Department of Florida

Category Archives: Florida

Post 24 Celebrates with Pistol Competition

At the range from L to R – Scott Perando, Jerry Ham, David Youngclaus, Dan Roberts, Peter Letsky

On Friday, November 16, 2018 Kirby Stewart American Legion Post 24 in Bradenton, FL helped to celebrate its 100th Anniversary as well as the 100th Anniversary of the American Legion by holding its first pistol competition for American Legion Family Members at the Bullseye Pistol Range in Palmetto, FL.

Fourteen members signed up to shoot in this “once in a lifetime” event. Unfortunately only five members were able to participate in this iron sight match at 50 feet, shooting 10 rounds slow fire in 10 minutes, then 5 rounds in 20 seconds x 2 timed fire, and then 5 rounds in 10 seconds x 2 rapid fire, for a total of 30 shots. All shooters had an enjoyable time in this low pressure event.

1st Place Trophy to Dan Roberts (L) by Jerry Ham, Match Director (R)

The idea was to have a unique event to celebrate our 100th Anniversary and get our members to shoot some of those pistols they had at home in nightstands that they haven’t shot in many years. The event seemed to work since everyone is asking for another match, possibly early next year while we are still celebration our 100th Anniversary.

The competition was organized by Jerry Ham, Match Director and trophies were presented to the five winners at the Post Riders meeting and the Post Legion meeting this week.

For additional information contact:
Jerry Ham, Match Director 941-713-3074


Raymond “Ray” M. Weaver

It is with deep regret that we report the passing of Past Department Commander, Raymond “Ray” M. Weaver, of Waynesville, NC on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at the age of 87. Ray is survived by his wife, Joyce, and by his son, Joel Weaver, and daughter, Nancy Del Rosal. Funeral service will be held Saturday, December 8, 2018 at Crawford/Ray Funeral Home, 1 North Main Street, Canton, NC at 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. Burial will follow at 2:30 pm at Green Hill Cemetery, 129 Legion Dr., Waynesville, NC. The local American Legion post will be performing military honors.

Ray is a U.S. Air Force Korean war veteran and a member of Post 8, with 38 years of membership. He served many roles during his impressive career in The American Legion. Ray was former Department Oratorical Chairman (1985-99); 15th District Commander (1992-93); Department Vice Commander Central Area (1994-95); and Department Commander (1996-97).

Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers in time of grief. Condolences you may do so through his son, Joel Weaver, at 122 Margaret Lane, Waynesville, NC 28785

Update: The date of Ray Weaver’s funeral service has been changed to Friday, December 7th due to inclement weather. Same time and place, 1- 2 at funeral home and 2:30 at cemetery.  


Olga “OT” B. Terrell

It is with sad heart that we have to announce that Past Department President, Olga “OT” B. Terrell, age 98, of Fort Walton Beach, FL passed away Thursday, November 29, 2018 at her residence.  She was born October 12, 1920 in Fort Deposit, AL to the late Gerald and Rosalee (Sullivan) Bush.

Olga married Lee R. Terrell on May 8, 1941 in Forest, MS.  She was heavily involved with the American Legion Auxiliary from the national level down to her unit at Rogers-Hinson Post #235.

Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Lee R. Terrell and five siblings.

Survivors include her children, Roslyn “Lyn” Terrell of Fort Walton Beach, FL and Joan Schade of Hay Market, VA; her grandchildren, Michael (Melinda) Hicks, Michelle (David) Kerwood, all of Fort Walton Beach, FL, and Gwen (Pete) Schade of Orlando, FL; her great granddaughter, Kaitlyn (Brian) Shermer of Iwakuni, Japan.

If you would like to send a card please send to: Lyn Terrell at 40 Hemlock Dr, Ft. Walton Beach, Fl. 32548-4751



December 3, 2018
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Emerald Coast Funeral Home
161 Racetrack Road North West
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547


December 4, 2018
10:00 AM to 10:45 AM
Emerald Coast Funeral Home
161 Racetrack Road North West
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547


Commander Boland Serves Meals

Each year Cross Bayou Post 252, in Seminole, invites the Department Commander to visit and help prepare and serve meals to patients from Bay Pines.  Our Department Commander Dianne Boland, was happy to accept the invitation.

They served two bus loads this year, serving between 100-125. There were 20-30 volunteers, four of whom were in uniform.

A huge thanks to our Department Commander Dianne Boland, Post 252, and all the volunteers who made this event possible.


A Message From Our Disaster Preparedness Chair

Bill Hoppner, Disaster PreparednessI hope that all our fellow Legionnaires and family are safe following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. We want you to be aware of The American Legion programs that are available to assist you during this time of recovery.

