Volume 05 - Issue 12 | December 2020
THE PATRIOT
The American Legion Newsletter - Ira Weaver Post 121
PO Box 247, Blairsville GA 30512

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COMMANDER'S CALL - Dan Wickersham, Cdr.

Buddy Checks to focus on mental health, well-being


The American Legion
The Ira Weaver Post 121 is joining the national American Legion effort to raise the awareness of our veteran’s suicide epidemic. As COVID-19 cases rise and the holidays approach, Our Post already has a “constant contact” program with the membership but we will expand our communications to include the Buddy Check with our monthly calling. This is to assist veterans coping with mental health and well-being challenges.

Veterans can be at particular risk for depression and suicide around the holidays, and many are disproportionately hard-hit by the pandemic due to age, chronic health issues, post-traumatic stress disorder and isolation. The Buddy Check program is designed to give Legionnaires the tools to make contact, engage in conversation, assess risks and direct veterans in need to the appropriate services. I encourage the leadership team and all members to reach out to other members. 

Therefore, I am asking each of you in Post 121 to join the collective American Legion organization to contact Congress to unanimously pass the Buddy Check Week bill which is with bipartisan support.  Resources and toolkits for Buddy Check teams are available at legion.org/buddycheck on the web. In the meanwhile, Post 121 will begin planning our team approach.

My deepest appreciation to Jim and Melanie Reed for their exceptional effort in bringing Michael Ladd, CEO and Founder of the National Veteran Resources for participation in the Classic Car and Veteran’s Day events. This non-profit organization brings together the resources to prevent suicide through coaching, mentorship, education, face-to-face visits and referrals to professional organizations from whom veteran may obtain services.

STILL SERVING

Who would have known that our Post 121 would be so involved with veteran support in light of the serious COVID 19 pandemic during 2020? We started this year with the bleak virus news with no idea what the year would produce. I am delighted to extend my personal appreciation to the leadership team and all members who are “going beyond” to make things happen. 

We have extended relationships with the Daughters of the American Revolution and become more involved with the Benghazi and Twin Towers event put on by Dr. Dan and the exceptional participation from the Post 121 Riders. The Riders, Auxiliary and AL members worked extra hard at the Car Show this year to make a great event for veterans and to recognize the seriousness of our veteran suicide problem.  This year’s Veteran Day dinner was an enormous success because of the membership and through the leadership of the Auxiliary team.

The Wreaths Across American project, spearheaded by Ron Tanner, is certainly proving to be a premiere event. Through Ron’s leadership, we will be decorating the Holly Hills Veteran cometary and other local veteran graves. 

As I reflect on this year, I cannot help but feel a sense of pride by what so many of you are doing in such an unselfish manner. Each of you are part of the Force Multiplier which makes our military stronger through promoting Americanism by working with veterans, and educating our youth through sharing your military experiences. Now more than ever, our children need to know what it means to be a veteran and what it was like during your service. Tell them of the sacrifices you and your family made to help dispel those negative stereotypes about the military and veterans. You may not be training and deploying to fight but you still have a duty to this nation. Our military needs ambassadors like yourself in our civilian sector. Our veterans are the military largest demographic asset! 

Thank you for what you do!

AMERICAN LEGION MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNTABILITY OF VOLUNTEER TIME

Roy Bateman, Post 121 Judge Advocate and Adjutant, is providing technical oversight and guidance to the leadership team and its members in order to be compliant with the administrative requirements of the national organization. Once such requirement is the accountability of the volunteer hours each and every member contributes in support of the Legion’s functions. A preliminary form has been created for each member to track their respective volunteer time. This is just one of the mandatory items we must maintain for the Post to keeps its charter. Thank you in advance for doing your part to meet our requirements.
RESOURCES
 
 VA offers support after suicide loss

Veterans have a significantly higher suicide rate than other adults in the U.S. This means Veterans are also more likely to have known someone who took their own life. Uniting for Suicide Postvention (USPV) helps make sense of a suicide loss. The program connects survivors with resources to help them work through powerful and unique emotions specific to this type of grief.

