American Legion asks VA Secretary to reverse Black Hills call

Posted on February 17th, 2017

WASHINGTON (February 17, 2017) – National Commander Charles E. Schmidt of The American Legion is calling on VA Secretary David Shulkin to reverse the department’s decision made under the previous secretary to end needed services at the VA Medical Center in Hot Springs, S.D.

“The historic Black Hills VA Health Care System has saved countless lives over the years as veterans from rural areas of South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska have relied on this hospital for in-patient care,” Schmidt said. “Veterans who live far from metropolitan areas are already at a significant disadvantage when accessing their benefits. Relocating services to far-off facilities just compounds the problem. Dr. Shulkin is a physician who understands the importance of timely treatment and patient care. We are asking him to take quick action so VA can continue to serve these veterans who have sacrificed for their nation.”

While Hot Springs will continue to offer outpatient services, many veterans will have to travel to Rapid City in order to receive the medical care that they need. Delegates to the 2016 American Legion national convention unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming the organization’s support to keeping the facility and residential rehabilitation services in Hot Springs.  The American Legion also called for the creation of a Center for Excellence to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse and homeless prevention at Hot Springs.

With a current membership of 2.2 million wartime veterans, The American Legion, www.legion.org, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 13,000 posts across the nation.

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Media contacts: John Raughter (317) 630-1350 / 317-441-8847 (cell), jraughter@legion.org 



The American Legion congratulates new VA Secretary, Urges Shulkin to ‘keep your promises’

Posted on February 14th, 2017

WASHINGTON (February 13, 2017) – The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization congratulated VA Secretary David Shulkin for his confirmation earlier this evening by the U.S. Senate and made clear that The American Legion is counting on him to deliver on promises he made during his testimony.

“As a highly experienced physician, The America Legion has confidence that Dr. Shulkin possesses the skill set, compassion and commitment to restore the trust that veterans need to have in the department that was created to serve their needs,” National Commander Charles E. Schmidt said. “During his confirmation hearing, Dr. Shulkin promised greater accountability, improved access, responsiveness and expanded access within his department. He also said that VA will not be privatized. Secretary Shulkin will find that if he delivers on these promises, he will have no greater friend and stronger partner than The American Legion. We are eager to work with Secretary Shulkin on making VA as great as the people it serves.”

With a current membership of 2.2 million wartime veterans, The American Legion, www.legion.org, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 13,000 posts across the nation.

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Media contacts: John Raughter (317) 630-1253 / 317-441-8847 (cell), jraughter@legion.org .

 



The American Legion blasts Manning commutation

Posted on January 18th, 2017

WASHINGTON (January 17, 2017) –  The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization criticized President Obama’s decision today to commute the sentence of an ex-soldier convicted of violating the U.S. Espionage Act along with many other charges.

Chelsea Manning served in the U.S. Army as Pvt. Bradley Manning before being arrested and sentenced to 35 years at Fort Leavenworth for leaking a classified video to the website WikLeaks.

“Anybody who has ever served in the U.S. military understands the seriousness of protecting classified  material,” said National Commander Charles E. Schmidt of The American Legion. “Private Manning put American lives at risk. Manning was convicted of 20 out of 22 charges. Releasing this prisoner sends precisely the wrong message to all Americans who are entrusted to keep our national secrets secret.”

Schmidt, a retired Air Force officer and Vietnam War veteran, also expressed “serious concern” over the pardon of Gen. James Cartwright, who pled guilty in October to one charge of making false statements to federal investigators after he was accused of leaking top secret information.

“General Cartwright had a long and distinguished career but would he have been treated the same if he were a sergeant?” Schmidt asked. “These inexplicable moves do nothing to discourage future offenders from violating their oaths to protect America’s national security. The American Legion is hoping that President Obama is not considering more commutations and pardons of this nature before he leaves office on Friday.”

With a current membership of 2.2 million wartime veterans, The American Legion, www.legion.org, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 13,000 posts across the nation.

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Media contacts: John Raughter (317) 630-1350 / 317-441-8847 (cell), jraughter@legion.org  or Michael Dorsey (202) 263-5758, mdorsey@legion.org



Support American Legion Charities Inc. through your purchases on smile.amazon.com

Posted on December 2nd, 2016

It is now possible to support American Legion programs through donations made while shopping on Amazon. American Legion Charities Inc. is now one of the charities available to donate to through AmazonSmile (https://smile.amazon.com/).

