers at The Villages, Fla., on Wednesday.

“We are confident that we can be very competitive here at Daytona,” Johnson said.

“We’ve learned a lot during ARCA and Busch races that we have run in the past. And more recently, we are very satisfied with tests we ran in our ARCA car at Daytona late last year.”
The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car race team is a program of The American Legion, for the purpose of raising awareness of the programs conducted by The American Legion across the country in support of veterans, our nation’s military  and their families. The racing program is also geared to attract the next generation of American Legion members.

The 76 Freedom Car is also an excellent sponsorship fit for The David Law Firm of The Woodlands, Texas. The firm has helped countless military veterans receive just compensation for mesothelioma and other lung cancers related to asbestos. The firm also provides related educational information in response to inquiries from all 50 states.

To learn more about American Legion Racing, go to For information on hosting an American Legion racing event, contact Team Johnson Motorsports at (704) 877-0151 or by e-mail at

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


April Is Children And Youth Month
What better way to show your support than to sponsor an event to
 benefit local sick and injured children?

 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals have joined with the Legion to
 provide CMN Balloon Icon kits to help raise money to benefit your local
 children's hospital.

 Each kit includes:
 200 6-inch generic balloons (CMN logo)                1 poster
 1 goal chart                                                                1 campaign smart sheet
 1 market contact sheet                                             1 Children's Miracle Network DVD
 1 DVD flyer with commander message                  1 Guidebook
 1 envelope with sticker

 The goal is simple:  Sell all 200 balloons and raise $200 to benefit ill
 and injured children from your community.

 How do I order a balloon campaign kit?

 To order go to and enter promotion code

Order a kit for your Legion. I did.   Thanks.
John Konkol Dept. C&Y Chairman.


An illustration of the four chaplains, Rabbi Alex Goode, Rev. George Fox,
Rev. Clark Poling and Father John Washington, who sacrificed their lives for
Soldiers during World War II Feb. 3, 1943. Courtesy Photo:


It was the evening of Feb. 2, 1943, and the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was crowded to capacity, carrying 902 service men, merchant seamen and civilian workers.

Once a luxury coastal liner, the 5,649-ton vessel had been converted into an Army transport ship. The Dorchester, one of three ships in the SG-19 convoy, was moving steadily across the icy waters from Newfoundland toward an American base in Greenland. SG-19 was escorted by Coast Guard Cutters Tampa, Escanaba and Comanche.

Hans J. Danielsen, the ship's captain, was concerned and cautious. Earlier the Tampa had detected a submarine with its sonar. Danielsen knew he was in dangerous waters even before he got the alarming information. German U-boats were constantly prowling these vital sea lanes, and several ships had already been blasted and sunk.

The Dorchester was now only 150 miles from its destination, but the captain ordered the men to sleep in their clothing and keep life jackets on. Many soldiers sleeping deep in the ship's hold disregarded the order because of the engine's heat. Others ignored it because the life jackets were uncomfortable.

On Feb. 3, at 12:55 a.m., a periscope broke the chilly Atlantic waters. Through the cross hairs, an officer aboard the German submarine U-223 spotted the Dorchester.
The U-223 approached the convoy on the surface, and after identifying and targeting the ship, he gave orders to fire the torpedoes, a fan of three were fired. The one that hit was decisive--and deadly--striking the starboard side, amid ship, far below the water line.

Tragically, the hit had knocked out power and radio contact with the three escort ships. The CGC Comanche, however, saw the flash of the explosion. It responded and then rescued 97 survivors. The CGC Escanaba circled the Dorchester, rescuing an additional 132 survivors. The third cutter, CGC Tampa, continued on, escorting the remaining two ships
Aboard the Dorchester, panic and chaos had set in. The blast had killed scores of men, and many more were seriously wounded. Others, stunned by the explosion were groping in the darkness. Those sleeping without clothing rushed topside where they were confronted first by a blast of icy Arctic air and then by the knowledge that death awaited.

Men jumped from the ship into lifeboats, over-crowding them to the point of capsizing, according to eyewitnesses. Other rafts, tossed into the Atlantic, drifted away before soldiers could get in them.

Through the pandemonium, according to those present, four Army chaplains brought hope in despair and light in darkness. Those chaplains were Lt. George L. Fox, Methodist; Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Jewish; Lt. John P. Washington, Roman Catholic; and Lt. Clark V. Poling, Dutch Reformed.

Quickly and quietly, the four chaplains spread out among the soldiers. There they tried to calm the frightened, tend the wounded and guide the disoriented toward safety.

"Witnesses of that terrible night remember hearing the four men offer prayers for the dying and encouragement for those who would live," says Wyatt R. Fox, son of Reverend Fox.

One witness, Private William B. Bednar, found himself floating in oil-smeared water surrounded by dead bodies and debris. "I could hear men crying, pleading, praying," Bednar recalls. "I could also hear the chaplains preaching courage. Their voices were the only thing that kept me going."

Another sailor, Petty Officer John J. Mahoney, tried to reenter his cabin but Rabbi Goode stopped him. Mahoney, concerned about the cold Arctic air, explained he had forgotten his gloves.

"Never mind," Goode responded. "I have two pairs." The rabbi then gave the petty officer his own gloves. In retrospect, Mahoney realized that Rabbi Goode was not conveniently carrying two pairs of gloves, and that the rabbi had decided not to leave the Dorchester.

By this time, most of the men were topside, and the chaplains opened a storage locker and began distributing life jackets. It was then that Engineer Grady Clark witnessed an astonishing sight.

When there were no more lifejackets in the storage room, the chaplains removed theirs and gave them to four frightened young men.

"It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven," said John Ladd, another survivor who saw the chaplains' selfless act.

