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USAA Tips: Leaving a bad boss can be a great career move

Content provided courtesy of USAA | By Chad Storlie

In the military, if you have a bad boss, you are forced to wait them out, wait until they PCS or hope they transfer. In a civilian role, you don’t have to wait out a bad boss — you can just leave, which may be your best career choice. You can and should take steps to improve your career situation and move on.

The central question in leaving a bad boss is to identify a bad boss. Bad bosses can be great people, they can be well-meaning, and they can be genuine. The tell-tale feature is that a good boss enables your career and a bad boss holds you back.

There are six primary areas to determine if you work for a bad boss or a good boss.

1. A good boss shares ideas and information – A bad boss hoards it. Information sharing is one of the most evident and easily diagnosed areas to evaluate your boss. If your boss shares information, describes in detail what the executive team is thinking, shares industry trends, and shares what other parts of the organization are doing, then that is a good sign of a good boss. If your boss shares none of these items, then that is an indicator they are a bad boss.

2. A good boss enables employees' outside ideas and initiative – A bad boss knows the answers already and restricts employees exercising their ideas. A good boss is open to new ideas and different ways of doing business that helps the boss reach the team’s goals. A bad boss already knows the answers and already knows how things need to be done and does not need to hear employee suggestions. Furthermore, a bad boss actively discourages new ideas.

3. A good boss promotes team member actions up the chain of command for recognition – A bad boss promotes only their actions. Perhaps one of the best evaluations of a good boss is how often they bring up team member actions and activities in meetings with their boss. If you hear, “Jane did this,” or “Larissa led this,” or “William created this,” in meetings and conversations with the executive team, then this is a sign of a good boss recognizing and promoting their team's results. If you only hear a discussion of results with no attribution of those results to the people that did them, then that is a sign of a bad boss.

4. A good boss regularly coaches team members – A bad boss relies only on the annual performance review. In my opinion, the annual performance review remains one of the worst human resource activities still in use today. A good boss meets with individual team members regularly to discuss with precise examples what they did well, what they can improve, and then how to improve it. A bad boss only discusses employee performance once or twice a year and avoids any other performance discussion.

5. A good boss adapts their leadership style to engage each individual in the entire team – A bad boss has only “their” way of doing things. Leadership is a broad approach to describe how a range of methods and techniques can be applied to get the best performance out of a team of individuals. A good boss applies a leadership style that is unique to each team member so that each individual team member can be led to perform their best. A bad boss has only a “my way” of leadership that is applied to all team members regardless of individual outcome. A good leader employs a range of techniques to get the best from people.

6. A good boss has firm and fast professional ethics – A bad boss has “situational” and flexible ethics. Personal ethics is one of the best evaluations of a good or bad boss. A good boss has firm, well understood, and clear ethical principles that apply to the boss and each member of their team equally. A bad boss has a “muddy” concept of ethics that apply to themselves, their team, and other individuals differently. Different ethical standards are a clear sign of a bad boss.

Once you have determined that you work for a bad boss, you need to make the decision to leave. The decision to leave can be to transfer to a different role in the same company or to leave for a different company all together. First, you must accept that a bad boss is unlikely to change into a good boss. Having a bad boss change into a good boss is a very, very unlikely situation and one that I have never witnessed. Second, if you work for a bad boss, you will never work for a good boss. This is obvious, but unless you decide to change your employment situation, your boss situation will not change. You must take the action to change your work situation. Third, start making career and networking connections to leave immediately. It is tempting to see how things look in three months or a year. Don’t fall for this temptation to “kick the can” down the road – make the decision today to leave a bad boss.

Leaving a bad boss is a difficult but necessary step to enable your full career success.

Films, videos to be shown at national convention festival

A dozen or more films and videos, including artful tributes to the Meuse-Argonne offensive of World War I and the D-Day invasion of World War II, will be shown in the second American Legion Centennial Film Festival Monday, Aug. 26, in Rooms 126 and 127 of the Indiana Convention Center.