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way to support charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at www.smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.

Simply go to smile.amazon.com, sign into your normal Amazon account and then type in “American Legion Charities Inc” in the search box when the prompt comes up. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes or service charges. From time to time, Amazon may offer special, limited time promotions that increase the donation amount on one or more products or services, or provide for additional donations to charitable organizations.

Only purchases at smile.amazon.com – not at www.amazon.com or through the mobile app – support any charities.



Legion leads memorial inventory effort

Posted on November 18th, 2016

National commander calls on members to document, photograph and upload into database all local military, veteran and war monuments and memorials.

American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt is calling on all posts, districts, counties, areas, zones, departments and affiliates of the organization to help build an unparalleled database of memorials and monuments that honor U.S. military service and sacrifice. The database and uploading instructions can be found at www.legion.org/memorials on the Legion’s national website.

“As The American Legion nears its centennial year, one aspect of our organization’s rich legacy is universal – ‘to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the great wars,’” Schmidt said, quoting from the Preamble to The American Legion Constitution. “We know that in virtually every corner of the country, and beyond our shores, American Legion Family members have paid tribute to military service, honor and remembrance by carving out sacred spaces in their communities to ensure that the price paid for freedom is not lost on future generations.”

Schmidt said the Legion’s memorials database project is a great opportunity to involve the entire American Legion Family, youth groups such as Boy Scouts, local civic organizations, schools and others. “It is especially important to assess the conditions of these memorials – whether it’s a plaque in the park listing a county’s war dead or a well-known community statue or plaza. What better way to commemorate the Legion’s centennial than to spruce up, repair and revive awareness to those who served before us, whose memorials and monuments may be showing the effects of age and weather? It’s also the perfect time for communities to reacquaint themselves with the meaning of their memorials.”

The American Legion Memorial Inventory Project is not focused on any one war era. “We know that American Legion posts care for memorials ranging from the Revolution to the Global War on Terrorism, all around the world,” Schmidt said. “We also are well aware that some of them have come under attack because they may contain some religious symbolism or language, and The American Legion steadfastly opposes removal or revision of such monuments. In order to ensure their continued respect and protection, we have a responsibility to index them and bring attention to their original and intended meaning.”

The web platform – easily accessed and used from a smartphone or electronic tablet – asks for the location of the memorial, a description of it, date of installation if known and a rating of its condition. Uploaders are also strongly encouraged to take photos of the memorial and post them onto the database. Once a submission has been made, it may take a couple of days before it appears, following review.

The American Legion is also working with the United States World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library to document monuments and memorials dedicated specifically to World War I, thousands of which were erected by the early American Legion. The 100 Cities/100 Memorials program includes a matching-money grant opportunity for applicants. More can be learned about that project at www.worldwar1centennial.org/100-cities-100-memorials-home online.

The American Legion National Executive Committee passed Resolution 10 during the Oct. 12-13 meetings in Indianapolis to encourage all American Legion posts, American Legion Riders chapters, American Legion Auxiliary units and affiliated groups to participate in the Veterans Memorial Identification Project and build the national database.

“This is who we are in The American Legion,” said American Legion 100th Anniversary Observance Committee Chairman Robert W. Spanogle, a past national commander and past national adjutant of the organization. “This memorial identification project will be a major benefit for researchers, students, educators, the media and travelers who need to understand the story of our nation as told through the military experience and immortalized in every community. We have a sacred obligation to keep these memories alive, recorded and in the best possible condition.”



PAID UP FOR LIFE PRICING Effective June 1, 2016

Posted on May 10th, 2016

The following is provided for your information:

As most of you are aware, the membership dues increased $5 in January of this year 2016.  Also part of the resolution to increase dues stated that the PUFL rates would remain the same until June 1, 2016 at which time the Finance Commission would adjust the rate to reflect prudent actuarial assumptions.  Last week at the National Spring meetings in Indianapolis, based on a report from actuaries McCready and Keene, Inc., the Finance Commission set PUFL pricing effective June 1, 2016 as follows:

PAID UP FOR LIFE PRICING EFFECTIVE JUNE 1, 2016
18-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70-79 80-89 90+
$1,535 $1,399 $1,229 $1,025 $815 $599 $429 $329
This table is used for all paid-up-for-life pricing for posts’ dues rates of $48 or less.  For alll dues rates $48.01 and higher, telephone customer service at 317-860-3111 or 800-433-3318.

If you have members interested in buying a PUFL, I recommend they do it prior to the new rates effective June 1, 2016.



LegionCare program now improved!

Posted on September 14th, 2015

The Legionnaire Insurance Trust (LIT) is pleased to announce some important changes to the LegionCare program just revealed at the 97th Annual American Legion National Convention earlier this month.

The first of these exciting updates – starting for enrollments after 1/1/2015, anyone enrolled in LegionCare will be covered for as long as they remain a member of The Legion Family. No need to re-enroll every 5 years!

The second change, and what we think is the most important – All “Legion Family” members – Legion, senior ALA, and senior SAL – in good standing are now eligible for the coverage.  The Legionnaire Insurance Trust has been working hard to provide valuable benefits to your entire family and we look forward to continuing to serve  veterans’ insurance needs.

Those “Legion Family” members stopping by our booth were able to enroll in the LIT’s LegionCare program and have their coverage become effective immediately, but this opportunity is not restricted to just those who were at the National Convention. Every eligible “Legion Family” member may enroll, but the member must sign-up to be covered.  Please keep the momentum going after the convention and spread the word about these exciting changes to LegionCare.

Reminder about LegionCare:

What is LegionCare? LegionCare provides up to $1,000 of 24 hours accidental death coverage to an enrolled member.  And if an enrolled members suffers a covered loss while performing “official Legion Family business”, there is an additional $4,000 benefit* –bringing the total to up to $5,000.

How do I enroll? Just go online to www.TheLIT.com/No-Cost-LegionCare and fill in the requested information.  By enrolling on-line, your coverage will begin immediately and you will get an e-mail confirmation within minutes.  Those without access to the internet may enroll by calling the LIT’s toll-free number – (800) 235-6943 – and our customer service area will process your enrollment over the phone.

Don’t delay – sign-up today!



National PUFL Application Processing Change

Posted on March 4th, 2015

MEMO: To All Posts Adjutants

MEMO FROM: Jack Querfeld, Director, Internal Affairs Division

SUBJECT: Paid-Up-For-Life Application Processing Change

In January 2014, National Headquarters introduced a new simplified pricing structure for its Paid-Up-For-Life (PUFL) plan which also included the ability for a member to apply online for lifetime membership.  This was done with the intent of simplifying the entire process for the member.

Beginning July 1, 2015, National Headquarters will no longer accept PUFL applications that were previously distributed in bulk to Departments or Posts. This includes any PUFL application reflecting a rate chart with the effective date of October 2009 or earlier.

All PUFL applications must be submitted to National by one of the three methods noted below. We will continue the policy of notifying the Post and Department when a member applies for a lifetime membership; this provides the opportunity for the Post to challenge the application, if necessary.

ONLINE APPLICATION: The member accesses the PUFL page on National’s website at www.legion.org/pufl to obtain a rate quote and/or submit an electronic application. Once the rate quote is received, the member can opt to apply online which will cause their record information to appear for confirmation purposes. Once confirmed and the payment information is completed, the member selects the Submit button to complete the application process.  NOTE:  If the member doesn’t have internet access, either themselves or through family/friends, this process should be performed by the Post or the Department. A quick link to the PUFL application website has been added to myLegion for Posts and Departments.

PRINTABLE APPLICATION:  The member accesses the PUFL page on National’s website at www.legion.org/pufl to obtain a rate quote and/or print an application. Once the rate quote is received, the member can opt to print a paper application to complete and mail to National Headquarters.  The application will be pre-filled with the member’s ID Number, Name, Address, Birth Date and the total cost of the PUFL membership. (If any of the member’s information needs to be updated, it can be noted on the application.) The member then simply mails the application and payment to National Headquarters at the address shown on the form.  NOTE:  If the member doesn’t have internet access, either themselves or through family/friends, the application should be printed by the Post or the Department and forwarded to the member for completion. A quick link to the PUFL application website has been added to myLegion for Posts and Departments.

CALL A CUSTOMER SERVICE SPECIALIST:  Any member can speak to one of National’s Customer Service Specialists by calling our toll free number at 800-433-3318.  They’re happy to answer any questions…print and mail a PUFL application…or even take the application over the phone.  However, this should not be considered the primary procedure since all members, Posts, and Departments have the same ability.

 



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