If you know someone grieving after a suicide loss, you may wish to read about ways you can help and talk to them. To learn about mental health support for Veterans, visit mentalhealth.va.gov. · If you or someone you know is in crisis, don’t hesitate to get help.
  • o  Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • o  Contact the Veterans Crisis Line, which connects service members and Veterans in crisis, as well as their family members and friends, with qualified, caring VA responders. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text to 838255, or chat online at net/Chat.
  • o  Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 741741.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) provides free, compassionate care and survivor support services for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. Services include peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, grief seminars and retreats for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, casework assistance, connections to community-based care, online and in-person support groups and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for all who have been profoundly affected by the death of a military loved one. For more information, visit taps.org or call the toll-free information helpline at 1-800-959-TAPS (8277).
Sr. Vice commander's Note - Jim Reed

MERRY CHRISTMAS - from Post 121
Luke Chapter 2 Verse 1-20

"There shines the Emblem of The American Legion, it is your badge of distinction, honor and service. It stands for God and Country, and the highest rights of man. Of its several parts, each has a meaning."
The rays of the sun
The rays of the sun form the background of our proud emblem and suggests the Legion's principles will dispel the darkness of violence and evil.
The wreath
The wreath forms the center, in loving memory of those brave comrades who gave their lives in the service of the United States that liberty might endure.
The star
The star, victory symbol of World War I, also symbolizes honor, glory and constancy. The letters "U.S." leave no doubt as to the brightest star in the Legion's star.
Outer rings
The larger of two outer rings stands for the rehabilitation of our sick and disabled comrades. The smaller inside ring denotes the welfare of America's children.
Inner rings
The smaller of two inner rings set upon the star represents service to our communities, states, and the nation. The larger outer ring pledges loyalty to Americanism.
American Legion
The words American Legion tie the whole together for truth, remembrance, constancy, honor, service, veterans’ affairs and rehabilitation, children and youth, loyalty, and Americanism.
Jr. Vice Commander's Note - Dick Cataldo

FOR GOD AND COUNTRY WE ASSOCIATE OURSELVES TOGETHER FOR THE FOLLOWING PURPOSES:

  1. TO UPHOLD AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
  2. TO MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER.
  3. TO FOSTER AND PERPETUATE A 100 PERCENT AMERICANISM
  4. TO PRESERVE THE MEMORIES AND INCIDENTS OF OUR ASSOCIATIONS IN ALL WARS
  5. TO INCULCATE A SENSE OF INDIVIDUAL OBLIGATION TO THE COMMUNITY, STATE AND NATION
  6. TO COMBAT THE AUTOCRACY OF CLASSES AND MASSES
  7. TO MAKE RIGHT THE MASTER OF MIGHT
  8. TO PROMOTE PEACE AND GOOD WILL ON EARTH
  9. TO SAFEGUARD AND TRANSMIT TO POSTERITY THE PRINCIPLES OF JUSTICE, FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY
  10. TO CONSECRATE AND SANCTIFY OUR COMRADESHIP BY OUR DEVOTION TO MUTUAL HELPFULNESS...

We recite these 10 clauses of the preamble each and every meeting that we hold. These statements , although brief, has a world of meaning. Here is the 8th statement of the Preamble
        
TO PROMOTE PEACE AND GOOD WILL ON EARTH...Until all the world becomes a good neighborhood, Legionnaires must continue the effort to promote peace and good will on earth. It is in pursuance of this founding ideal that The American Legion has supported from the beginning and seek to strengthen the United Nations organization. Obliquely, The American Legion also contributes to this ideal by firmly supporting a strong national defense to discourage breaking of the peace by aggressor. 