Indiana filmmaker Jo Throckmorton will be on hand to open the festival with a screening of his short film, “Meuse-Argonne Offensive.” A trailer of his movie now in production, “Over There: Hoosier Heroes of the Great War,” will also be shown, and he will be available to discuss his work with the audience.

At 1 p.m., the award-winning “Sixth of June” short film pays homage to the D-Day invasion that began the liberation of Europe in World War II. The film includes current footage and interviews with veterans and survivors and explores the ways in which northwestern France continues to express its gratitude over U.S. military sacrifice 75 years after the liberation.

Another film, “Heroes of WWII: The European Campaign,” includes rarely seen interviews with more than 20 combat veterans who fought in the European Theater. The film is narrated by Michael Reagan, son of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, directed by Doug Stebleton and written by American Legion Magazine editor Jeff Stoffer. It is scheduled to be shown at 10 a.m.

The festival also features two historic documentaries, one on The American Legion’s battle to gain government accountability for veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, and the other about an American Legion Baseball all-star team that traveled through Latin America, playing teams from Panama, Cuba, Mexico and other countries in the 1950s.

Also featured are portions of the newest American Legion Department of Arizona centennial video series, “Heroes of The American Legion,” at noon.

Schedule of screenings (subject to change):

9 a.m. — The American Legion Preamble, as sung by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point Chapel Choir

9:05 a.m. — Short film “Meuse-Argonne Offensive” and trailer for “Over There: Hoosier Heroes of the Great War,” plus discussion with filmmaker

9:45 a.m. — “To Strengthen a Nation/Prelude,” the prologue to the American Legion centennial documentary film series

10 a.m. — “Heroes of WW2: The European Campaign”

11 a.m. — “To Strengthen a Nation/Episode 1: Formation of The American Legion”

11:10 a.m. — “A Time for Action,” an early 1990s documentary with rare interviews, on The American Legion’s battle to gain recognition of Agent Orange exposure among Vietnam War veterans

11:40 a.m. — “To Strengthen a Nation/Episode 2: Mutual Helpfulness”

12 p.m. — “Heroes of The American Legion” episodes

12:30 p.m. — “Ambassadors at Bat,” the American Legion Baseball Pan-American tour on film

1 p.m. — “Sixth of June,” a new take on the D-Day invasion and the effect it still has on the people of Normandy

1:45 p.m. — “To Strengthen a Nation/Episode 3: Economic Opportunity”

2 p.m. — Various other video selections from The American Legion

The festival is free of charge, and visitors may come and go as they wish according to the films they would like to see and their convention schedules.

Legacy Run Day 4: The power of the in-state ride

In 2018, Virginia Legionnaire Randy Gunn got the idea to organize and run a ride similar to the Legacy Run in his own state. Hoping to raise $5,000, the ride instead provided $25,000 to The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund.

Gunn organized a similar ride this year, but the total raised jumped up to $30,000, which he presented to American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad during the Aug. 21 Legacy Run lunch stop in Jonesville, Va.

Gunn, who is a member of American Legion Post 284 in Colonial Heights and serves as Virginia’s Eastern Region assistant ALR director, rode to Jonesville with other Virginia Legion Riders from throughout the state to present the donation.

“It’s rewarding, and you have the ability to say a million different words,” said Gunn of presenting the check for $30,000. “I’ve had people ask me ‘do you have a speech ready?’ I’m like ‘no, because everybody knows what it takes to raise money.’”

In-state Legacy Runs staged by American Legion departments have helped the national ride exceed $1 million raised each of the past five years. So far on the 2019 Run, the Department of Delaware has delivered more than $55,000 from its Gold Star Legacy Run, while another $20,750 came from the Texas Lone Star Legacy Run. Hundreds of thousands more are expected to be presented Aug. 27 on The American Legion National Convention floor in Indianapolis.

