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Department of Florida

Category Archives: National

Employment Opportunity

Department Director

The American Legion is seeking a qualified and committed individual to supervise the Department Veterans Service Division.  The American Legion of Washington is a non-profit Veterans Service Organization chartered by the US Congress in 1919.  It is committed to serving veterans and their families, our local communities and the United States of America.

Location

The primary office is located in the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, WA.  There are multiple subordinate offices located throughout the state.

Duties:

The Department Service Officer is the Director of The American Legion Service Division responsible for a wide range of professional level work including the supervision and administration of the veterans service program throughout the State of Washington.

  • Supervise 16 – 25 full time and part time employees working at various locations throughout the state
  • Develop and administer the Department Service Division annual budget
  • Represent The American Legion at federal, state and community meetings
  • Provide advice and assistance to veterans and their family members regarding VA benefits and programs
  • Research, prepare and present written and oral arguments before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals Adjudication Officers in Seattle
  • Participate in 12 annual District conferences, annual Department Mid-Winter conference, annual Department convention, annual National convention, National training seminars and other meetings/conferences throughout the state and nation
  • Develop and manage the veterans’ service officer training program
  • Act as the Department Commander’s representative to the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Oversee Washington State contracts with the Service Division of The American Legion Department of Washington
  • Oversee all other contracts between other agencies and the Service Division of The American Legion Department of Washington

Desirable Qualifications:

The successful applicant will possess the knowledge, skills and abilities gained though education and experience to excel in the areas of program administration, personnel supervision, management and budget planning and oversight.  Training pertaining to VA case law and VA benefits programs will be provided.  The candidate should possess the following attributes.

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both written and oral
  • Strong leadership abilities
  • Ability to apply quality standards effectively
  • Ability to prepare and administer budgets
  • Excellent presentation skills
  • Experienced with common word processing, spreadsheet and presentation computer programs including MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Demonstrated ability to develop relationships with executive managers

How to Apply:

Mail, FAX or email resume and letter of interest to The American Legion Department of Washington, PO Box 3917, Lacey, WA 98509-3917; FAX (360) 491-7442 or adjutant@walegion.org.

Final Date to Apply:

Resumes must be received at the Department of Washington office no later than September 20, 2019.

Special Notes:

  1. This is a salaried position that may require occasional work beyond normal office hours and on weekends.
  2. Travel by airplane and automobile is required to fulfill the requirements of this position.
  3. The incumbent serves at the direction of the Department of Washington State Commander

Selection Process:

The Department Commander has appointed a selection committee to review the résumés, select applicants for interview and conduct the interviews of the candidates.  Initial interviews will be conducted in Lacey, WA with subsequent interviews in Seattle, WA, as required.

Compensation

The salary range for this position is $45,000- $55,000.  Benefits include 401K retirement plan and paid vacation and sick leave.  Health, dental and life insurance is available with employee contribution.

Veterans Preference:

Only wartime era veterans eligible for membership in The American Legion can be considered for this position.  The American Legion is an equal opportunity employer and actively supports diversity in the workplace.  Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and persons over 40 years of age are also encouraged to apply.

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FAQs about the change from ‘wives’ to ‘spouses’ in the Legion’s Constitution

By The American Legion Auxiliary, August 31, 2019

The American Legion Constitution and Bylaws has been updated to replace the word “wife” with “spouse,” related to the membership criteria for the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA).

Here are some common questions and answers to what this means going forward:

Question: Why change ALA membership eligibility?
Answer: In 1920, veterans were almost 100 percent male so the ALA was formed as the organization for the spouses of the veteran — those spouses just happened to be women.

Today, an estimated 16 percent of enlisted people and 18 percent of officers are women, who may be married to a non-veteran. To keep the ALA as the organization that supports spouses of the veteran, we need to change the ALA’s definition from wives to spouses, thereby updating the organization to represent the changing makeup of the military.

Q: How can this change help ALA membership?
A: Think about female spouses who are alone as their husband is deployed. They have the ALA to lean on. Who can the male spouse rely on? With this eligibility change, now male spouses who are ALA members can receive the same support while their wives are deployed.