Naming of American Legion Post 121 Blairsville Georgia

American Legion Post 121 is named the Ira Weaver Post.  Read on to get to know this Veteran of World War I. That is right, WWI. Our Post was commissioned over 100 years ago. Ira Weaver died while on duty. He was a sailor in the United States Navy. He rose to the rank of Fireman 1st Class. Fireman Ira Weaver entered service in the United States Navy on April 16th 1917. He served on the USS Missouri and the USS America. He died on board the USS America on October 8, 1918 while on his eight voyage from France.

Our local American Legion Post 121 was named in his memory and honor. His monument can be found in the cemetery in Blairsville, GA. It is across from the First Baptist Church . There are several monuments in honor of veterans around Union County. You can find one on the old courthouse lawn bearing all of the WWI Veterans who died during the time frame of WWI. 

Our Post is in the process of presenting a photo of Ira Weaver. to be mounted in a conspicuous location in the Veterans Building. His Navy picture was found in the Old Courthouse. If you never visited the military museum, it would be a real pleasure to see and acknowledge the many veterans here. Most are veterans and residents of Union County. The staff at the Union County Historical Society was gracious to allow us to borrow it so we can produce a copy for display. It will be an honor to see this esteemed veteran which bears his name.
2nd Jr. Vice commander's Notes - Ryan Rogers

No December Submission
Judge Advocate/Adjutant Notes - Roy Bateman

IRA WEAVER AMERICAN LEGION
MONTHLY MINUTES POST 121 - November 17, 2020
Commander Wickersham opened the meeting at 18:30 hours.
Advancement of the colors by the Sgt of Arms and Vice-Commander.
Chaplain: Chaplain Hoibraten led in prayer.
POW/MIA flag displayed.
Post Pledge of Allegiance and the Preamble of the American Legion.
Commander declared the meeting convened. Judge Advocate stated a Quorum is present to conduct business.
Introduction of members and guests.
Order Of Business:
         Adjutant declared a quorum was present. Minutes are printed in the News letter.
COMMITTEE REPORTS:
·       All reports to be given are from the podium with limit of 2 minutes. A printed copy of your report is to be handed to the adjutant or emailed to him/her.
·       Program: Reach Across American Planning: Ron Tanner – Wreaths will be delivered December 14-18, 2020. Meet at the vet center on December 18, 2020 at 11 AM to complete planning. Meet at the Vet center at 10:00 AM on the 19th to load. Ceremony to lay wreaths at each flag to honor the sacrifices of the service members. Leave the vet center at 1 PM for each cemetery 
·       Adjutant Bateman: Membership Report: 164 Active members, 10 Expired members and 7 Deceased. We now have 137 paid members with 27 members not paid.
·       Finance Officer Tanner: See financial report attached.
·       Post Service Officer no report.
    .    Riders: Tom Shell – See report and Financial statement attached.
·        SAL: J. W. Preston – See report and Financial statement attached attached.
·       ALA: Darlene Thompson – See Report and Financial statement attached.
·       Public Relations: No Report
·       Historian: No Report
Closing Ceremony: retiring of the colors. Chaplain Hoibraten led in a closing prayer.
There being no further business to come before the Post the meeting was adjourned at 17:45 PM.
Roy Bateman
Adjutant/Judge Advocate
Chaplain's Corner

I bring greetings to all as this year winds down. This is the Advent Season and our opportunity to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child and to share in giving.

Giving is not just gifts from the stores but giving of love from the heart and by sharing our beliefs in humanity. Giving also is an expression of unity and recognition of our need for each other and the importance of hearing with our ears and seeing with our eyes, but also sensing and feeling with our hearts.

As it is written in Matthew and the other synoptic gospels God was born to be with us and to share our experiences and to be our guide in troubled times.

Praise God and be blessed.
Rev Richard Hoibraten, Chaplain
Post Services Officer's Notes - Eddie Fontaine

No December Submission
Public Relations Officer's Notes - Jim and Judy Yohe
American Legion Ira Weaver Post 121 appoints Chaplain and Historian
Dan Wickersham, commander, Blairsville American Legion Ira Weaver Post 121 recently appointed a new Chaplain and historian for the Post.

