Department of Florida

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Commander's Corner

Commander’s Corner

Department Commander Jerry Brandt

Department Commander Jerry Brandt

December 2021

Another month has gone by, and it seems we get busier as we move along. Fall Conference, the District 17 visit, and the Children & Youth Cruise were great times to be back among friends. December will prove to be another busy month, with visits to Districts 5 and 13, Florida Legion College, and of course, the Holidays.

Florida legionnaires seem to be upbeat and enthusiastic about volunteering in their communities and helping fellow veterans. This leads me to believe we are going to have a great year.

A special thanks to District 14 Commander Tom Frank, District 17 Commander Jim Bowers, Southern Area Commander Johnny Castro, Northern Area Commander Troy Horsley, 1st Vice Commander Eunice Butts, and 3rd Vice Commander Chris Hamrick for accompanying me on visits through District 14 and 17. The visits went well, with great turnouts.

As mentioned earlier, we just finished up Fall Conference. We would love to get your feedback. Please visit floridalegion.org/feedback and let us know what you think. Was it interesting? Did you learn anything? Are there other subjects you feel would be beneficial? We want to hear from you.

In attendance at Fall Conference was the leading candidate for National Commander, Jim Troiola. I asked him what he wanted to achieve as National Commander. He indicated several items that we are already training on suicide prevention, homeless veterans, increasing the number of our service officers, and buddy checks. We’ve been working on these areas for years, and he was surprised to learn this after sitting through some of our classes: Lena Heredia-Perez’s class on Buddy Checks; Jennifer Cooper’s class on PROJECT: VetRelief; Alan Cohen’s and Larry Robert’s classes for Service Officers; and PDC Dudley’s Homeless Veterans round table. Comrades, we are way ahead of what other Departments are doing, so congratulations to our trainers and instructors, and a sincere “thank you” to those who received the training.

I mentioned last month that Department has been working on several items, one of those items being the Constitution and By-Laws. We had an interesting meeting on November 7th, and several good points were made on proposed changes. We will review them with the committee at the end of November, and I will update you on the progress in January. We will have a round table discussion with the DEC to keep everyone up-to-date on the status. The next round table is scheduled for January 25th, and another on May 17th. There will be no voting, just information sharing among all of the members.

Communication is essential throughout our organization. Often what happens in one post will happen in several posts, but how the issues are handled are often by different methods. If we share information, we can find the right way to resolve the issues fairly across the board.

At this time, our visitors from the North should be here, and our membership is going up; please get your renewals in quickly. Some of you have heard that I have a “BET” with the Departments of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana on membership goals. As of November 7th, Louisiana is number 18th, Mississippi is 24th, Georgia is 32nd, and Florida is 41st, although we’re leading Alabama who is 45th. Currently, I have to buy oranges for 3 of the 4 Departments.

I ask, why is Florida 41st? Last year by November 5th, we had 68,798 members paid for 2021. This year on November 7th, we only have 63,786 members paid for 2022. That’s a difference of 5,000 members. COVID was an issue last year, but what is our problem this year? We can’t afford to lose our membership, so we need to work together to correct this.

Perhaps you have received or given out a “Mentor” pin. The pin indicates that the recipient is a “Florida Family Mentor.” How do you get this pin?

  1. You must have someone, whom you have mentored, step up to indicate you are their mentor.
  2. You and the person who nominated you must be at a district meeting where a zone commander, Detachment commander, Auxiliary Department President, or myself is in attendance.

We will NOT give the pin to the mentor; the person who nominated you will present the pin. This is a way to say “thank you” to those who have helped you become who you are. Again, this is just at district meetings.

I hope to see all of you on my travels. After all, we are brothers and sisters, in War and in Peace.

Duty. Honor. Country
Jerry Brandt

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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.