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The American Legion seeks new members

Posts to converge on Centralia

From left to right: Robert Trethewey, Mike Montaney, National Vice Commander Paul Espinoza, Bob Wallace and Joe Winters. Photo courtesy Paul Espinoza, National Vice Commander, The American Legion, New Mexico

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Every year, veterans receive mail about joining the American Legion. Many fill out the cards and return them. However, they are not yet official members at that point and are referred to as Legionnaires. From Jan. 16-19,  members of American Legions across southern Washington will come together to call local Legionnaires and invite them to become official members of their closest American Legion post.

Bob Wallace, the National Executive Committeeman of Washington, joined the American Legion more than 35 years ago while he was serving in the Coast Guard.  Like many others, he sees the positive impact being a member of the American Legion can have.

"Being a member of the American Legion enables veterans to become more involved in their communities," Wallace said. "They are kept up to date on veterans issues and what they can do to help their community."

During the event beginning Jan. 16, members of American Legion posts from around southern Washington will meet at the Grant Hodge, Inc. American Legion Post 17 in Centralia. There, members will make phone calls over the span of the next few days to invite current Legionnaires to visit their local American Legion post.

"We would love for them to come and find out what their local American Legion post is all about," Wallace said. "We would love to learn more about the Legionnaire and their families as well."

Membership in the American Legion is not solely for veterans:  It is also very family-friendly. For instance, the American Legion Boys and Girls State is a program that gets young adults involved in the knowledge of our government from the city to the state level. Young adults can then strive to participate in the Oratorical Contest that focuses on the appreciation of the U.S. Constitution. A past winner of this contest from Washington won more than $25,000 in college scholarships. Another way that members can become more involved in their community is through American Legion clubs such as baseball. The American Legion is proud to say that 25 to 30 Major League Baseball players got their start with American Legion baseball.

Wallace said it is important for potential members to know that while the American Legion focuses on veterans and veteran-related issues, the organization is also about family and the community.

"When we make the calls during this event, it is not about taking money," Wallace said. "It is about us listening to potential members telling us what we can do for them and what they can do for us."

A majority of those who enlist in the military are fulfilling a desire to serve their country and give back. The American Legion is another way for veterans to continue to serve their communities that is both family-friendly and positive for all involved.     

For more information about an American Legion membership or about this event, call Wallace at 206.601.2015.

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