The new Chaplain, Richard Hoibraten, serves following the decision by former Chaplain Phil Gatlin to step down for health and other personal reasons.

The Reverand Hoibraten served in the U.S. Navy beginning in 1969, first as an electrician on board ship and then in aviation. He later joined the Seebees where he spent his career until being called to ministry. He attended Emory’s Candler School of Theology and served as a Methodist pastor in central Georgia. He had discovered Union County in the 1980s, but currently lives in Towns County. He is married to a Methodist pastor serving in Baton Rouge, LA. They have several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Rev. Hoibraten also serves as Chaplain for the local Seebees veterans’ unit and other organizations in the area.

Chaplain Gatlin had been noted for his efforts to visit and serve especially older veterans in area senior centers. He will remain active with the Post and assist Chaplain Hoibraten.
Marcus Tuschel replaces Jack Payne, who recently resigned the position, as the Post historian. Tuschel served in the U.S. Army from 1957 to 1963. Besides serving in the National Guard in Wisconsin and California he also served with the Sixteenth Infantry Combat Support Group in Germany. Later he served with the Army Rangers and then Special Forces where he saw duty in eight different nations. He arrived in Union County in 2004 and serves with the House of Prayer and Blairsville First Baptist Church in a variety of capacities.

American Legion Ira Weaver Post 121 donates to National Veterans Resources


Dan Wickersham, Commander, Blairsville American Legion Ira Weaver Post 121 and Jim Reed, Post senior vice commander, present Michelle Ladd, National Veterans Resources, with a $150 donation for her national work in helping prevent veteran and first responder suicides. Ladd attended the recent Blairsville Cruisers’ Salute to Veterans and was part of the American Legion and Auxiliary Veterans Day activities at the Veterans Center.


Historian's Notes - Jack Payne resigned. Position open and available.
Event Coordinator's Notes - JW Preston

Please see insert on Wreaths Across America.

Our Next scheduled event is the Veteran’s Cruise-in at the Farmer’s Market on November 7. We are looking for members who would like to meet a lot of friendly people and spread the word about The American Legion families while taking turns at the American Legion booth. You can let us know if you can spare the time by sending an email to: alpost121@gmail.com, with “Cruise-in” the subject line.

The American Legion Auxiliary has made arrangements to have a Meatball Sub booth at the event, proceeds to support the VSOs.
Flag Program Chairman's Notes - Don Sullivan
New Flags are on sale for $ 20.00

Don
Wreaths Across America Sponsorship
Ira Weaver American Legion Post 121 Sponsors
Holly Hill Veterans Park Cemetery


Thanks to all who are supporting our Wreaths Across America program this year. With your help we have surpassed our goal for Holly Hill Veterans Cemetery and are now continuing with an effort to include all veteran’s graves at Memory Garden Cemetery here in Blairsville as well. 

Our schedule for wreath laying is December 19th. We are at this time planning a ceremony at the Veterans Building on Old Blue Ridge Hwy the morning of the 19th at 11:00AM and will go from there to the cemeteries to lay the wreaths. All who are interested in participating should contact me at iwpost121@gmail.com  And please continue to help spread the word and sponsor wreaths for Georgia National Cemetery as well.  

or send a check to
American Legion Post 121
P O Box 247
Blairsville, GA 30514

Thanks again for your support.

For more information contact Ron Tanner at 706-400-9452 or iwpost121@gmail.com .
American Legion Auxiliary

The Auxiliary will be participating in the Kris Kringle Market as a fundraiser. If you, your hubby, wife, cousin, or family member have a craft that you would consider donating to the fundraising operation, please bring it to the November meeting.


