Department of Florida

Category Archives: Florida

Inside the American Legion Post 71’s new home

Inside the American Legion Post 71's new home

WATCH: Our Rick Elmhorst takes you inside Lake Wales Memorial Post 71's new home inside the Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales. It could be one most unique locations for an American Legion Post in America, and it turns out they're doing quite well. FULL STORY:

Posted by Spectrum Bay News 9 on Monday, January 28, 2019


Together We Can Make an Impact

In the wake of the government shutdown, The American Legion went public to assist active duty Coast Guard members through National’s Temporary Financial Assistance program. This program requires families with minor children. The Department of Florida utilized it’s program, Project: VetRelief, to provide assistance to those that did not have qualifying children.

Through both programs, the Department Staff processed nearly 400 applications received from Coast Guard members.

The wave of US Coast Guard member applications has been overwhelming, but we are happy to report that all cases in which there was not a minor child in the home have been provided with a $250 gift card to Publix from PROJECT: VetRelief. To date, there have been 29 Coast Guard members funded for a total of $7,250. Additionally, of the 302 applications submitted to National’s TFA program, 231 families were provided support for a total of $130,000.

In the event that the government shuts down in a couple of weeks, the Department Staff would like to keep providing support for those effected for as long as we can; however, funds for both programs are limited. We ask that you, along with the members of your Post, take a minute to realize the impact a donation can have on someone defending your coastline and not receiving a paycheck.


PROJECT: VetRelief

Temporary Financial Assistance


National Commander to Visit

National Commander Brett Reistad is set to visit Florida February 1 – 7, 2019. He will be accompanied by his aide, Ken Knight. Let’s give them both a warm welcome. Please remember to invite the Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion to attend.

Please note: The National Commander, has an emergency in Washington D.C. and has to cut his trip to Florida short. Please download the revised itinerary below.

Download Revised Itinerary

Revised: 2/1/19




The following 100% Posts 2-11-15-20-46-49-51-62-76-84-96-102-108-130-166-172-181-187-234-248-249-268-308-314-358-378-389-411

Districts @ 85% or Higher 2-6-12-16

The 84 Posts who are @ 85% or more

I would also like to thank the 124 posts who are on the new system it is making a difference for the Department of Florida. Using these numbers, I estimate that we are at 83% as of this morning. Our next Department goal is 90% and the National goal is 85% let’s make the 90%.

Thank you for Continuing to Serve


Bruce Thurber, Membership Chairman
Department of Florida


Membership Renewal Post Cards


Past Due – Membership Renewals post cards are in. Please email Irene Graham, Membership Director at and let her know how many you need.



Legion Family Cruise

Last years cruise was a great success. We had 22 cabins booked and everyone had a great time.

This will be first come first serve, so make your reservations ASAP as cabin space might fill up quickly. Please call to reserve your room as prices change all the time.
It’s time to do it again. This will be first come first serve, so make your reservations ASAP as cabin space might fill up quickly. My wife works for Carnival, so we will be taken care of.

At least put your deposit down quickly and she will try to have us as close together as possible. Remember, this will be a FUN cruise and time to enjoy each other’s company and to recharge for the year. I will have hotel information as we get closer for the night before the cruise.

Everyone have a great time and will see you aboard.

William R Johnson
1st Vice Commander
American Legion
Department Of Florida

Questions, Tickets, Reservations

Maureen Williams, Vacation Planner
Carnival Cruise Line
800-819-3902 EXT 85931
305-406-6183 FAX
MON – THU 11:00 AM – 8:00PM EST
FRI 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Download flyer for full details.

Download Flyer


Opportunity for Mortgage-Free Homeownership

Homes for Independence and Abilities of Florida, a part of ServiceSource, have an initiative that is being developed to give a qualified person or persons with a disability or active-military, veterans, and surviving spouses, an opportunity for homeownership.

Crestview Villas Mortgage-Free Property Donation Program Eligibility
Property Address: 800 North Fiske Blvd Cocoa, FL

Veterans with a service related disability will be given preference, wounded warrior, veteran, surviving spouse, surviving parent, qualified active-military or a qualified person or persons with a disability

  • Must provide a copy of your DD214 or a verification of a disability
  • Must have been honorably discharged or active military
  • Must complete application and the home must be primary residence
  • All participants must have current verifiable income for utilities, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, Homeowner Association fees, living expenses, and savings account contribution
  • Excellent rental history; paying rent on time and taking care of your unit
  • Must consent to a current credit and criminal background check
  • Must provide two (2) letters of recommendation
  • New owner will be responsible for taxes and insurance after time of transfer and condo association fees 1 year after time of transfer. Condo fees are $327 annually.
  • A three-year deed restriction from the date of recordation will be placed on title to ensure successful completion of financial mentorship program, successful home ownership, and restricts a title transfer or rental of the property to a third party

Participation is required on the ceremony day of giveaway and a dress code policy will be enforced.

Giveaway November 6, 2019

For application information or questions, please contact Glenda Probst at (321) 632-4542 or Lisa Ciccolelli at 727-600-8922


Creating Mobility for Veterans

13 Scooters Donated for Florida Veterans

Orlando, January 2, 2019 – Jack Kump (Port Orange, FL) and his wife, Joan Wheeler, continue to impact the Florida veteran community and having recently donated twelve (12) brand new mobility scooters to The American Legion, Department of Florida. Inspired by their commitment to our veterans, SpinLife has also added an additional scooter, free of charge, for a total of thirteen (13) brand new mobility scooters to be given away to Florida Veterans.

