2022 Locals Love Us Favorite Club/Organization: American Legion Post 437
As a result of pandemic-related limitations, self-preservation has been the main focus for the past two years at American Legion Post 437 in Kingsland. However, thanks to perseverance and hard work maintaining the post’s membership, the focus is switching this year, according to leadership.
“Our goal for 2022 is to start moving forward on our future vision,” said interim Finance Officer Mike Janto.
Located at 138 Legion Loop in Kingsland, the post has been serving veterans since the mid-1960s, providing programs that address the American Legion’s four pillars of interest: the wellbeing and care of veterans, national security, youth and family outreach, and Americanism.
Janto and post Commander Mike Wheeler began working to revitalize the post in 2019 after membership dwindled to the point of possible closure. As a result of their efforts and despite recent setbacks caused by COVID-19 that limited in-person meetings and programs, the post is up to about 100 active members.
For Janto, the Locals Love Us award is motivation to keep moving forward.
“We still have a lot of work to do, and we plan to see it through,” he said.
One program with increased public participation is the post’s flag-retirement ceremonies. During these events, which are often open to the community, post members properly and honorably dispose of old and worn-out American flags, a task that requires tedious care and attention to detail.
“It’s a very moving ceremony,” Janto said.
Another optimistic sign is the recent uptick in younger veterans showing an interest in the organization. This is a welcome change as it will help to ensure post longevity, Janto explained.
“We believe that the future is going to lie in these younger people, and we hope that they will (continue to) come down and check us out because we do have a lot of fun,” he said.
Now that post membership has stabilized, leaders have set goals for 2022, which include increasing public visibility through local marketing and community participation, offering childcare for post members during events and meetings, and revamping the post’s auxiliary.
Post membership is open to all U.S. military veterans and some active duty members. To learn about membership, volunteer opportunities, and more, email email@example.com.
“We’re getting to know each other,” Janto said. “Our common bond is our service. So over time, we create new friends and associations both in the post and in our social lives.”
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