72.Free American Legion Dinner…. Please Read

Free LunchSometimes it is amazing the things one finds on the internet. When I found this morsel I was so stunned by the logic I could not pass it by. The sheer thought that went into the thought of this event is so bewildering it staggered me to the core. I was wondering where this marketing genius is now hiding, undoubtedly he or she is now a highly paid marketing consultant in one of the worlds mega firms. Please Read On!

Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner at American Legion Hall

 Tags: Events, Community

The American Legion Auxiliary, Windsor Unit #25 is sponsoring a free community thanksgiving dinner for everyone who would like to come. The dinner is being planned for November 18th at the American Legion Hall. This is for people who will be left at home alone, and families who would just like to come and meet their neighbors in the community.

To donate to this worthy cause: time, moneys, supplies, or food, contact:

Mary Hayden
P.O. Bx. 268
Ascutney, VT 05030-0268

or through the Legion Auxiliary

Did I miss something here in the form of FREE FROM THE AMERICAN LEGION? How are you the sponsor if you are needing donations? Are not the people and business that donate then the sponsors? It sounds to me like the Legionaires said :

“Damn I am hungry…how about you?” “Yeah I am….we got anything to eat around here?” “Don’t look like it does it” “How ’bouts we have ever’one bring food here on Sunday?” “Sounds good to me and we can call it free dinner too that will fool ’em.” “Feeling like some turkey and gravy myself.”

I hope they found someone to cook it for them too!



20 Responses to “72.Free American Legion Dinner…. Please Read”

  1. November 20, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Hee hee hee! You are absolutely right! I’ll bet the place it packed with with members and their families.

    It is laudable to think of the shutins, but to include anyone that wants to come has some other agenda, like feeding their own families and hitting up for members and donations.

    Around here, (Atlanta area) there are some wonderful acts of kindness directed to the homeless with service providers standing by with gifts for outdoors living, opportunities, and featuring no-hassle eating, no mandatory services

    There are others which include the truly needy on Thanksgiving with sponsors with no agenda other than random acts of kindness. I don’t see the American Leagon among them. Major events, purely for the homeless, others include the very needy.


  2. November 20, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Maybe they needed the donations because all of the money that they took in from membership dues went toward beer and pretzels.

    Around here, they were the ones who owned one of the American Flags that was flying on flag pole that was owned by the local TV station.

    Of course, since the flag was tattered and torn, I called the TV station who told me that the flag belonged to the American Legion.

    When I tried getting hold of them to mention that it was badly torn and in need of being replaced I kept getting that annoying screeching associated with fax machines.

    It took over three weeks before anyone from the American Legion to get around to replacing the flag.

    Maybe they were out hunting for the donations to send to the AL in Vermont’s “free” Thanksgiving Dinner.

    In the meanwhile, there are literally hundred of thousands of homeless veterans who will most likely spend their Thanksgiving standing in a line at some homeless shelter for whatever leftovers the local communities deem them worthy of.

    So much for “…liberty and justice for all.”

  3. November 20, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    Ok, well I can see your point, but….at the same time many places request donations when they are putting on a free dinner or etc. You wrote about the Operation Stand Down and how they are requesting donations. I think it’s a fairly common practice unless they have mountains of money in the back room. Just my opinion.

  4. 4 Rudy Hanecak III
    November 20, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    I am not a member of the american Legion, or a veteran. I posted the dinner announcement as in a small community 3,700 people our legion is not flush with members, neither is the American Legion auxillary (Who put on the dinner), or the Sons of the American Legion. Being a small organization, in a smaller, non-wealthy community organizations such as the Legion, Elks, Rotary, Legion aux., Chamber of Commerce, etc need more support and help from the other orgs and individuals than most places. If you cannot understand that, then you do not understand what it is like in a small community……………Rudy

