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September 2023 eNews

A Community of Volunteers Serving Veterans, Military, and their Families

The American Legion Auxiliary is joining forces with The American Legion and Sons of The American Legion to promote the Be the One initiative, which destigmatizes asking for mental health support, provides peer-to-peer support and resources, and educates everyone on how they can Be the One.


How can you Be the One?


  • Ask veterans in your life how they are doing.
  • Listen when a veteran needs to talk.
  • Reach out when you think a veteran might be struggling.
  • Increase awareness about the veteran and military suicide epidemic.


Those needing help are encouraged to call the Veterans Crisis Line at 988.

2023 ALA National Convention wrap-up

We celebrated one year and ushered in the next at the ALA’s 102nd National Convention. Here’s a look at some takeaways:


  • National president hands off the checkered flag: Enjoy this blog post on newly elected 2023-2024 National President Lisa Williamson of Alaska. And be sure to read this swansong from outgoing President Vickie Koutz if you haven’t already.
  • ALA and our people in the spotlight: Visit our blog for stories on recipients of the Public Spirit Award, Salute to Servicemembers, and Unit Members of the Year. See a listing of the 2022-2023 committee awards here. Check out future ALA media for additional convention coverage, including the November issue of Auxiliary magazine.
  • Recordings of the livestreamed general sessions and installation of officers will be available at a later date on our YouTube channel.
  • New for 2023-2024: Program Engagement Plans. Now is a good time to log in to the member portal and learn how you can get involved in serving our veterans, military, and their families. 

Meet the new American Legion Family leadership

The 2023-2024 administrative year is in full swing! New national leaders were elected during National Convention in Charlotte. Lisa Williamson, Alaska, was installed as ALA national president, Daniel Seehafer, Wisconsin, was elected national commander of The American Legion, and Donald “JR” Hall Jr., Maryland, was elected Sons of The American Legion national commander. You can read more about each of the leaders in our November issue of Auxiliary

A one-day commitment can amp up your service to veterans, military, and their families

We invite you to spend a Saturday learning, connecting with fellow members, and enjoying one of five cities. This one-day, interactive ALA event will allow attendees to share ideas, learn more about working the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary, and network with others who share the same passion for service.


The informative content will focus on:

  • Service for veterans and active-duty 
  • Family support
  • Community
  • Youth development


Past attendees have returned home with a renewed sense of purpose, creative ideas, and new friends in the ALA. 


Register for an ALA Mission Training today!

Have fun while developing leadership skills

ALA Juniors have the opportunity to increase their leadership skills, meet other Juniors, and have a fun Saturday learning more about the ALA mission.


This meeting is unlike a school day. It’s a Saturday to make new friends, do crafts, play games, and more. Juniors will have so much fun, they won’t realize they are building skills.


And here’s something to get excited about: NEW THIS YEAR — therapy dogs and their handlers will be on site to talk about how canines assist veterans!


Don’t let your ALA Junior member miss out on this opportunity. Register for one of the five national Junior meetings today! The events are held at the same time and in the same city as Mission Trainings, so while Mom or Grandma attends a Mission Training, their granddaughter can go to the national Junior meeting.


Register now

T-shirt design contest still open for Junior members

Juniors who register for a national Junior meeting get a free T-shirt designed by a Junior! You can help choose the winning design — vote here!


Voting closes Sept.16, and the winning design will be announced Sept. 20.

Recent updates on the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (toxic water litigation)

On Sept. 6, 2023, the Dept. of Justice/Dept. of Navy announced a settlement program called the “Elective Option” to evaluate and potentially settle CLJA claims. The government’s proposal applies to a small subset of Camp Lejeune water contamination claims — nine compared to over 40 diagnoses most law firms are pursuing. The “Option” applies to the following nine (9) diagnoses, which must include evidence of both a diagnosis and an exposure at Camp Lejeune: cancers of the bladder, liver, kidney; leukemia; multiple myeloma; Parkinson’s disease; scleroderma; Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; and kidney disease/end-stage renal disease.

 

Bergmann & Moore, the law firm selected by The American Legion and the ALA to help assist their members in determining whether to file a CLJA claim, believes the government’s offer falls far short of adequately valuing the harm caused by the contaminated water and fails to consider many factors that would warrant additional compensation (e.g., multiple injuries, lost wages, age at diagnosis, etc.). What the elective option does importantly make clear is that any settlement offer will not be offset by any VA disability award, payment or benefits. Claimants who believe they were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune may speak to someone personally by calling 800-898-9450, or by filling out the form online at www.camplejeunelitigationteam.com/al. If you have any questions before filing a claim, please call Elizabeth Hartman, B&M’s CLJA liaison with The American Legion, at 202-497-7255. The Legion encourages veterans/claimants to reach out to a CLJA attorney for any condition they think may be related to toxic water exposure while at Camp Lejeune.

Fundraising 4-1-1

Lands’ End Business has a special offer for ALA members! Until Sept. 15, get free logo embroidery and free standard shipping. Use code EMTFLFS. Full details below.