The American Legion’s National Emergency Fund (NEF) provides immediate financial assistance to Legion Family members and posts affected by Hurricane Michael. The fund provides up to $3,000 for qualified members and up to $10,000 for posts.

NEF grants do not cover costs of items which should be covered by insurance. It is strictly for assisting Legionnaires with emergency travel, lodging and meals while under mandatory evacuation from their homes. These are considered emergency, out of pocket, living expenses.

In order to qualify for an NEF grant, an applicant must:

  • Have been displaced from his or her primary residence due to a declared natural disaster.
  • Must have sustained damage to their primary residence as a result of the declared natural disaster.
  • Provide copies of receipts of items required to meet immediate needs, such as temporary housing, food, water, clothing, diapers, etc.
  • Provide evidence of damage sustained to their residence.
  • Membership must be active at time of disaster and the time of application.
  • Post grants must derive from a declared natural disaster and substantiating documentation must provide that The American Legion post will cease to perform the duties and activities in the community due to losses sustained.

While the NEF provides immediate assistance to Legion and SAL members, qualified children of Legion-eligible veterans may receive assistance through the Legion’s Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) program.

The TFA grants do not cover costs of items which should be covered by insurance. It is strictly for temporary food, shelter, utilities, and clothing.

Payout from the funds are currently capped at $2,500 per veteran with minor children (17 years or younger) living at home. Legion membership is not required.

In addition, Department of Florida is also taking applications for the Department’s Hurricane Relief Fund.  This fund is similar to NEF; however, there is no need to have sustained damage to be eligible for funding.  Also, the Department fund will support, any veteran regardless of membership status.  Legionnaires will have first consideration and the program will be active until funds are depleted. 

For more information or to apply for NEF, TFA or Department of Florida’s Hurricane Relief Fund,  contact Department Headquarters at 407-295-2631, or visit


VFW, Legion National Commanders Demand Immediate Action

VA Rates 70 Percent of its Nursing Homes as Failures
VFW, Legion national commanders demand immediate action

WASHINGTON (November 14, 2018) — The national commanders of the nation’s two largest veterans organizations are demanding that Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie bring immediate attention to his nursing home program that currently has 70 percent of its 132 homes receiving failing grades by the VA’s own rating system.

The call by Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. National Commander B.J. Lawrence and American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad is in response to a series of scathing articles by two USA Today and Boston Globe reporters who documented substandard and negligent care at the VA nursing home in Brockton, Mass., which is one of 45 nursing homes that received the VA’s lowest rating of one star. Forty-seven homes received two stars, 16 homes three stars, and 15 homes four stars. Only nine nursing homes received the VA’s top five-star rating.

“While much of the media’s attention has been on the proper implementation of VA healthcare legislation, we cannot forget about 46,000 mostly senior veterans who reside in these nursing homes,” said the two national commanders, who collectively speak for more than 4.6 million members and their auxiliaries.

“The media reports about sub-par care, patient neglect and safety violations at VA nursing homes are more than just disturbing,” said the Legion’s national commander. “Legionnaires, our friends in the VFW, and anybody who respects veterans should be angered by this,” said Reistad. “These are not just patients in a home, these are people who in the prime of their lives risked their lives, and made enormous sacrifices on behalf of our country. America’s veterans deserve better. We not only expect VA to fix these problems immediately, but we want transparency. Those who sleep on the job and ignore the best interests of their patients need to find a different employer.”

Echoing his counterpart, the VFW national commander said “These veterans earned the right to receive high quality care in a fully-staffed and well-managed facility. Their families deserve to know that their loved ones — their heroes — are not being abandoned or abused, and America needs to be reassured that the VA is honoring our nation’s promise to those who have borne the battle,” said Lawrence. “The VA must improve its delivery of quality care at these facilities. It must recruit and retain only the best healthcare professionals and support staff, and it must hold all employees accountable for their actions or inactions. It is not a right but a privilege to work for America’s veterans, and anything less is unacceptable.”

Media Contacts: VFW: Joe Davis, 202-608-8357, , The American Legion: John Raughter, 317-441-8847


Post 16 Prepares to Celebrate 100 Years

Submitted by: Jim Ramos
Press: WCJB 20

Its been one hundred years since the World War One armistice, which means the American Legion will soon celebrate their hundredth year.

The American Legion has been serving the North Central Florida and verteran communities across the nation since 1919.

The Legion opperates on four pillars: veteran’s affairs and rehabilitation, national security, americanism, and children and youth.

The Legion holds multiple events throughout the year, including the Medal of Honor ceremony.

The Legion invites all veterans and their families.

