Congratulations to Department Historian, Edward Lewis, for winning first place in the 2020 contest of The American Media Alliance, in the “Visual Media Campaign-Department” category.
Lewis was selected out of nearly 100 entries in this year’s contest. Judging was initially set to take place at the National Spring Meetings, National Convention or Fall Meetings, but with the current pandemic, National Headquarters staff served as judges, approved by a three-member TALMA task force and by the full commission at the last virtual commission meet.
INDIANAPOLIS (October 2, 2020) – American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford issued the following statement regarding the announcement that President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19:
“The American Legion extends its heartfelt prayers that President Trump and the first lady have a full and speedy recovery from COVID-19. Our nation has accomplished remarkable feats in its history. We have prevailed against powerful enemies. We can, we must and we WILL defeat this dread disease that has caused so much pain and damage worldwide.”
With a current membership of nearly two million veterans, The American Legion 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 12,000 posts across the nation.
Dept of Human & Health Services Dept of Veteran Affairs Dept of Defense Convalescent Plasma / HiG Group
Today we are announcing the launch of a nationwide effort to help those who are currently suffering from COVID-19 by collecting convalescent plasma from Americans who have recovered from the virus.
What is plasma? Plasma is a liquid component of blood. When it is collected from patients who have recovered from COVID-19, it is known as COVID-19 convalescent plasma.
A group of investigators from several institutions have shown that convalescent plasma is safe for use in patients, and they are collecting and analyzing data to determine how effective it is.
Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients has antibodies that can fight the disease in patients who are currently sick.
Donating your plasma will not weaken your body’s ability to fight off the virus that causes COVID-19.
To reach every possible donor, we are joining forces with The Fight Is In Us an existing national plasma collection effort. We are also working with the OneBlood, Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, and multiple federal agencies and state, local, community officials in cities and counties across the country to help donors find a collection site near them.
We are encouraging anyone who has fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks to donate their plasma. The good news for those who need treatment is that recovered individuals can donate their plasma more than once, because your body replenishes the plasma in your blood.
Donating is easy and safe and takes between 90 minutes and 3 hours. The collection process uses sterile tubing and supplies for each donation which are discarded after each collection and are never reused.
There are hundreds of FDA licensed donor centers and hospitals across the country where plasma can be donated.
If you are willing to step up to help other Americans, you can find your nearest donor centers on the website The Fight Is In Us. We hope you can contribute to our country in this time of need.
The objective of messaging/announcements is to communicate
Information about CCP and the rationale behind need for patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate Convalescent Plasma (CCP) as a POTENTIAL treatment for COVID-19
Who could be eligible donors, explain the need, and address common questions/concerns
How to donate – available resources for information, locating nearest plasma collection centers
Strategy and actions of USG in driving awareness and facilitating CCP collections
Clinical Context: The clinical evidence on efficacy of CCP as a potential treatment for patients infected with COVID-19 is STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION. Currently there are limited treatment options that directly combat the virus. Convalescent plasma offers one potential way to help patients fight the disease. As there are no FDA approved treatments for this disease, CCP is being clinically evaluated to determine its efficacy for treatment of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma
COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma
What is COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma?
Plasma is a fluid & protein component of blood. When it is collected from patients who have recovered from the novel coronavirus disease, it is known as “COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma” or “CCP”. COVID-19 patients develop antibodies – proteins developed by the immune system to help fight infections, which then circulate in the blood plasma for a period after the patient has recovered from the virus. This plasma (the fluid containing antibodies, other proteins) can be collected from a recovered patient and transfused into the blood of a sick patient to help them combat the virus.
Why is CCP important to fight COVID-19?
Currently there are limited treatment options that directly combat the virus. Convalescent plasma offers one potential way to help patients fight the disease. As there are no FDA approved treatments for this disease, CCP is being clinically evaluated to determine its efficacy for treatment of COVID-19.