In 2018, Gunn and his girlfriend rode from Colonial Heights to Hutchinson, Kan., to present the $25,000 raised on its in-state ride prior to the start of the Legacy Run. This year and last are the only two Legacy Runs he’s missed. He’s already set a goal of raising $40,000 next year, thanks in part to what he calls a great road captain in fellow Legion Rider Skip Klaas.

“What I wanted to do was something a little more,” Gunn said. “We’ve been able to do that.”

During the same lunch stop – which was hosted by American Legion Post 185 in the Jonesville, Va., Cumberland Bowl Park – the Riders were treated to either pulled pork or tacos, along with a dessert table the size of Rhode Island. A wreath-laying ceremony took place at the park’s "Veterans Memorial Wall,” where soldiers’ names appear on the bricks of the wall honoring their service in the U.S. armed forces.

Post 185 Commander Charlie Bunch made it a point to donate the money the Riders paid for the meal – more than $1,600 back to the Legacy Fund. The New Mexico American Legion Riders also presented $7,000 during the donations that came in at the stop.

Scenery, camaraderie and a mission. On a day when the ride got an eyeful of scenery through the hills and mountains of Tennessee and Virginia – and the rain held off – Illinois Legion Rider Joe Lampert got a chance to enjoy his surroundings.

“It’s beautiful countryside,” said Lampert, a past post commander of Morton Grove Post 134, a former district and division commander, and the current chairman of the department’s American Legion Riders Committee. “It’s just exhilarating. It really is. Just on the open road, a lot of us bikes and just taking in our beautiful country.”

Lampert has been on four Legacy Runs and continues to participate because of “the camaraderie and what this stands for: doing it for the kids. I think this is one of the greatest events that the Legion puts on. People coming from everywhere that you haven’t talked to or seen for a year, and you group right back up with them. It’s like we were sitting and talking yesterday.”

'They’re riding for a reason.' Thomas Hostetter, a member of Post 145 in nearby Bristol, came to the gas stop at Walmart in Johnson City, Tenn., to both see the ride arrive and donate to its cause. “I just like what they’re doing and I wanted to donate,” said the Vietnam veteran. “Who else is going … to help those kids who lost their dad or their mother in service for our country?”

Seeing his fellow American Legion members take on a mission like the Legacy Fund “is amazing,” Hostetter said. “People get the wrong concepts about motorcyclists. But when you see this group of guys, you’ve got to know they’re not bad guys. They’re riding for a reason, and that’s to raise money to send kids to school.”

The Riders’ mission: ‘jaw-dropping.’ Sons of The American Legion member Scott Johnson joined several other Kentucky Legion Riders at the ride’s gas stop in Middlesboro, Ky., and helped lead the Run’s advance team to the day’s final stop at Wildcat Harley-Davidson in London, Ky.

Getting a chance to meet up and then help escort “was amazing,” said Johnson, a member of SAL Squadron 88 in Corbin, Ky. “Anytime we get an opportunity around here, we love to contribute.”

Johnson said expressing his pride and appreciation for what the Riders do on the Legacy Run is difficult to put into words. “It’s jaw-dropping. Magnificent,” he said. “(Meeting up with the ride) is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To be a part of it is just amazing.”

Wildcat Harley-Davidson provided the Riders with a pulled pork dinner, while nearby Mart Gentry Post 16 provided a shuttle to and from the post from the area hotels where the Riders were staying overnight. London Mayor Troy Rudder read a proclamation honoring the Riders and the Run.

More than $11,000 was donated to the Legacy Run, including $3,500 from the Legion Family at John D. Wibby Post 86 in Overgaard, Ariz., and $3,000 from Carroll County Post 31 in Maryland. The total donated during the day was $52,095, bringing the amount raised on the ride alone to $200,956.

Give blood while in Indianapolis for convention

The 101st National Convention Blood Drive will be held on Friday, Aug. 23, and Saturday, Aug. 24, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall (Halls D&E, Level 1) of the Indiana Convention Center.

The American Legion supports blood donation as part of both community service and national security, and The American Legion Blood Donor Program has existed officially since 1942 to help that cause. Posts and departments that donate the most blood are honored at national convention each year.