Link to original article:





Post 144 Miami Lakes Co-hosts Benefit

Submission by: Gary E Cardenas, Post 144 Commander
Submitted on: October 30, 2018

On Saturday, October 20 our Post co-hosted with the US Coast Guard Air Base in Opa Locka, for the third year in a row a Veterans Benefits Fair and Meals with Memories. The first one in 2016 only attracted about 720 Veterans due to space limitations. Last November, we attracted almost 1,200 Veterans and their families, as we were allowed to us part of the hangar at the Base. This time our goal was 2,000 and guess what, we did it!! Even thou we ended up not getting half of the hangar as they were repairing airplanes that were being used for support missions in the panhandle (thanks to Hurricane Michael). See link for some photos from the Coast Guard.

Our guest of honor was Gold Star Mother Ms. Georgie Carter, mother of the late USMC, PFC Bruce Wayne Carter, CMOH recipient. As you may already know, the Miami VA Hospital bears his name. By the way, he is buried at Vista Memorial Cemetery in Miami Lakes, where last year on Memorial Day we placed 2,000+ Flags with the help of 7 Boy Scouts Troops/Packs Our Post hosted a Memorial Day Ceremony, where we unveiled the improvements made to the four veterans burial sections by a Boy Scout who did this project for his Eagle. This past Saturday I attended his Eagle Scout Court of Honor where I spoke and presented him with the Legion’s Eagle Scout Pin and a Certificate.

The next Eagle Scout Project is to place a headstone on the tomb of PFC Carter-CMOH; is the least he deserves. I am now working with mom to get her permission.

At the Veterans Benefits Fair event our Post was recognized by a Proclamation from Miami Dade County, declaring Oct 20, 2018 as “American Legion Post 144 Day.” for our work in support of our Veterans. It was presented by Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, a Vietnam Veteran Marine. See photo attached.

At this event, in addition to the 2,000 Veterans, and free food ,we had employers, nearly 100 Benefits vendors, the DOV truck issuing drivers licenses with the V designation at no charge, the Department of Labor, the FDVA, the Miami VA, Hair for Heroes, full color guard from SOUTHCOM, Veterans Motorcycle Riders, The Salvation Army, and much more.

See some attached photos (you can see me (bald head my District Cap on chest) on one of them during the opening prayers. By the way, the young lady singing the National Anthem is a contestant on this season of the Voice.


Declassified Normandy Landing Photos

Here is a presentation of images and history of the Normandy Landing:

Click here for Presentation


Hurricane Relief Efforts

To all concerned:

We are witnessing a swift change by the local, state, and federal agencies that are embedded in the disaster prone areas on how non-registered volunteer organizations are being treated and prevented from attempting to provide logistical needs to those affected.

Mexico Beach is off limits as of 6 am 10/23/18 unless you’re a registered organization through Tallahassee or a Federal entity authorized to operate within. A special armband is required to be worn for access.

Port St. Joe is potentially next on the list as it too received devastating destruction.

Outlying areas are receiving the support required and folks know where to get aid/relief.

Bill Hoppner and I were shunned when we offered our service and support. The Supply Center controlled by a Red Cross team advised us that our American Legion resources and services were not required, that they had everything they needed, and that we should go talk with the County EOC.

Today I was called and informed that tractor trailers, large trailers, large trucks with hurricane aid supplies will be turned away from all (POD) Point of Distribution sites and Designated Supply Centers. They will be referred / advised to take their loads to a designated warehouse in the Tallahassee area to off load. There the supplies will be segregated, stored, and shipped to the PODs or Supply Centers when commodities are requested.

As a State EOC representative implied, we are considered “Amateurs” and they do not want us in their way, providing services or support to those that are in need.

The material shift is rapidly changing and those registered organizations are not prepared to support those endeavors. When they begin to pack up and go back to where they came from, the local residents will begin seeking organizations such as The American Legion to assist with some of their needs and we must be ready.

Our final push of basic necessities will continue over the next three weeks thru November 17th. Those American Legion Posts in the affected areas who are willing to accept and distribute supplies to their veterans and communities are requested to contact either William “Bill” Hoppner at / (305) 968-7979 or Stephen Shuga at / (407) 394-5534 to coordinate your request.

We will alert all who have given to stop acquiring the typical support currently being provided as they are swamped with supplies. We will request that all further shipments beyond November 17th stop until further notice.

Due to the rapid response of the local, state, federal agencies and programs that have overwhelmed the affected areas, support continues to press on. The utility companies have been feverishly working to turn on power, water, sewage, and communications. Boil water notices are lifting, and soon the curfews will end. Students are returning to school and the local infrastructure is springing back to life. All that’s left is the cleanup and rebuilding.

Just remember this: “ Our Veterans are Our #1 Concern and We Will Take Care of Our Veterans! “

For God and Country.
PDC Stephen Shuga