How effective is CCP to fight COVID-19?
Studies investigating the efficacy of CCP are ongoing. Early results from the FDA’s Expanded Access Program show that CCP is safe for use in patients, but more data is being collected and analyzed to determine its efficacy.
Donor Eligibility & Questions/Concerns
Donor Eligibility & Questions/Concerns
Who can donate?
People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least 14 days are encouraged to consider donating plasma. Individuals must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a clinical test and meet other donor criteria for blood or plasma donation, as specified by the collection facility.
Can people who are asymptomatic to coronavirus disease donate?
CCP sourced from people who are asymptomatic to coronavirus disease could be helpful in fighting COVID-19 as well. Therefore, asymptomatic individuals are encouraged to consider donating plasma. Individuals must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test and meet other donor criteria for blood or plasma donation, as specified by the collection facility.
Can people who are unsure if they are infected by COVID-19 donate?
Individuals who are unsure if they are infected are recommended to get tested for COVID-19. To donate CCP, individuals must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 and meet other donor criteria for blood or plasma donation, as specified by the collection facility.
Can individuals who were not infected with COVID-19 still donate blood?
People who have not been infected with COVID-19 are encouraged to continue donating blood or plasma for other medical purposes to help blood centers across the country cope with rising demand for blood supply.
Will I lose my immunity to COVID-19 if I donate my plasma?
Donating plasma does not significantly weaken your body’s immune system or its ability to fight off the virus that causes COVID-19.
How safe is plasma donation?
Thousands of people safely donate plasma every day. The collection process uses sterile tubing and supplies for each donation. The tubing and supplies are discarded after each collection and are never reused. Blood does not come in contact with the collection machine. Donors can visit the blood centers and source plasma collector websites for more information about safety precautions available at collection facilities
What precautions are donor centers taking to ensure the safety of donors from re-infection?
In addition to regular precautions and safety mechanisms, several extra precautions are taken to prevent re-infection of COVID-19. These are a few of the extra precautions that donor centers take:
Pre-entry screening for COVID-19
Following social distancing guidelines
Enhanced personal protective equipment used by staff
Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures
Where can plasma be donated?
There are hundreds of FDA licensed donor centers and hospitals across the United States where plasma can be donated. Donors can donate at blood centers – American Red Cross or America’s Blood Centers, such as OneBlood. Donors can also give at source plasma collectors. Donors can find their nearest donor centers by visiting one of the links on the FDA website or thefightisinus.org.
How many times can a donor donate?
Individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and are willing to donate their blood plasma are encouraged to donate as many times as allowed by the donor center. Donor centers may have additional guidelines. Generally, an individual can donate their plasma multiple times, based on guidelines from donors and the collection center. We encourage donors to donate as many times as possible to maximize CCP availability. Consulting a doctor is recommended to address any concerns or to seek additional guidance.
How long does it take?
Depending on the collection facility, a CCP donation takes between 90 minutes and 3 hours . Return visits for additional donations can often be quicker as the donor’s information is already in the system.
FAQs: USG Strategy Efforts to Encourage Donation & Collection
FAQs: USG Strategy Efforts to Encourage Donation & Collection
How is the US Government raising awareness?
Efforts were initiated across three main streams:
A broad-based national awareness effort is being pursued, through FDA website and The Fight Is In Us campaign to promote awareness on CCP donation, provide donor resources and directions to the collection centers for donation
Multiple USG agencies and external stakeholders like state / local / community officials, leaders and celebrities are being engaged to explore mechanisms to engage patients / donors at a local / community level.
Furthermore, external organizations are also being engaged to help with direct donor outreach – to known confirmed recovered patients (e.g., associations of providers/physicians, commercial payers, public health and contact tracing agencies, etc.).
Is there enough collection capacity to handle donations?
The USG is coordinating with major blood / plasma collection centers, hospitals and source plasma collectors across public and private sectors to monitor and assess collection capacity needs. Active steps are being taken to expand collection capabilities in prioritized hotspot areas to cover white spaces and make collection centers accessible to areas with high density of donor population.
How is USG expanding collection capabilities?
In hotspot areas with high incidence of infections and high density of potential donor population, collection capacity is being expanded along two fronts:
Current capacity is being maximized by expanding existing collection facilities for blood / plasma collection, academic medical centers and hospitals
New capacity is being created through temporary collection centers and fleet of mobile collection units – to extend accessibility to potential donors
What areas should be prioritized to encourage donation?
Areas with high population of eligible donors – those who have recovered from COVID-19 and meet regular plasma donation criteria, are being prioritized. As the rates of incidence of infections (over past ~8 weeks) keep evolving across the country, the priority areas are updated. Initial focus includes 15 hotspot areas with a high density of potential donors. Within these priority areas, local awareness campaigns and direct donor outreach are planned to maximize CCP awareness and donations.
Interment for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg will occur today, Sept. 29, at Arlington National Cemetery in a private ceremony. The United States flag should return to full-staff display at sunset today, with the exception of any states having a governor’s half-staff order in place for other observances.
A phone call routed to a non-crisis line helped save the life of a veteran sitting in a parking lot contemplating suicide.
“I was the right person at the right time for him to reach,” said Dave Lydon, a 16-year Legionnaire and a four-year service officer at Flagler County Veterans Services in Bunnell, Fla. “My life experiences helped me that day. Because if you get that call, it can be shocking. It’s a lot of responsibility to make sure he doesn’t take that firearm and end it there.”
The Vietnam veteran making the distress call was unfortunately on the phone for 15 minutes being transferred several times, “which could mean life or death,” Lydon said, before the final transfer to veterans service office – Lydon’s phone. “It may be divine intervention that I was the right person on that day to pick up. I feel blessed that I was able to help him that day. He needed somebody to listen to him.”
The veteran in distress served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He shared that hearing the numbers of those deceased from COVID-19 over the radio and news reminded him of hearing the body counts of American servicemembers from the war. That, along with having to quarantine because of the virus and other life issues became too much for him.
“He didn’t feel like he was of use to anybody anymore,” Lydon said. “That’s what I hear a lot of people who are suicidal is that they don’t feel like they’re valued anymore, and I think he was feeling that way. Part of our discussion was letting him know that there’s people who need you in their life. He had a jovial attitude once we started talking, he was a funny guy. I said you know, you’ve got a good sense of humor and how do you know you’re not still on this earth – even if it’s just somebody at the gas pump that you say a kind word to who may be having a bad day thinking they have no value – but because you say a kind word it changes their whole trajectory. How do you know that’s not what you’re still here to do? Or to tell your grandkids how to live a good life.
“Fortunately, I got him past that point of what he was contemplating.”
Lydon knew the caller was in distress. “I didn’t want to scare him off the phone so I let him keep talking and little by little I would ask him, ‘Where are you?’” That’s when Lydon learned they were in the same county. The caller thought he had reached a call center in another state.
Lydon invited the caller to his office to talk. About 20 minutes later, the two were sitting together and talking about family, life, their military service and more for nearly three hours.
“He left here in much better spirits, with a different outlook,” Lydon said. “I checked with him by text that evening. He wrote back saying he was doing OK.”
The veteran made another visit recently to Lydon’s office to file a VA claim.
Lydon used life experiences when speaking with the veteran in distress – he’s a retired New York state police officer, entering his 36th year in the Air Force Reserve, and returned home earlier this year from a deployment to the Middle East where he visited 21 U.S. bases to meet the troops and check on their morale.
Lydon said the caller appreciated that he was speaking to another veteran, “that I understood. I understood the military and what veterans experience.”
Lydon shared a few reminders when you receive a call from a veteran in distress.
Be positive and be a good listener.
Keep them talking until you know you have them past that period of time where they are thinking about doing it.