Q: Would this change need to be approved by Congress?
A: No, because the American Legion Auxiliary is not chartered by Congress. The American Legion, which was chartered by Congress, created the ALA. The Legion approved the ALA to operate as a separate corporation; however, The American Legion has always set the eligibility requirements of the ALA in their bylaws.

Q: What about the previous communications issued by former ALA leadership claiming this change could not happen? Why is that information inaccurate?
A: Previously released messaging could have been interpreted by members to mean ALA needs congressional approval for this change to happen. That information is inaccurate. The American Legion Auxiliary is not chartered by Congress.

Q: ALA refers to itself as the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. How can we allow men to join?
A: Now that the resolution has been adopted by The American Legion, the Auxiliary will no longer call itself the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization.

Q: How would this change affect the American Legion Auxiliary membership application or signing up new members?
A: We anticipate taking applications on Sept. 1.

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Legion updates Auxiliary eligibility criteria from ‘wives’ to ‘spouses’

National, Henry Howard, Aug 31, 2019

During The American Legion’s 101st National Convention, delegates approved changes to the Constitution and Bylaws to replace the word “wife” with “spouse,” related to the membership criteria for the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA).

The American Legion, which was chartered by Congress, created the ALA. For that reason, the ALA operates as a separate corporation and does not need congressional approval for an eligibility change. The American Legion’s bylaws have always set the eligibility requirements of the ALA.

“We are happy to welcome eligible male spouses of veterans and servicemembers to the American Legion Family,” ALA National President Nicole Clapp said. “This is consistent with our longstanding legacy of embracing military families and supporting them any way we can.”

The ALA expects to begin taking applications for new potential members Sept. 1.

The change to Article XIII now reads as such:

The American Legion recognizes an auxiliary organization, known as The American Legion Auxiliary.

Membership in The American Legion Auxiliary shall be limited to the:

(1) grandmothers, mothers, sisters, spouses, and direct and adopted female descendants of members of The American Legion; and

(2) grandmothers, mothers, sisters, spouses, and direct and adopted female descendants of all men and women who served in either of the following periods: April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918, and any time after December 7, 1941, who, being a citizen of the United States at the time of their entry therein served on active duty in the Armed Forces of any of the governments associated with the United States during either eligibility periods and died in the line of duty or after honorable discharge;

(3) grandmothers, mothers, sisters, spouses, and direct and adopted female descendants of all men and women who were in the Armed Forces of the United States during either of the following periods: April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918; and any time after December 7, 1941 who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States during either eligibility periods and died in the line of duty or after honorable discharge; and

(4) to those women who of their own right are eligible for membership in The American Legion.

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Legion to Congress: ‘Fix the Gold Star Kiddie Tax!’

INDIANAPOLIS,( August 19, 2019)—The head of The American Legion called on Congress to address a tax that unfairly penalizes Gold Star families once lawmakers return to Washington.

“There is a real problem with this provision of the tax reform but the Senate and the House already passed different solutions to fix it,” National Commander Brett P. Reistad said of the measure. “For many Gold Star family members the tax penalty has become unbearable. In some cases the taxes on the survivor’s benefits received after a military member’s death have increased from $1,000 a year in 2018 to nearly $4,500 in 2019. It re-defines certain benefits for children as ‘unearned income,’ subjecting them to higher rates. Increasing the tax burden on these families who lost a loved one is unconscionable.”

The law, which is often referred to as “the kiddie tax,” increases the marginal tax rate for some to as much as 37 percent.

“It’s outrageous to hammer these families with such an unjust tax hike. Haven’t they already sacrificed enough? How can a family plan its financial future for such things as rent, food or the basic necessities of life when the tax rate on the important benefits they received is held up in limbo? In addition to the ‘kiddie tax,’ there is a ‘widow’s tax’ that The American Legion has long opposed.” Reistad said. “The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act includes the elimination of the widow’s tax and The American Legion has called on the Senate conferees to adopt the same language and pass it as part of the budget deal as soon as they return from recess.”