 

*Free Logo Embroidery Application Fee on first logo embroidery of each item (up to a $7.95 value for logos under 16,000 stitches. Application fees over 16,000 stitches will be reduced by $7.95). Additional logos at regular retail price. Free Standard Shipping to a single address in the contiguous United States. Excludes face masks, any item identified as “Promotional Product”, furniture, screen print T-shirts and other promotional products with existing quantity discounts, excluded styles as marked, logo setup fees, monogramming, gift boxing, program certificates, gift cards, taxes and duties, or other fees. Online promotions may differ from catalog. Discount will be applied at checkout. This offer has no cash value and is not redeemable for cash. Promotional savings may be deducted from returns. Valid on Business Outfitter orders only. Not valid on previous orders or at Lands’ End, LandsEnd.com or when combined with any other promotional offer or program discount. Offer valid through 11:59 p.m. Central, Sept. 15, 2023.

Allegiance Accident Protection Plan is a guaranteed issue plan that pays a policy holder when they have an accident. It will pay an amount per day spent in the hospital up to 365 days. Choose from three different plans to fit your budget. This policy also includes a six time per-year outpatient benefit related to an accident, a recuperation benefit, and a loss of life benefit. Learn more about how AmWins can help you by visiting the Member Benefits page. 

Good to know

Fall is just around the corner and so is Halloween! Which means it’s a great time to order or download ALA Halloween coloring books! These easy-to-use publications are a great way to spread awareness of the ALA and our important mission to families in your community while also giving Halloween treats to kids! 

Exciting scholarship news! The ALA Spirit of Youth Scholarship will now award $1,000 to each of the 52 department winners. Previously, department winners did not receive funds; only the five division winners were awarded $5,000 scholarships. Learn more about ALA scholarships. 


American Legion Auxiliary 2024 dues are now available to pay. Renew your annual membership dues in three easy ways: by phone, online, or mail. Go to www.ALAforVeterans.org, call (317) 569-4570, or mail in your renewal notice.


Looking for an article from a past issue of Auxiliary magazine? You can find copies dating back to 2010 on our website. For older issues, contact history@ALAforVeterans.org.


Increase your knowledge of the ALA quickly and conveniently! The ALA Academy is an easy way for all ALA members to learn about topics related to serving our mission. The Academy includes recordings of previously held live webinars and self-paced courses. Get started today! Log in with your member ID at www.ALAforVeterans.org/ALA-Academy.

Request to join the official ALA program and committee groups on Facebook

Discover what your fellow ALA members are saying in the committee Facebook groups! These easy-to-access forums provide an arena for organic discussion about your local programs or services and present the opportunity to cultivate brand awareness. Find the list of groups here.
On the ALA Blog

Iowa district exceeds expectations to help heroes heal

Iowa’s Fifth District Auxiliary President Jacki Bolen from Deep River Unit 296 wanted to do a unique project that would truly make a difference in the lives of veterans in her community. A nonprofit veterans organization called HERO — Healing at the English River Outfitters — really spoke to her. Bolen reached out to the HERO group to discuss their needs, and it was clear that they desperately needed a side-by-side vehicle to transport disabled veterans and conduct maintenance on the grounds. Learn more about the project on the blog.

Take a bow! Boundaries are important in leadership transitions

“I believe in leaving the stage while the audience is still clapping.” What do you do if you’re an ALA unit officer struggling with handing over the reins to new leaders? And if you’re one of those new leaders, how do you ensure that the work transitions to you, giving you and other members the freedom to coordinate plans and activities as you see fit? Help your ALA unit avoid these fates by ensuring that your own leaders leave while the audience is still clapping. Follow tips on the blog to ensure the timely transition of responsibilities.

Save the date!

September – Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month

Sept. 15 – National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Sept. 16 – American Legion Day

Sept. 17 – Constitution Day

Sept. 24 – Gold Star Mother’s Day

Quote of the month

What would you say to people who are on the fence about volunteering?


“There is a blessing in giving and sharing. Everybody’s level of volunteerism may not be the same. Your gifts and talents may be different from your neighbor, but everybody has something they can give.”


— Candace Wicks, Texas

Legion Family News

‘Triumph in Tragedy’

 

The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast is publishing a special six-part series, Military Sexual Trauma: Triumph in Tragedy


This special series strives to raise awareness about Military Sexual Trauma, share stories of overcoming the trauma, and pinpoint solutions for those seeking help.


(Please note that this series might be triggering for some who have experienced MST or other forms of abuse. The Veterans Crisis Line is available for all veterans 24/7, whether they are enrolled in VA or not. Dial 988 then press 1 or text 838255 to talk confidentially with a trained counselor.)


The first three episodes were released Sept. 5-7, and the final three are being published this week. The Tango Alpha Lima podcast will return to its regular schedule on Sept. 19.


Be the One podcast series debuts


As part of its initiative to reduce veteran suicide, The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast is debuting a new monthly episode devoted to Be the One. Through this series, The American Legion aims to further elevate the discussion, raise awareness, and ultimately prevent veterans and servicemembers from being lost to suicide.


The series will be available at the Tango Alpha Lima webpage. Subscribers to the main weekly podcast will automatically receive the monthly Be the One episodes.


Marine combat veteran and current Navy reservist Amy Forsythe, an award-winning multimedia journalist, is host of the series, which will have a new episode on the first day of every month. In this month’s episode, Forsythe welcomes fellow Marine veteran Waco Hoover, who recently led the Be the One Symposium at The American Legion’s National Convention. In this new episode, Hoover talks about the next phase for the Be the One initiative. 

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In the spirit of Service Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace, and security.
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