Give them your time.
“Are you ready? Are you ready to get that call?” Lydon asks. “In today’s climate we talk about what are you going to do for a distressed veteran to prevent suicide. But do you really give it some thought about how are you are going to react. What are you going to say. What are you going to do if you get that call. I just feel fortunate that I have enough experience in life that I was able to handle it the way I did.
“In cases like this, they are looking for someone to convince them why not to.”
VA’s Crisis Line
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and veterans, servicemembers and their loved ones can connect in confidence with VA responders 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Here’s how:
The American Legion – SEP 17, 2020 | The American Legion’s federal charter requires the submission of an annual report to Congress on activities for the year. More than 8,840 of the 12,637 American Legion posts submitted a Consolidated Post Report (CPR) for the 2019-2020 membership year by its deadline of July 1. That’s an average completion rate of 70 percent. American Legion National Commander Bill Oxford challenged and encouraged departments to hit 100 percent reporting. One hundred percent reporting is one of four requirements to achieve the Post Excellence Award.
Nine departments answered Oxford’s challenge and achieved 100 percent reporting – Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oregon. A few department leaders share how they did it.
Department of North Carolina. “Every post has a story to share,” said Department Adjutant Randy Cash. “The American Legion Department of North Carolina had a special incentive to reach 100 percent Consolidated Post Reporting for 2019-2020. National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford hails from the ‘Tarheel’ state. Having served at the post, district, division and department level, as well as on committees and commissions at the national level, Commander Oxford understands the critical importance of these reports. Through his encouragement and leadership, the Department of North Carolina mapped out a plan to achieve 100 percent post participation.
“Soon after the 2019 National Convention in Indianapolis, department leadership began sending out information to posts emphasizing the importance of the CPR. Electronic newsletters, emails, bulletins, the NC Legion newspaper, and district, division and department meetings were all utilized to help emphasize the role the CPR plays in shaping The American Legion at the local and national level.
“The CPR is a barometer to measure the impact and effectiveness of the Legion, and a checklist for the individual post to determine if they are fulfilling the vision of our founders. We emphasized that the CPR is more than a ‘paper drill.’ It is a significant tool to use in support of our nation’s veterans.
“Administratively, district commanders are required to visit a post at least once a year and record all programs and community support. The department designed a new district commander form to better capture post activity and to make it more compatible with the CPR. The form helps facilitate a more seamless transfer of information to the CPR and better highlight the significant accomplishments of the individual post.
“In addition, department staff and the Membership, Post Activity, Post Organization and Revitalization Committee, and district commanders worked together as a team to collect information, confirm activity or events, and assist posts in capturing relevant data. Other tools such as department-level Buddy Checks, post websites and Facebook pages were additional resources in telling the Legion story in North Carolina. District commanders, the Membership Committee and department staff directly supported the 30 to 40 percent of posts needing assistance with the process.
“The COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges. At the same time, it presents many opportunities. Even though we are having to adjust some of our day-to-day operating procedures, it reinforces the need for communication, teamwork and creativity.”
Department of Florida. “The Department of Florida recognized that while the unprecedented event of a world pandemic brought months of uncertainty as posts closed their doors and members remained in lockdown, it is in moments like these that Legionnaires may need a reminder of the great work they had done for their communities,” said Department of Florida Commander William “Rick” Johnson. “It is also in moments like these that Florida’s membership continues to rise to the occasion, by not only contacting fellow members via Buddy Checks, but collecting food and goods to distribute to the children and families also hit hard by COVID. And while we knew that large-scale events were out of the question, it is small actions like these that can and should be reflected on the Consolidated Post Reports and needs to be celebrated.
“The department also knew that nine months’ worth of dedication and support of the Legion’s Four Pillars should not be wiped away just because a post had to shut its doors. We decided to make it a priority to collect the Consolidated Post Reports from all Legion posts in the state so that each and every member could view the final statistics and feel pride in knowing that they had a hand in reaching those goals. The CPR is one small puzzle piece that when put together shows the greater picture of a year’s worth of work and dedication the men and women of The American Legion have done without expecting a word of thanks or recognition.