Additionally, the Legion's Holiday Donor Blood Drive is held annually from Thanksgiving through Dec. 31, where Legion Family members and posts are encouraged to give blood and host blood drives. Each year about 45,000 donors gave more than 70,000 pints of blood.

2019 American Legion Baseball Awards announced

The American Legion Baseball Big Stick Award is awarded annually to an American Legion Baseball player at the World Series. The presentation is made to that player who compiles the highest number of total bases in Regional and World Series competition.

The 2019 American Legion Baseball Big Stick Award goes to Trevor Marsh from Randolph County Post 45, N.C., with 26 total bases.

Since 1945, the American Legion Baseball program has presented an American Legion Baseball Slugger trophy annually to the player compiling the highest batting average during national competition; a minimum of 12 plate appearances is required in both Regional and World Series competition.

The 2019 American Legion Baseball Slugger Award goes to Ron Franklin from Destrehan Post 366, La., who compiled a .600 batting average in national competition.

American Legion Baseball lost a dynamic leader during the 1970 season. In his memory, the National Americanism Commission established the Dr. Irvin L. (Click) Cowger RBI Memorial Award. The recipient of this annual award, is the American Legion Baseball player who is credited with the most runs batted in by the official scorers at the respective Regional tournament and World Series.

The 2019 Click Cowger RBI award goes to Ron Franklin from Destrehan Post 366, La., who compiled 15 RBIs in national competition.

American Legion Baseball's first graduate to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York was “Rapid Robert” Feller. This award is presented annually to the pitcher who has the most strikeouts in Regional and World Series competition.

The 2019 Bob Feller Pitching Award goes to Randon Hostert from Idaho Falls Post 56, Idaho, who compiled 23 strikeouts in national competition.

The James Daniels Sportsmanship Award is presented annually in memory of a long-time dedicated supporter of the American Legion Baseball program from South Carolina. This award is presented to a World Series Player who best represents teamwork, loyalty, cooperation, self-reliance, fair play and courage.

The 2019 James Daniels Sportsmanship Award goes to Alex Cortez from Idaho Falls Post 56, Idaho.

The George W. Rulon, American Legion Player of the Year Award is presented annually in memory of a long-time dedicated director of the American Legion Baseball program for 25 years. The award is based on integrity, mental attitude, cooperation, citizenship, sportsmanship, scholastic aptitude and general good conduct. The recipient will attend the 2020 National Baseball Hall of Fame Classic game next May in Cooperstown, N.Y..

The 2019 George W Rulon, American Legion Player of the Year Award goes to Trevor Marsh from Randolph County Post 45, N.C.

Over the last 6 days the All-Tournament Team selection committee has watched and evaluated every game played. Based on players' performance and character on and off the field, the following players have been selected to the American Legion World Series All-Tournament Team. The 2019 American Legion World Series All-Tournament Team is as follows:

Designated Hitter: Zach Sandy, Fargo Post 2, N.D.

Utility Player: Zack Kluvers, Fargo Post 2, N.D.

Catcher: Chandler Ibach, Fargo Post 2, N.D.

First Base: Blake Anderson, Fargo Post 2, N.D.

Second Base: Bruer Webster, Idaho Falls Post 56, Idaho

Third Base: Ron Franklin, Destrehan Post 366, La

Shortstop: Alex Cortez, Idaho Falls Post 56, Idaho

Outfield: Trevor Marsh, Ranolph County Post 45, N.C.

Outfield: Andrew Gregerson, Idaho Falls Post 56, Idaho

Outfield: Kolby Bourgeois, Destrehan Post 366, La.

Pitcher: Caden Christenson, Idaho Falls Post 56, Idaho

Pitcher: Stephen Klein, Destrehan Post 366, La.

Pitcher: Taylor Parrett, Fargo Post 2, N.D.

Idaho wins its first ever American Legion World Series

A record-setting year for Idaho Falls, Idaho, Post 56 culminated in a perfect way as the Bandits won the American Legion World Series on Wednesday morning with a 5-3 victory over Fargo, N.D., Post 2.