This marks the third year Jack and Joan have generously donated mobility scooters to Florida’s veterans. We asked Jack and Joan what prompted such a noble act. According to Jack, “Without the military influence, discipline, Espirit de Corps, and direction, my life would have probably taken a much less productive path”. Jack and Joan believe that all vets are very special people and should be recognized, shown compassion, and never overlooked or forgotten. “The scooters are being donated in memory of two WWII vets very special in our lives, Joan’s late father, Robert I. Wheeler, and Jack’s late mentor, Leonard F. Wedge.”

On Friday, January 4th, Jack and Joan arrived at The American Legion, Department of Florida’s State Headquarters office. David Miller, Purple Heart recipient and long-time member of the American Legion, was also in attendance to show his appreciation. David will distribute three (3) scooters within the Tampa area to deserving veterans who are affiliated with the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch in Pinellas Park.

Florida is home to more than 1.6 million veterans, 22% of those veterans have claimed some level of disability. Jack and Joan have asked that these mobility scooters be distributed to disabled veterans who are in need and lack the funds or insurance to cover the costs on their own. They have entrusted The American Legion, Department of Florida with the distribution of this remarkable act of kindness.

The American Legion, Department of Florida would like to extend a debt of gratitude to Jack and Joan, on behalf of all Florida Veterans. It is this type of compassion and kindness that we wish for all of our veterans.

Also featured in:

Orlando Sentinel


Larry D. Sheets

It is with deep regret that we report the passing of Department Judge Advocate, Larry D. Sheets, of Miami, FL on Tuesday, January 1, 2019 at the age of 72. Larry is survived by his sister, Nancy Carroll, of Hampton, Georgia, and his brother, John Sheets, of Plymouth, Indiana. There are no details regarding services at this time, but any new information will be communicated to you through email as well as posted on the website.

Larry was a U.S. Air Force Vietnam War Era Veteran and a member of Sullivan-Babcock Post 32, with 51 continuous years of membership. Larry served as an aircraft mechanic while in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. He worked for Eastern Airlines for 21 years and retired Executive Airlines (American Eagle) in Miami.

Larry joined The American Legion in 1968 at Nappanee, Indiana Post 154, and transferred to Hialeah, Florida Post 32 in 1972. He served in many elected and appointed positions during his impressive career in The American Legion including 14 terms as Post Commander.   On a Department level, Larry, served as Department Internal Affairs Chairman (1994-2002 & 2006-15); 10th District Commander (1980-81); Department Sgt-at-Arms (1987-89); Vice Commander – Southern Area (1985-86); and Department Commander (1989-90). On a National level, Larry, served on the National Internal Affairs Committee (1987-19); National Legislative Council (1993-94 & 1999-19); and was elected National Vice Commander (2011-12).

If you would like to send your condolences you may do so through Post 32 Commander, Sly Fowler.  

Family of PDC Larry Sheets
C/O Sly Fowler
6720 Crooked Palm Ter.
Miami Lakes, FL 33014-2918

UPDATE: Urn Committal Service with Military Honors will take place on Thursday, January 24, 2019, 11:30 AM at South Florida National Cemetery, 6501 South SR 7, Lake Worth, FL.


Free Scoutbook on Jan 1, 2019

Scoutbook free for everyone beginning Jan. 1, 2019

It seems too good to be true, but you will absolutely take it.

The BSA announced today that it will make Scoutbook subscriptions free to all BSA units beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Units that already use Scoutbook won’t be charged when they renew their subscription on or after Sept. 1, 2018.

Scoutbook is the BSA’s online unit management tool and helps Scouts, parents and leaders track advancement and milestone achievements along the Scouting trail.

How will my unit be affected?

  • Units with a current Scoutbook account: When they need to renew their subscription this fall, they will not pay any renewal fees, effective Sept. 1, 2018.
  • Councils that provide Scoutbook accounts for their units: When they need to renew these unit subscriptions this fall, they will not pay any renewal fees, effective Sept. 1, 2018.
    • (Essentially, units — or councils paying for their units — can renew Scoutbook subscriptions in September, October, November or December 2018 at no cost.)
  • Units without a current Scoutbook account: They can begin their free Scoutbook unit subscription on Jan. 1, 2019.

Will existing users get a refund?

No. There are no plans to reimburse anyone who has previously paid for a Scoutbook subscription. This change applies only to any new Scoutbook subscriptions effective Jan. 1, 2019, or later — and to any renewing Scoutbook subscriptions that would normally be paid between Sept. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018.

What if a current Scoutbook unit needs to add more Scouts this fall?

Let’s say your pack has a 75-Scout subscription with 15 open slots. You expect to recruit well over that number this fall. Can you add Scouts to your subscription when/if that happens?

Yes, if you have a current Scoutbook subscription, after Sept. 1, 2018, you can renew your subscription (if needed) or add more youth to Scoutbook at no cost.

What should units that don’t currently have Scoutbook do this fall?

Scoutbook will be free to all units beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

In the meantime, watch for the release of Scoutbook Lite for all units later in 2018. This free online tool will provide a slightly different user experience from the full Scoutbook, but it will help your unit track advancements for all your youth members.

How will subscriptions/renewals work in 2019 and beyond?

The need to “subscribe” or “renew” annually will become unnecessary. Once your unit is on Scoutbook, you’ll be set for as long as your unit would like to continue using this free tool.

How will making Scoutbook free affect its performance?

Scoutbook will only continue to improve. The BSA IT and Member Care teams will continue to support Scoutbook with their timely service and quality resources. Scoutbook performance enhancements have been implemented regularly over the years, and its performance is continually monitored.

Where can I get more information about this change in Scoutbook?

First, consult the latest FAQs, available in this PDF.


Source:  Scouting Wire, Dec 26, 2018