Department of Florida

Commander’s Corner

Rick Johnson, Department Commander

Hello everybody. This has been a long and eventful journey for all. Being your Commander is going to be one of the best positions I will ever hold. Being your voice and spokesperson I will NOT let you down. You voted me for this great position as I will serve you proud. We have to make some changes for the next 100 years to keep this great organization moving forward and continue doing what we do best.

As we say every year that membership keeps us going. With 1.3 million veterans in the State of Florida, we need to get more visible within the communities that our pre amble states. We need to find a better way to get our younger veterans and the families more involved in our organization. This year we will have two membership chairman covering the State of Florida. The state is just too big for one person to cover. North of highway 50 will be the north area and south of highway 50 will be the south. I have two great legionaries that have volunteered for those positions. Bob Brewster in the north and Steve Schalata in the south.

They will start helping the post who has not been doing that well in the past three years and will be at the post one on one to assist in their membership. My charities this year will be Project Vet Relief and COTA. The monies raised will stay in the State of Florida for Florida families and veterans. My goal is $75,000 for the year. At the Fall Conference, we will have a contest Curls for COTA where a COTA family will be cutting hair on stage. The 3rd Vice Gambler has agreed to cut his pony tail off (number to be decided) after that then Gambler and myself will get a crew-cut and the more money raised, we will be getting shaved on stage.

Thinking outside the box and most of all having fun will lead us to success. Communication as every year is very important for us to succeed to make 2019-2020 a great year. I have requested from all the District Commanders all their dates that they have now so we can plan and make all events very well attended. I have put together another chairmanship as special events chairman. This chair will search throughout the state to find events going on in different communities and get the word out. This way we should be more visible in our communities.
I want everyone to HAVE FUN this year and as that happens, the membership will rise the way we want it to. If someone out there who has a chair or district position or above and can no longer do their job, it is not a disgrace to step down and take a break as we all know how demanding some of these positions are. We need to start doing our jobs that we volunteered for by raising our right hands again. Veterans serving veterans.

So thank you all again as I will be out there representing YOU the great Florida Family and again I promise to make you proud.

Donation request letters – Be sure to double check where the letter is coming from…

There are other American Legion Departments, including the National Headquarters that are soliciting donations to the Florida membership. Please make sure you DOUBLE CHECK where the letter is coming from and where they’re asking you to send in your donations.

The Department of Florida DOES NOT receive any portion of the donations going to National and other Departments. In order to insure your donation is staying within our state and benefitting our Veterans and their families, send them to the Department of Florida Headquarters Office.

Check out these photos below. If you take a closer look, these mailings are from National Headquarters and the Department of Oklahoma.

NationalDirectMail   National_DonationCard   ReturnAddresses


Post Excellence Award:

The Post Excellence Award program honors posts that excellence in membership participation, youth activities, community service, and support to veterans and U.S. troops.


  • Membership. Post membership must be at least one member more than the previous year. A post officer must attend district meeting.
  • Youth activities. The post must sponsor and actively participate in a least one primary youth program: Boy Scouts of America or Junior Shooting Sports.
  • Community service. The post must organize a community service project that involves members of the Legion, Auxiliary or Sons of The American Legion. A monetary donation may only be one part of a project.
  • Service to troops or veterans. The post must organize a project supporting or veterans (for example, Family Support Network or Operation Comfort Warriors) that involves members of the Legion, Auxiliary or SAL outside the post. A monetary donation may only be one part of the project.


District Commander must certify Post as having fulfilled the four specified criteria, and submit a list of the posts name, address and commander’s name to department headquarters. If possible, accompany with copies of press releases submitted to local media that raise awareness for the project and enhance the Legion’s public image.


For more information, go to National’s website:

If you have any questions please let us know about first. or Call (407) 247-5232

Thank you for all you do for The American Legion Department of Florida!


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Please note, all submissions will be presented to the Commander and are not guaranteed.

Boys Nation

Added: 7/2/19

Through PROJECT: VetRelief we offer a hand up, not a hand out, to strengthen our service members with dignity and empower them to light the way for the next generation of veterans.