This is the first American Legion World Series win for a team from the state of Idaho.

In the top of the first Tuesday night, Fargo worked very difficult counts and got the scoring started. Zach Sandy fouled off two tough pitches already in an 0-2 count before forcing a difficult play at short, reaching on an error. A groundout moved him over to second and a single by Cole Hage on a 1-2 count put runners on the corners. After an out, Brayden Koenig grounded one the opposite way through the hole for an RBI single. Brandt Kolpack followed with a single of his own to make 2-0. All four runners to reach base in the inning had two strikes on them.

Idaho Falls, known as the Bandits, had three batters reach in the bottom of the frame, and just like Fargo, all three did so down to their last strike. Bruer Webster led off with a single and Alex Cortez did the same. A wild pitch moved both over and Randon Hostert brought a run home with a hard-hit ball that forced an error. Starter Blake Anderson settled down and got a key strikeout and flyout to end the frame.

Three pitches into the top of the second inning the rain came, forcing a delay at 7:08 p.m. ET and ultimately a suspension in the game until Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The two starting pitchers, Hostert and Anderson, would not return to the mound Wednesday and would be replaced by Andrew Gregersen and Colton Frey, respectively.

North Dakota went quietly in the resumed second inning. With one out in the bottom of the frame, Idaho loaded the bases with a Nick Layland single and walks to Brady Owens and Bruer Webster. Alex Cortez followed with a groundball deep in the hole at shortstop for a single and Tavyn Lords brought home two more with a single to right center.

Fargo loaded the bases in the top of the third, but a lineout to shortstop forced a double play.

With a runner on first in the bottom of the frame, Idaho’s Jaxon Sorenson lined a double over the head of the right fielder, putting two runners in scoring position for Nick Layland, who hit one deep enough to center to bring in one run on a sacrifice fly.

Both teams got a runner on in the fourth but went quietly. After a quiet top of the fifth, Idaho Falls got two on in the bottom of the frame but reliever Andrew Linn got out of trouble.

An error and two walks loaded the bases for North Dakota in the top of the sixth, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Gregerson battled Zach Kulvers to a full count and got a popup to foul ground down the right field line. Webster ranged over and made the call, ending the inning and the threat.

Idaho had a two-out rally in the bottom of the frame, putting two on, but couldn't add to their lead.

In the top of the seventh, North Dakota put two on and Brandt Kolpack singled to bring home Hage. Gregersen got a key strikeout and a ground ball from second baseman Bruer Webster to first baseman Randon Hostert to seal the victory.

"It's unbelievable, we did it for our state. I love where I live, I love the state of Idaho. It means a lot to bring the title back," Webster said. "[The last play] was in slow motion. You kind of black out when you field it before you make the throw. It was crazy."

Gregersen finished with 6.0 innings, five hits allowed and just one run, striking out six.

"I honestly was suprised to hear my name that I was going out to pitch, but I knew that everyone would have my back behind me," Gregersen said of his relief appearance.

This marked the third straight year that Idaho sent a team to the American Legion World Series and ninth overall. Only two of the other eight programs to make the World Series made the title game. Pocatello lost, 23-6, in the first World Series in 1926 against Yonkers, N.Y., in Philadelphia. Lewiston Post 13 dropped a 5-2 decision to Brooklawn, N.J., in 2001 in Yakima, Wash.

Idaho Falls ends the season at 61-6. Fargo, the first North Dakota team to ever play for a national title, finishes at 54-8.

"It's unbelievable," Hostert said. "Making history with this group of guys is just amazing. I couldn't ask for a better team."

"What a season for these young men," manager Ryan Alexander said. "They have earned everything they have gotten along the way. It is a resilient group. Our goal was to be in Shelby and once we got here we decided we might as well win it. These boys have continued to impress. They are a good group of young men I couldn't be happier for."