With a current membership of nearly two million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, patriotic youth programs and Americanism. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 13,000 posts worldwide. From the drafting of the original GI Bill to the creation of the Department of Veterans Affairs, The American Legion is the most influential voice for America’s veterans. The American Legion, www.legion.org, will be celebrating its centennial through Veteran Day.

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Legion Commander on Shootings: Evil Will Not Triumph

(INDIANAPOLIS, August 5, 2019) — The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization issued the following statement in response to the recent mass shootings:

“From Gilroy, California to El Paso, Texas to Dayton, Ohio – there are just no words to fully express the outrage that The American Legion feels toward the perpetrators of these horrific acts, which is only outweighed by the compassion and sorrow that we feel for the families impacted,” National Commander Brett P. Reistad said. “There are no simple solutions that will totally stop such atrocities from occurring. But we must put politics aside and prioritize civility. We must open our minds and consider ideas that will make our communities safer. Veterans didn’t fight in wars abroad only to witness carnage at home. Support the first responders and donate blood. Express your concerns to authorities when you see troubling behavior that could develop into something worse. Above all, love thy neighbor. Evil will not triumph.”

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The American Legion Welcomes President’s Signing of LEGION Act

President Donald J. Trump signs S. 504, the Let Everyone Get Involved in Opportunities for National Service (LEGION) Act Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House. Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

(INDIANAPOLIS, July 30, 2019) — The head of the nation’s largest veterans organization thanked President Trump for signing a bipartisan act which will recognize veterans who served during periods not previously considered “wartime.”

The Let Everyone Get Involved In Opportunities for National Service Act (LEGION Act) opens the door for millions of veterans to access American Legion programs and benefits for which they previously had not been eligible.

“We are grateful that President Trump fully acknowledges the importance of The American Legion by signing the LEGION Act in the White House today – just one week after it passed the House of Representatives,” National Commander Brett P. Reistad said. “In an era of partisan gridlock, Republicans and Democrats in Congress overwhelmingly recognized the importance of allowing millions of honorable but previously ineligible veterans the right to join the largest and most influential veterans organization in the country.”

The gaps in the war eras were largely during the Cold War, a time when threats to U.S. national security was real, especially to the men and women serving in uniform. Overall, about 1,600 U.S. servicemembers were killed or wounded in hostile operations during periods that were not previously recognized as times of war by the federal government.

“Recognizing the service of these wartime veterans is the right thing do and it is long overdue,” Reistad said. “The families of those who were killed or wounded during these wartime acts should take pride in knowing that we recognize their sacrifice and service. Moreover, we are proud to welcome any of the six million living veterans from the previously unrecognized periods into our organization and call them ‘Legionnaires.’”

Reistad points out that existing American Legion membership applications are in the process of being updated but can still be used. “In the meantime, I recommend that prospective Legionnaires and recruiters write ‘LEGION Act’ in the eligibility date section of American Legion membership applications if they fall outside the previous war eras,” Reistad said. “The larger pool of veterans now eligible for The American Legion will also open their family members to eligibility in the Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary as well.”

With a current membership of nearly two million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, patriotic youth programs and Americanism. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 13,000 posts worldwide. From the drafting of the original GI Bill to the creation of the Department of Veterans Affairs, The American Legion is the most influential voice for America’s veterans. The American Legion, www.legion.org, will be celebrating its centennial through Veterans Day.

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The American Legion and The Hawthorne Gardening Company team up to support wounded, ill and injured veterans in local communities

INDIANAPOLIS (July 24, 2019) — The nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization and a leader and pioneer in the gardening industry will join forces to help veterans overcome the mental and physical wounds suffered during deployment. The American Legion announced today that The Hawthorne Gardening Company will support its Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program, which provides supplies and equipment that play an important role in the rehabilitation and quality of life for wounded warriors and veterans.