Ladd's response is understandable. The altruistic action of the four chaplains constitutes one of the purest spiritual and ethical acts a person can make. When giving their life jackets, Rabbi Goode did not call out for a Jew; Father Washington did not call out for a Catholic; nor did the Reverends Fox and Poling call out for a Protestant. They simply gave their life jackets to the next man in line.

As the ship went down, survivors in nearby rafts could see the four chaplains--arms linked and braced against the slanting deck. Their voices could also be heard offering prayers.
Of the 902 men aboard the U.S.A.T. Dorchester, 672 died, leaving 230 survivors. When the news reached American shores, the nation was stunned by the magnitude of the tragedy and heroic conduct of the four chaplains.
"Valor is a gift," Carl Sandburg once said. "Those having it never know for sure whether they have it until the test comes."
That night Reverend Fox, Rabbi Goode, Reverend Poling and Father Washington passed life's ultimate test. In doing so, they became an enduring example of extraordinary faith, courage and selflessness.

The Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were awarded posthumously December 19, 1944, to the next of kin by Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, Commanding General of the Army Service Forces, in a ceremony at the post chapel at Fort Myer, VA.

A one-time only posthumous Special Medal for Heroism was authorized by Congress and awarded by the President Eisenhower on January 18, 1961. Congress attempted to confer the Medal of Honor but was blocked by the stringent requirements that required heroism performed under fire. The special medal was intended to have the same weight and importance as the Medal of Honor.


Your vote can mean $250,000 for OCW

Operation Comfort Warriors provides items to wounded servicemembers not provided by the government. Tom Strattman

The American Legion's Operation Comfort Warriors is competing for a $250,000 grant to be awarded by Pepsi Cola, Inc. More than 700 charities are competing for grants, which are determined by the number of votes received at its Web site. As of this morning, Operation Comfort Warriors was 27th in voting. The top two vote getters will receive grants. Voting ends on Feb. 28.

Visitors can cast their votes here.

Since December 2008, The American Legion family has raised funds for Operation Comfort Warriors, a program dedicated to meeting the needs of wounded military personnel, providing them with comfort items not usually supplied by the government. OCW ensures that patients at U.S. military hospitals and warrior transition units are given items like sweat suits, DVDs, puzzles, electronic devices, books, calling cards and more.

"The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue. Military service will always include inherent dangers from training and other hazardous duties," American Legion National Commander Clarence E. Hill said. "As long as our men and women are in harm's way, there will continue to be wounded warriors. The American Legion needs to be there for our heroes. Operation Comfort Warriors is an excellent way to show our appreciation for their sacrifices. I urge all Americans to show their appreciation by voting for it on the Pepsi Refresh Everything Web site."

All administrative and marketing costs for Operation Comfort Warriors are paid for by The American Legion, meaning 100 percent of all donations and grants received go to the troops.


Online baseball registration a big hit

Online registration for the 2010 American Legion Baseball season opened Jan. 1, and since then more than 800 teams have successfully completed the application process within minutes and without a hitch. Coaches are embracing the new system, as it allows them to focus more on starting the season and less on mailing in paperwork.

One Legionnaire, who has been a coach for more than 25 years and laughingly recalls the days when he used a typewriter to fill out the application, found the new system to be a one-stop shop.

"Filling out the application online was quick and easy, the information requested was basic, and I heard back within a day that my application was accepted," said John Hayes, member of and coach for Wayne Newton Post 346 in Terre Haute, Ind. "Plus, the convenience of paying all fees online saved me the hassle of mailing multiple checks. Overall, everything I needed to register my team was available [on the American Legion Baseball Web site]."

Likewise, feedback from numerous other coaches regarding online registration has been positive, as many notice the value of the new system - a smoother application process and a stronger communication line between players and fans.

If you are experiencing any difficulties registering your team online, please e-mail

Monday, February 1, 2010



Each year the American Legion Auxiliary of Oswego County distributes “Valentines for Veterans” who are in non-VA nursing homes. These are special cards which recognize the veteran with a token $5 bill for each one.

Once again this year we will be delivering “Valentines for Veterans” prior to Valentine’s Day on February 14th. In addition to the money enclosed in the card, there is a label which notifies the veterans that this little “gift” is given by the American Legion Auxiliary of Oswego County, New York.

During the week of Feb. 14th through the 20th, individuals should pay tribute and express appreciation to our hospitalized veterans, increase community awareness of the local VA Medical Center’s role and encourage individuals to visit hospitalized veterans and to become involved as volunteers. Salute your hospitalized veterans today, and everyday!

In recent years we have distributed at least 144 cards each containing a crisp, new $5 bill for a total of $720. The time is donated for the delivery of the cards as well as the cost of fuel for the vehicle. Thanks to the American Legion Auxiliary volunteers.

This is what the American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion is all about - Service to our veterans and their families - We are proud to serve.

Am I eligible to give blood?

Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental permission), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate. Whole blood donors can safely donate blood every 56 days. Double red cell donors can safely donate blood every 112 days.

Need more information? You may call Lynn Fox at 464-1229 for appointment; or 1-800-272-4543 for information.

Tuesday, Feb. 2: New Haven Community Alliance Church, 4175 State Route 104, New Haven - 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM

Saturday, Feb. 6: Enterprise Fire Company #1, 457 Main Street, Phoenix, NY - 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Monday, Feb. 8: St. Michael's Parish Center, State Route 11, Central Square, NY - 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Monday, Feb . 22: Pulaski American Legion Post 358, Maple Ave., Pulaski, NY - 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM

Wednesday, Feb. 24: Oswego Elks Lodge, 132 West 5th Street, Oswego, NY - 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Saturday, March 6: Arby's, 240 State route 104, Oswego, NY - 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM