By Francis J. Sisti
Special to Independent Newsmedia
In the Aug. 21 edition of the Peoria Independent it was announced that the Legion Act had just been signed by the president into the law of the land. The announcement identified that the new law opened up the eligible membership criteria to join the American Legion, Inc., the largest veteran’s support organization in the nation. So what?
Well, if you – the reader (or someone you know) – are a peace-time or war-time (WWI or from Dec. 7, 1941 to the present), military veteran or the family of such a veteran, there are a host of related programs provided by the American Legion and the Federal Government Veterans Administration that may be directly applicable to you and/or your family.
To coin a couple of old phrases; “You can’t win if you don’t play” and “Be All That You Can Be!” Don’t leave free assistance on the table and miss out on a particular program that could help you. With the new law in place the potential help for newly eligible veterans has been expanded and made more accessible.
There are an estimated 500,000 United States military veterans living in Arizona. Of that, only about 40,000 are currently members of the Arizona Department of the American Legion and its 113 Legion Posts. That means that only 8% of the eligible veterans belong to the largest veterans support organization in the nation.
In follow-up pieces of this series in the Peoria Independent, various American Legion veterans support and social programs will be identified and described. Such programs may directly address a situation that you have concerns about, but regardless of the concerns, American Legionnaires are there to answer your questions and have the qualified backup Legionnaires who can bridge the gap between the American Legion community and the federal government Veterans Administration.
In the Peoria community American Legion Post #62, John J. Morris at 9847 W. Desert Cove Ave., 623-972-8372, is completely staffed, including a highly trained, service officer to welcome in all newly eligible veterans, to incorporate them into the post’s many veteran-centric programs and provide connection with the many Veterans Administration programs.
Editor’s note: Mr. Sisti is the historian and chairman of the publicity committee for the American Legion Post 62 in Peoria.
Legion Act series
This article is part of a series detailing the recently signed Legion Act.