"This shows that there is good baseball in Idaho," Alexander continued. "There has been for a long time. There are great high school programs and Legion programs. Coaches work hard, players love the game and we are just happy to be here representing our home state, the Northwest region and Post 56."

Arizona’s Legion heroes on film

The American Legion Department of Arizona is preparing to release its second documentary covering stories of Arizonans who served with distinction in war.

The first documentary, “Arizona Heroes of World War I” – first released in 2017 – consisted of 15 chapters highlighting individual Arizona men and women who served – and sometimes died – during the war. Its ultimate goal was to both promote the department and The American Legion as a whole, and to mark the Legion’s centennial.

The new documentary, “Heroes of The American Legion,” features stories from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. According to filmmaker Thomas Perry, a Sons of The American Legion member at Squadron 66 in Green Valley, the goal with this documentary as with the first one is “to honor and remember Arizona heroic and courageous veterans.” The format is the same – short chapters that can be played all at once or separately, with Legion promotional tags and PSAs. Social media played a role in getting the message out; Perry points out that “segments were posted on Facebook over 235,000 times in the last year, with over 55 percent viewership. We will continue our marketing and branding campaign with our new film. We anticipate the same, if not a better, response.”

Department of Arizona Adjutant Angel Juarez states, “We continue with excitement for our historical film projects. The history of the men and women of Arizona who answered our country’s call for service is important. Our heroes highlighted in these stories are part of the larger story of the United States of America.”

Steve Aguirre – who when the first documentary began development was department membership director and has since served as 2018-2019 department commander – comments, “We had no idea when we started that the results would far exceed our expectations …. The documentaries have brought attention to the department, expanded our reach, and exposed Legion ideas to civilians and veterans across the state.”

“Heroes of the American Legion” had its premiere at the department convention in June, where Perry says “it was received very well by all in attendance.” The team is beginning work on the third documentary, to center on the desert campaigns of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. That is set to debut at the 2020 department convention. To see both films in their entirety, or view the stand-alone segments, visit

As in 2018, the 101st American Legion National Convention will feature a centennial film festival, and episodes from “Heroes of The American Legion” are on the schedule. This year’s festival will be held Monday, Aug. 26, in Rooms 126 and 127, Level 1 of the Indiana Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The planned schedule (subject to change) includes the Legion’s centennial documentary “To Strengthen a Nation” and runs as follows:

9 a.m. American Legion Preamble, as sung by the West Point Chapel Choir circa 1950s

9:05 a.m. Short film “Meuse-Argonne Offensive” + trailer for “Over There: Hoosier Heroes of the Great War,” plus discussion with filmmakers

9:45 a.m. “To Strengthen a Nation/Prelude”

10 a.m. “Heroes of WW2: The European Campaign

11 a.m. “To Strengthen a Nation/Episode 1: Formation of The American Legion”

11:10 a.m. 1980s-1990s Agent Orange documentary “A Time for Action”

11:40 a.m. “To Strengthen a Nation/Episode 2: Mutual Helpfulness”

Noon “Heroes of The American Legion” episodes

12:30 p.m. 1950s film of American Legion Baseball Pan-American tour “Ambassadors at Bat”

1 p.m. Short film “Sixth of June,” plus discussion with filmmaker/s

1:45 p.m. “To Strengthen a Nation/Episode 3: Economic Opportunity”

2 p.m. Selections from LegionTV, and other surprises

Attendees are welcome to arrive and depart as needed or convenient.

Legion Family to continue community service projects

American Legion Family members will converge Aug. 23 to help with lawn care, general gardening and yard cleanup at the Vista Center/Warman Houses in Indianapolis. The community service project is something the Legion Family has done annually for years during the national convention.

Warman Houses are made up of 45 units, and house many of Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation’s (HVAF) veterans. They serve as transitional housing units for the veterans, as a way for them to have shelter while receiving help from HVAF’s case managers.

HVAF houses, supports and advocates for all veterans and their families to help them achieve the best quality of life. In 2018, they served more than 1,200 veterans through their multiple programs and services: case management, housing, employment and pantry.

