The American Legion Pat Tillman Memorial Post 53 loves calling the DuPont community home.
While this vibrant and welcoming community offers a variety of goods and services, a quaint downtown, natural beauty, and a host of other appealing features, the city clearly and actively supports retired and active Servicemembers and their families. Post 53 appreciates its partnership with such a city and the friendly and welcome response to its efforts to support veterans.
"This is a great community," said Post 53 Commander Don Ham, an Army National Guard veteran. "It's like living on post without the MPs," he joked.
The Pat Tillman Memorial Post 53 is a relatively new post and still growing. Established in 2007, it currently has 88 names on its distribution list with 49 total members and 15 active members. Post 53 is able to focus on specific efforts as it continues to expand, said Bob Schwartz, a Navy veteran and the organization adjutant.
"Because we are one of the newer posts and with our current membership levels, we intentionally take on fewer programs," Schwartz said. "But (we) really focus on things that really interest us."
The national American Legion organization supports and provides volunteers for a vast number of important initiatives such as contributing support and funds for veterans and veteran's programs, contributing and volunteering for programs benefiting children and youth, and other community service efforts.
The DuPont post takes on these same kinds of initiatives, but with a local flavor. Here are some of the projects that the post is supporting this spring and summer.
- The Evergreen Boys State/Evergreen Girls State Leadership/Citizenship Training Program at Central Washington University takes place in mid-June and features an extensive and fun program that helps high school youth learn about government and community building. Participants actually live on campus for that week. Many teen participants in this program call it a "life changing event," Schwartz said.
- During the Memorial Day weekend, the post is partnering with the DuPont Forza coffee shop to sell and distribute silk poppies to be worn in remembrance of fallen Soldiers, a long-standing American Legion program. Proceeds will benefit rehabilitation and other veteran's programs. Additional special extras are being planned with Forza to mark the occasion.
- The post's Ladies Auxiliary Unit is working with Friends of the Steilacoom Library to host a book sale on May 31 and June 1 at the Steilacoom Library. Donations of new or gently used books of all genres are welcome. Proceeds from the sale benefit local programs to support veterans. Donations may be dropped off at Patriot's Landing, a retirement community in DuPont that serves former military.
The post will also participate in upcoming DuPont celebrations, like the July 4th parade, and will continue to do ongoing work with Fisher House. Ham is looking forward to forging an even closer link to the city council and is looking to find a dedicated space to house the post's office.
"We really want to get even more involved in the community and help serve our fellow vets," he said. "We have a couple of on-call trained service officers, and we are looking forward to finding a space to keep our offices."
Post 53 appreciates the opportunity to partner with other local American Legion posts to help veterans and youth, Ham added.
Both Ham and Schwartz welcome new members and other interested parties to come join them at the group's monthly meetings. Breakfast meetings are held the on the second Saturday of the month beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Patriot's Landing. Breakfast is served at 8:30 a.m. and the meeting commences at 9. Cost is $10 for breakfast.
For more information about the American Legion, visit www.legion.org/. For questions and membership information, contact Ham at (253) 964-5414 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the Evergreen State youth programs, visit http://evergreenboysstate.org/.