TERRIFIC TUESDAY - STARTING JANUARY 2021
REACHING OUT TO VETERANS WHO NEED A HELPING HAND

The ladies of the Auxiliary have been discussing how underutilized the Vet Center is. We are looking at expanding hours of operation, starting in January, to open the center, each Tuesday, to the public and to veterans who would like to, or need to, have some fellowship, a mentor, a bite of lunch, a massage, a haircut, destress with yoga, etc. If you have a skill that you would consider donating a couple of hours a week/month, or would just like to sit and chew the fat, please contact any member of the auxiliary to get put on our contact list so we may incorporate you into the service schedule. We are referred to Item # 10 in the preamble to the constitution of the American Legion Constitution "To consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness"

Join us - Say YES!
American Legion Riders
Dec 19th, Wreaths Across America Ride to place wreaths on graves at Holly Hill Cemetery, Blairsville.
Sons of the American Legion
If you know of someone who is qualified, ask them if want to be part of the American Legion family.

Eligibility Requirements
All male descendants, adopted sons and stepsons of members of The American Legion, and such male descendants of veterans who died in service during World War I or since December 7, 1941, during the delimiting periods set forth in Article IV, Section 1, of the National Constitution of The American Legion or who died subsequent to their honorable discharge from such service, shall be eligible for membership in the Sons of The American Legion. There shall be no form or class of membership except an active membership. 

For a membership application, send an email to: alpost121@gmail.com, with SAL App in the subject line - or come on third Tuesday night to the Vet Center and ask for JW Preston.
North Georgia Honor Guard

Volunteers Needed - Please contact
Bill Stodgill, Cdr, Western Division -
678-507-8598

Wayne Roshaven, Cdr, Eastern Division -
706-400-9095

CALENDAR AT A GLANCE

Red Shirt Friday - Wear a red shirt every Friday in support of service men and women.

DEC
01 - Civil Air Patrol (USAF Aux) Birthday
05 - Kris Kringle Market (Auxiliary) 10am - 3pm
07 - Pearl Harbor Day - Called "A day which will live in infamy" by Franklin D. Roosevelt - On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
09 - ALA Christmas Celebration Meeting at Odom Springs
13 - National Guard Birthday
19 - Wreaths Across American - Blairsville's Own Holly Hill Ceremony
(see article above for details about the ceremony and wreath laying)
28 - Anniversary of the Army Chaplain Assistant / Religious Affairs Specialist.

JAN 2020
Tasty Tuesday begins

Name, Position

Dan Wickersham, Cdr
Mike Ayers, Past Cdr
Jim Reed, Sr Vice Cdr
Dick Cataldo, Jr Vice Cdr
Ryan Rogers, 2nd Jr Vice Cdr
Ron Tanner, Temp Finance Ofcr
Roy Bateman, Judge Advocate
Richard Hoibraten
Eddie Fontaine, Post Svc Officer
Jim & Judy Yohe, Public Relations
Marcus Tuschel, HIstorian
JW Preston, Event Coordinator
Don Sullivan, Flag Program Chair
Riders - The Schells
Janice Walters-Taylor - Newsletter
Email

dan.wickersham@gmail.com
lmayers@brmemc.net
mfjlake1@bellsouth.net
dick.cataldo@gmail.com
rogersr142@gmail.com
rpt.tanner@gmail.com
serenety216@gmail.com
cj20207947@outlook.com
eddie.fontaine@vs.state.ga.us
yohejamesa@gmail.com

jwardpreston@gmail.com
dpslks@aol.com
karenschell88@gmail.com
niquimarie@yahoo.com
Phone

828-342-7164





706-897-2447
404-683-2834
706-745-6341

706-835-9010



706-745-1854
We thank these businesses for their support of The American Legion Post 121

For Advertising and Sponsorship Information please contact
alpost121@gmail.com
Old Union Golf Course
78 Scores Point
Blairsville GA 30512
706-745-4653

Alexander's Store
4482 Town Creek School Road
Blairsville GA 30512