Membership renewal is important to uphold our commitment to No Veteran Left Behind and to remain at the forefront of veteran advocacy efforts. There is strength in numbers. When I testified before Congress earlier this month, the representatives understand that I speak for our 1.8 million members, a figure unmatched by any other veterans service organization.
This is why membership renewal is a priority of mine. As such, I have challenged all American Legion departments to reach a 90% renewal goal. Many departments are poised to hit that very achievable and critical mark, as well as reach or exceed their traditional membership goal.
The key to membership renewal is engagement. This can be achieved through Buddy Checks or monthly training sessions on subjects related to membership and our programs. I am asking each member of your department leadership team, your districts, counties, and posts to get those renewals. Hold events, ask members to help, get them engaged, and they will stay.
We simply cannot let the challenges of COVID make us complacent. Our veterans, youth, and communities need us. How would our members maintain shelter or posts recover from severe damage caused by a natural disaster if we didn’t have programs and assistance like the National Emergency Fund or the Temporary Financial Assistance program? When wildfires ravaged the west and tornadoes struck the south, we were there providing vital assistance to our members and our communities. And the only way we were able to do this is through a strong and committed membership.
We must ensure there are No Veterans Left Behind and that means growing our numbers in every department. Our country needs a Legion of forces to serve our veterans and communities.
So, let’s renew our commitment, renew our efforts, and renew our members to make 2022 a very prosperous year.
At our last Hominy Post 142 monthly business meeting, there was a small ceremony conducted by the Post First Vice Commander, Charlie O’Leary to present new American Legion hats to a couple of our latest Post 142 members Jim Evans and Kevin King.
Jim Evans is an Army Veteran of the Vietnam War, a member of our Hominy Post 142 for the past year and has been a resident of Hominy for many years. Jim has many stories from his military life and about Hominy and the surrounding areas.
Kevin King is an Army Veteran of the Gulf War, a member of our Hominy Post 142 for the past three years, and an employee of our local Dick Connor Correctional Center in Hominy. In addition to that Kevin is a very handy, Handyman. All the members of Post 142 would like to thank Kevin for his wonderful repair job on our Post Hut’s rain-damaged roof and the repair of the damaged sheetrock inside. Thank you very much, Kevin.
Mervin Eugene (Babe) Long was born May 16, 1923, in Sand Springs, Oklahoma to Miles and Dessie Jewel (Galyean) Long. Babe was raised and attended school in Wildhorse, OK. After graduating from Wildhorse High School, Babe worked a short stint in a cement powder plant in Choteau, Oklahoma. He then headed to Vallejo, CA, where he worked as a welder in a shipyard. Babe was barely 19 when he was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Corp., the war’s largest offensive bombing force of World War II. Based at Thorpe Abbot airbase near Norwich, East Anglia, England, this unit became known as the “Bloody Hundredth.”
Here comes the next thrill-packed episode of how a sailor sailed to parts unknown and found his way home. When we last checked in where and what I was doing, I was aboard the USS Furse, DD 882 which is a Gering Class Destroyer, and was working as a chief mess cook taking care of the needs of the Chief Petty Officers on board the ship. I also told you that my next assignment was even more interesting since it dealt with the effects of the crew’s visits to the mess deck.
The most exciting part of this assignment was that I received a promotion to Captain. No, I didn’t get field, or sea commission to Captain, I received the celebrated title of “Captain of the Head!” The head is the Navy’s term for what the Army calls a latrine or otherwise referred to as a toilet, outhouse, lavatory, bathroom, facility, urinal, privy, water closet, public convenience, cloakroom, or powder room. Whatever you call it, it is called The Head in the Navy and I believe the Marines also refer to it as The Head. The Head that I was the captain of was the “After Head”. When I was assigned to this job, I was a little depressed due to thinking that this job was a put-down and thought that I was better than toilet cleaner. Then I remembered a movie I had seen years before called “No Time for Sergeants” starring Andy Griffith who was assigned to clean the latrine as a joke, but Pvt. Will Stockwell took it as a challenge and turned that latrine into the “Best darn latrine in the entire United States Army.” With this in mind, I set out to make the After Head the best darn Head on board my ship, if not in the entire U.S. Navy. And, just like Pvt. Will Stockwell, I had to stand by for inspection of my After Head. My Head passed with flying colors. The only thing that Pvt. Will Stockwell did that I did not do is make the toilet seats salute the inspection officer when he entered the Head. This was the last unusual or additional assignment that I received for a while.