“We accomplished 100 percent reporting through sending weekly updates reminding post, district and area officers of the deadline date and the importance of what the statistics mean not only to Florida veterans and the communities they serve, but to veterans across the nation. District commanders were also instrumental in collecting the CPRs, prompting post adjutants and commanders to complete their end of year reports and submit it to state headquarters.
“Finally, in the weeks leading up to national’s July 1 deadline, Department of Florida personnel called posts that had not yet reported to offer assistance and guidance to complete and turn in their Consolidated Post Report.”
Department of Indiana. “Achieving 100 percent reporting took a concerted effort between our department headquarters staff and leadership in the field,” said John Crosby, Department of Indiana adjutant. “First, the department commander and leadership stressed the importance of the Consolidated Post Report, explaining that this document is our report card to Congress, statehouse, and local officials detailing who we are and how we change lives in our communities across the Hoosier state. Incentivized programs, to include the U.S. Minted American Legion centennial coins for district commanders that reported 100 percent by deadline, were communicated as early as October of last membership year. Constant communication between department down through districts and posts continued throughout the year using every tool necessary to us including our department publication “Hoosier Legionnaire”, digital newsletter, social media, internal email, and word of mouth from conferences, district and post meetings. Without the hard work of our blue cap Legionnaires in the field, this success would not have been possible.”
Department of Maryland. Department Commander Philip Dorsey gave Second Vice Commander Ronald Holcombe the role of calling all post commanders and adjutants to remind them that June 30 was the cutoff date to have CPRs in to the department. “Thanks to my second vice commander, he stayed on top of it. He didn’t let it rest (until all CPRs were in),” Dorsey said. For the 2020-2021 membership year, completing a CPR is one of three requirements for posts in Maryland to receive membership awards.
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 27, 2020) – American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford issued the following statement regarding Hurricane Laura’s destructive path along the Gulf Coast:
“The American Legion extends its support and prayers to those impacted by Hurricane Laura. Right now, priority one is saving lives. When the danger subsides, the clean-up and recovery begins. The American Legion Family has a number of support programs for our members to include Temporary Financial Assistance and a National Emergency Fund. TFA grants are also available to eligible active-duty servicemembers with minor children in the home. We have American Legion posts across the country that will offer their own forms of assistance as well. I have directed our national staff to maintain regular communications with the impacted departments to ensure that we do everything we can to help those in need. For now, people with inquiries can call our Louisiana American Legion Department Adjutant, Tony Betts (337) 652-5072 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Texas American Legion can be contacted at (512) 472-4138 or email@example.com. More details will be released at www.legion.org during the coming days.”
Oxford also pointed out that Americans can contribute to charities which help recovery efforts by donating to The American Legion National Emergency Fund or Veterans & Children Foundation at legion.org/donate or by sending a check to either of those charities at The American Legion, P.O. Box 361626, Indianapolis, IN 46236.
Department of Florida American Legion Family Members,
After a lot of hard work by so many people, too many to mention, I am happy to report to you that our Social Quarters can be open and serve alcoholic beverages with food under the below mentioned specified guidelines. Of course this does not apply to the three counties that are still under Phase 1.
We explained to our elected officials that our Post Homes that have Social Quarters (canteens) are much more than a “bar” they are where our members meet, exchange pleasantries, discuss our programs, develop strategies for our community involvement and at the same time raise money to take care of our veterans, their families and the communities in which we live. It was explained that all of our funding is from these grass roots activities and keeping our Posts with Social Quarters closed was prohibiting us from accomplishing our Mission.