Activity begins at 8:30 a.m. and will go until around noon.

A proud year of American Legion successes

Dear American Legion Family and Friends,

Nearly one year ago in my acceptance speech, I talked about how this centennial year would be more than just a celebration. It would also be about “charting the course for our future and remaining strong and relevant. Strength, my friends, is paramount,” I said when I was elected national commander in the year of our 100th anniversary as an organization.

Without a doubt, The American Legion is strong, relevant and poised for another influential century of service to communities, states and nation.

The influence of The American Legion was felt on Capitol Hill where lawmakers approved the LEGION Act. This legislation means that more than 1,600 servicemembers who were killed or wounded in previously undeclared war eras now truly get the recognition they deserve. It also opens up all benefits of American Legion membership to an additional 4.2 million veterans.

Also notable is that American Legion-supported legislation won the long fight for Blue Water Navy veterans to receive VA disability benefits for illnesses linked to exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The law, signed by President Trump in June, will extend disability benefits covering medical conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure to those who served on ships off the coast of Vietnam.

The American Legion also came to the aid of active-duty Coast Guard members when their pay was held up amid the government shutdown in January. We provided more than $1 million in expedited Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) grants that assisted 3,120 children of 1,173 Coast Guard servicemembers.

Of course, American Legion Family members raised millions of dollars for our many programs that support veterans, servicemembers, their families and youths of our nation throughout the year. I found the kindness shown on Giving Tuesday last November to be especially heart-warming. On that single day, nearly 400 individuals donated a total of $22,620 for American Legion programs.

True to our core mission, The American Legion also fought to preserve the memories of our comrades from past wars.

• On June 20, in a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of The American Legion, allowing the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial to remain where it has stood since 1925. The cross-shaped memorial honors 49 World War I veterans who never returned home to their community in Prince George’s County, Md.

• On Jan. 2, American Legion Post 853 in California took over ownership of a quarter-acre parcel of land in Ocotillo Wells where a memorial honors the service of Vietnam War veteran Jim B. Robison. The agreement to purchase the land allowed the memorial, which sits on a small hill in a barren desert, to remain in place where it was dedicated in 1966.

There have been many reasons to celebrate our achievements of the past year — and the past 100 years. One way to do so is to purchase a special keepsake American Legion centennial coin. Only two organizations a year are selected by the U.S. Mint to strike a special commemorative coin. The selection of The American Legion as one of those two this year shows how well-respected our organization is throughout the nation.

The coin sales will terminate at the end of this year so be sure to get your collectibles before it’s too late.

The coins are just one way to celebrate our first century of service to America. Departments and posts held their own special events. And, of course, our national convention this month will be another way to celebrate.

Perhaps the most-watched centennial event was when The American Legion was featured near the start of the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif. An estimated 4.7 million people viewed the parade in person or on television. “People were very supportive as we passed,” I said at the time. “A lot of ‘God bless the USA’ and ‘thank you for your service.’ And they never stopped. The crowds just went on and on and on.”

And that is what The American Legion will do. We will go on and on and on. Our organization has a bright future and so do our fellow veterans, today’s servicemembers and America’s children. And that is thanks to you and your dedication to The American Legion.

National convention events to be streamed live

Several events surrounding the 101st National Convention of The American Legion in Indianapolis, Aug. 23-29, will be live streamed.

The events will be streamed live on The American Legion's National Headquarters Facebook page ( and YouTube page ( Viewers can also watch the events on The American Legion's website at All times listed are Eastern, and are tentative and/or subject to change.

3 Days of General Session,

Live stream coverage includes:

Color Guard Contest – Friday, Aug. 23, at 4 p.m.

Concert Band Contest – Saturday, Aug. 24, at 1 p.m.

Patriotic Memorial Service – Sunday, Aug. 25, at 11 a.m.

Convention General Sessions – Tuesday, Aug. 27, Wednesday, Aug. 28, and Thursday, Aug. 29, at 8:30 a.m.

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