“Today’s veteran is recovering from illnesses and injuries in traditional and non-traditional ways,” said American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad. “Some of the more creative ways aren’t included in military and VA budgets. Whether it is loose-fitting sweat suits to cover their healing wounds, fitness equipment to rebuild strength or a fun outing that helps them reintegrate into society, The American Legion, with incredible support from companies like Hawthorne, is filling a need.”

To kick off the relationship, Hawthorne and The American Legion will host a respite event in August in Tacoma, Washington with 500 veterans and their families. The gift from Hawthorne will also be used to support additional emergent grant requests through the end of 2020.

“Support for our nation’s veterans is a responsibility we all share,” said Chris Hagedorn, senior vice president and general manager of Hawthorne Gardening Company. “More than ever, our country’s veterans need our support and The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors program is able to provide recovery items and services that are tailored to the individual needs of service members. This is especially important to me as a member of a family with military roots as well as a proud employer of military veterans.”

Each year The American Legion awards approximately 25 grants that provide support at military hospitals, warrior transition units and VA medical facilities across the country. For more information about the Operation Comfort Warriors program visit legion.org/ocw.

About The Hawthorne Gardening Company
Hawthorne Gardening Co. is a house of brands that provide an incredible array of tools for a multitude of gardening needs, and yet, all share one mission: to help people live happier, healthier lives through gardening. Our company is dedicated to creating high-quality products founded in social and environmental responsibility. We create engaging consumer experiences and products with the ease and innovation to empower more people to garden — no matter where they chose to grow.

Contact: Cheryl Hall
Email: agency@legion.org

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Massachusetts Student Elected President of the 2019 American Legion Boys Nation; Montana Student Elected Vice President

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 23, 2019) – Two prominent leaders emerged from Boys Nation Tuesday night.

Lou Acevedo, of Gardner, Mass., was elected president of The American Legion Boys Nation at Marymount University for the 2019 program. During the election, which was run as a mock presidential campaign, Acevedo won against the delegate from Kentucky, Jack Cogbill.

Boys Nation, a signature program of the nation’s largest veterans’ service organization, provides an intensive week-long, hands-on education in American politics and the legislative system for a select group of high school students each year.

An incoming senior at Monty Tech Regional High School, Acevedo plans on attending the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to become an engine officer in the Merchant Marines or a machinist/mold maker.

“Giving somebody a trade is giving somebody a chance,” Acevedo said. “I don’t know where I’d be without my trade and my skills now.”

Also elected Tuesday night was Boys Nation Vice President Thomas Penley of Helena, Mont. He defeated Ryan Dudley of Connecticut.

Two representatives from each of the 50 Boys States represent their home state or, in the case of the District of Columbia, their district as a senator. The senators caucus at the beginning of the session, organize into committees and conduct hearings on bills, allowing delegates to learn the proper legislative procedures according to the U.S. Senate. Activities include mock party conventions, legislative elections, debates, speeches and visits to Capitol Hill and other historical sites. Delegates will also visit the offices of their state’s respective members of Congress and present bills of their own creation.

Since Boys Nation began in 1946, a number of its graduates have been elected to public office, including presidents, congressmen, state governors and state legislators.

Media contact: Andy Proffet, wproffet@legion.org

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S.21 and H.R. 367, the “Pay Our Coast Guard Act”

 Take Action!

Contact your Senators and Representative today

The American Legion must continue to serve as a powerful voice for veterans. Our voice in our nation’s capital is only as strong as our membership allows us to be. The American Legion’s Legionnaires, Auxiliary members, and Sons of The American Legion are the heart and soul of our organization.

Today, we need your help in contacting your members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Please use the prepared message or your own letter to ask them to cosponsor and pass S.21 and H.R. 367, respectively. Your member needs to encourage congressional leadership to bring the Pay Our Coast Guard Act to the floor for a vote, and to promise to vote for this legislation, to ensure our members of the Coast Guard do not go without pay ever again.

