Department of Florida

Category Archives: Florida

Barbara Smith

It is with a sad and heavy heart, we announce the passing of Barbara Smith, the Post 186 First Vice Commander. This was her second time in that position, and her first time she held the position, she was able to get 100% membership at the Post. Barbara has served 35 years in the American Legion, beginning her long career in Kansas, where she was a Post and District Adjutant, and also served on some National committees. Barbara and her husband Chris moved to Florida in 2015, and she became the Adjutant at the first meeting she attended in July. She also served one year as the 15th District Adjutant.

Barbara was also a member of the American Legion Riders, the Bingo Chairperson, 20/4, was also in the Honor Guard. She was a member of the Harley owners group for over twenty years. She also loved doing arts and crafts. Her biggest passion was the Legion, and doing whatever she could for our youth and Veteran’s. Barbara will be greatly missed both at our Post, and where she previously served in Kansas, as well as her friends and family.

In lieu of flowers, her husband has requested any donations be made on her behalf to Project Vet Relief, The Children’s Welfare Foundation, or the Humane Society.

Memorial service and viewing will be on Wednesday, March 6th from 5 pm – 7 pm at Downing Funeral Home 1214 Wendy Court, Spring Hill,FL

She will be interred on Friday March 8th, at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell. There will be an escort leaving the funeral home at 11 am to go the cemetery. If you would like to attend the service at the cemetery, please be there by 1230 pm.


Vietnam Veterans Day in Florida

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed the annual Vietnam Veterans Day in Florida proclamation.


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.

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