Below, you will be able to click on a document from the Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), Mr. Michael B. Johnston. Posts with a valid Liquor License may serve alcoholic beverages with food (as long as you have a food service license or permit from a regulatory authority – (DoH, FDACS or your county) on premises while observing 50% or below capacity, and observing other state and local guidance on sanitation and social distancing to prevent the risk and exposure and spread of illness during this pandemic (i.e. masks, sanitizing, temperature taking, etc.)
Should any Post experience a problem with an ABT Inspector, please give them the attached document and immediately call either myself or the Department Adjutant Michael McDaniel so we can help to resolve the issue.
You can view the document either by clicking on the button below or the document displayed below. Once you have the document displayed on your screen you can right click on it to save it to your computer. If you have problems saving it to your computer, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and a copy will be emailed to you.
Service, Honor, Sacrifice.
William “Rick” Johnson, Commander
The American Legion
Department of Florida
I wanted to let you know of a special opportunity this week for American Legion members.
On Wednesday, you are invited to participate in a tele-town hall that will allow Legionnaires to ask questions directly to Dr. Paul R. Lawrence, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Under Secretary for Benefits.
American Legion Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Commission Chairman Ralph Bozella will serve as a special guest host for the town hall that will take place from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday. Legionnaires can participate by calling (833) 380-0417; and press *3 to ask a question.
Topics to be covered include how VBA is operating through the pandemic, and updates on Blue Water Navy veterans and the Veterans Benefits Banking Program.
This is a great opportunity and I look forward to as many American Legion members participating as possible.
From: National Historian James “Jim” A. Mariner To: Department Historians, Department Adjutants, Past National Historians and
NADHAL Members Date: June 22, 2020
First, I hope everyone is doing well and keeping safe with our worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Just imagine what our founding members would think returning from WWI with the worldwide flu pandemic from 1918 through 1920. As we continue with our Buddy Checks and what we do to serve America’s communities, states, and nation we are laying a “A FOUNDATION FOR THE FUTURE.”
With cancellations and postponement of many programs, conventions and events and considering some departments do their judging at the Department Convention and others do not, we wanted to be fair to all for our 2019–2020 National History Book Contest. A recently received e-mail from National Adjutant Daniel Wheeler included a revised schedule for the 2020 October Meetings in Indianapolis, Indiana due to COVID-19 Social Distancing. These changes have been made for the safety of everyone.
The 2019–2020 National History Book Contest will be postponed until the Spring 2021 NEC Meeting and will still be using the 2019 Officer’s Guide (hard copy or online copy) criteria for the 2019–2020 timeframe. The new deadline for National History Book Certification Forms will be April 2, 2021. The New Historians Workshop has also been cancelled as part of the 2020 October Meetings.
In our Department of New Mexico, we plan to have the 2019-2020 history books mailed before and/or hand carried to our Mid-Winter Conference in early February 2021 where we can hold the judging and declaring winners before the May 2021 Spring NEC Meetings for our National History Book Contests. Again, this will be using the 2019 Officer’s Guide (hard copy or online copy) for the 2019–2020 timeline for the year history. All our departments have different ways of holding their Department History Book Contests, so this is a change but as U.S.A. military, veterans and Legionnaires we adapt and go forth to carry on our American Legion history tradition.
NADHAL will meet electronically for the Fall 2020 Indianapolis, Indiana meetings at a time yet to be determined. As NADHAL we need a big thank you to all our national staff working on our Fall 2020 Meetings with electronic meetings and social distancing keeping all of us safe. NADHAL committees are currently working on electronic history books judging, logistics and rules for any future national disasters or future national pandemics. Currently, we need to carry on our tradition of our hard copy history books. We look forward to our NADHAL electronic meeting.
More details and information on the Spring 2021 Meetings to include our National History Book Contest judging will be coming closer to the meeting dates.
In closing, while keeping safe with adaption and change during these unprecedented times please remember preserving and recording our history is important as we are building “A FOUNDATION FOR THE FUTURE.”
“For God and Country”
James “Jim” A. Mariner
The American Legion