Members of the US Coast Guard should never find their pay jeopardized because of partisan unrest in Washington D.C. There is a constant and real threat, because of any government shutdown, that without the action of Congress, the Coast Guard may not be able to pay their members. With the current political climate, we need Congress to take immediate bipartisan action. A select number of members of Congress have come together in bipartisan fashion to introduce S.21 and H.R. 367, the Pay Our Coast Guard Act, in this 116th Congress.

Earlier this year, the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history came to an end, stopping what had been more than a three-week gap since more than 41,000 active-duty members of the U.S. Coast Guard had been paid. The American Legion’s Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) program was able to provide more than $1 million in non-repayable grants to approximately 1,713 Coast Guard families with 3,170 children.

TFA grants, like the ones distributed to Coast Guard families affected by the shutdown, are made possible through donations to The American Legion Veterans and Children Foundation at www.legion.org/donate. The foundation supports veterans and military families in need, as well as American Legion service officers who provide free VA benefits and health care assistance to veterans.

Contact your Senator and Representative today to tell them to pay the Coast Guard!

“The brave members of our Coast Guard risk their lives defending us daily, just like their sister services in the Department of Defense…. Whether they are performing rescues during a hurricane or stopping drug traffickers at sea, members of the Coast Guard regularly perform heroic and lifesaving tasks on our behalf. They should not have to worry about bills and living expenses just because Congress and the White House cannot agree on a budget.” – Brett P. Reistad, National Commander

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Legion Announces Recipients of 4th Estate Journalism Awards

INDIANAPOLIS (May 17, 2019) – A San Francisco Bay-area television news station, a community newspaper and an influential online media outlet will receive The American Legion’s Fourth Estate Award during the 101st National Convention of the nation’s largest veterans organization in Indianapolis, on August 29.

The Fourth Estate Award has been presented annually by The American Legion since 1958 for outstanding achievement in the field of journalism. Nominations in 2019 were considered in three categories: broadcast, print and new media (Internet). They were selected by the organization’s Media & Communications Commission on May 6 and announced today.

Taking top honor in the broadcast category is San Francisco NBC-affiliate KNTV. In a comprehensive series titled “Failure to Report: Sex Abuse Victims Silenced,” the stationed examined allegations of sexual abuse made by student of a private high school in San Jose. As a result of the station’s reporting, the school revised its policies on the handling of abuse accusations, two teachers were put on administrative leave and the school’s president resigned.

The Republican of Springfield, Mass., is being recognized in the print category for its profile of World War II Army Nurse Corps veteran Louise Fleming. “There is another side of war, a time when beauty appears,” the feature said. The piece, authored by managing editor Cynthia Simison, highlights the distinguished service by Fleming and fulfills The American Legion’s longtime goal of promoting the honorable nature of military service.

The Fourth Estate New Media Award is going to Military.com. Reporter Oriana Pawlyk wrote about an Air Force policy prohibiting its pilots from using the HIV-preventative drug Truvada, despite its approval for use by members of other military branches. Shortly after the report was published, 14 members of Congress signed a letter to the Air Force secretary. The service soon after reversed its policy.

“As a veterans organization, The American Legion cherishes the U.S. Constitution, the First Amendment and the special role that a free press plays in our society,” said Brett. P. Reistad, national commander of The American Legion. “The American Legion would not be nearly as effective without media coverage of our positions and programs on the national and community level. The Fourth Estate Awards represent the best of the best. These award winners are being recognized for outstanding works of journalism that not only stand far above normal media reporting, but have also resulted in outcomes that have positively impacted the lives of people and issues. These committed journalists have devoted long, hard hours into investigating, researching, writing and producing reports that have truly made a difference.

“I will be honored to present each of these deserving recipients with our highest recognition of journalistic accomplishment, The American Legion Fourth Estate Award, at our national convention in Indianapolis this summer,” Reistad said. “They are all credits to their profession.”

Previous winners of the award include CNN, CBS, USA Today, ABC News, C-SPAN, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Life Magazine, among others.

The American Legion was founded by World War I veterans in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and patriotic youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 13,000 posts across the nation.

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