    Dear Rudy,
    I am so glad you wrote to me. As a former Vermonter myself and having resided around your community and having had many a cremee there I know the size of your community exactly. I found it amazing though under the guise of inviting the “shut ins” that the American Legion (of which I was once a former member) and Windsor the majority of whom commute to very nice paying jobs 15 miles away solicited donations as a sponsor. I understand you posted this, but it was truly in terrible taste as the majority of the people in attendance would have been post membership. Did any shut ins attend? What if no one had donated food, utensils or money Rudy? Would the show still have gone on? What about all the others that are suffering in your community? How where they invited? There are the homeless, those without heat (it is very cold there), the other hungry, the list is eternal. How many showed up Sunday? How many shut ins? How many post members? Was it covered by the newspaper? I would be glad to eat my hat as it is chewed up anyway. What volunteer activities is American Legion Post in Windsor, VT involved in? What has the post financially donated to? What amounts? Please tell me I will post a glorious tribute to your post and your town Rudy.


  5. 5 Rudy Hanecak III
    November 20, 2007 at 9:17 pm


    About 200 people attended the event. Many were from Old Windsor Village (Senior Housing), but some were just attending for a “community dinner.” The dinner was being planned and was going ahead even if the local merchants did not donate the milk, turkey, or whatever else was needed. The auxillary still spent some money on the dinner and had lots of left overs which were sent to the local assisted living facility (Stoughton House). The event was sent out via e-mail (which is how it got posted to the “Windsor Record”, sent to the calendar of events in the local papers/tv, posted flyers around town, and flyers sent directly to the new manager at the low income housing project known as Armory Square. Unfortunately, the papers chose to cover a fire in Reading, VT over a positive community dinner. The Auxillary supplied about 80% of the volunteers, while the Legion lent some of the other logistical support. In the last five years the American Legion has supported our local community activities, been co-sponsor of the Memorial Day activities, helped to create a beautiful Memorial ($30,000 donation towards the project, plus was the umbrella organization for the organizers that made it happen) in the downtown at the Constitution Common, donated to the school, tried to establish a Jr. ROTC (it lasted about 3 years- the recruiter helping from the National Guard was called to duty in Iraq). Most recently the Legion donated use of the hall and supplies to a fundraising dinner for a family whose son was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. The Legion does what it can with a declining, and aging membership. Could it be more active, yes, but they need new members to help make that happen.However, the Legion are not the only ones in that predicament………….Rudy

    MY Rebuttal

    Before I go any further, let me explain who is writing to us here. Rudy is one of the Town Selectmen and Part of the Towns Loan Commission. I really struck a nerve with this gentleman who is not even a veteran I guess since he is not even a member of this towns American Legion.

    In reading what he has quoted here, and earlier about 5% of the total community came out for this “Social”. This looks like it was a very well advertised event that might have gotten a bit out of hand and frightened the American Legion a bit sending it looking for donations. I failed to see anywhere in Rudy’s Message about the shut ins but after my initial blast there is a lot of “low income” and “seniors” now mentioned. Personally I hate leftovers, especially when everyone that attended probably got the “goods”. Amazing how a fire elsewhere eliminated the news coverage so mysteriously.

    A $30,000.00 Memorial in a downtown area for beautification? Now I see where this selectman is a little touchy here! I can think of 30,000 better things to be spending money on than statues there American Legion! Mr. Hanecak III, must have been on the board for that one for sure. What are you thinking about anyway? 30K YOU’RE FIRED.

    A JROTC program that failed because 1 man was called to Iraq? Well it seemed the funding was in place. You mean with all of these veterans and patriotic Americans, this town could not find ONE MAN or WOMAN to step forward to keep the program alive? Something is fishy with that one. If what you just told me is the truth, Rudy I want to come there and kick some asses in that American Legion and whole community because someone there is not working hard enough at all. What did everyone do give up on the kids? You could not find anyone out of supposedly over 3,700 people to keep it alive or advertise it out? Something does not add up Rudy.

    As far as their membership woes go, there are more veterans returning every day at greater levels than ever. If they are having a hard time recruiting members in their community, I just do not know what to tell them except to look inside their own halls and look at what is the problems there. Are they even recruiting? I doubt it.

    Helping out is what American Legions are supposed to be doing on a community level. Maybe though you should research yourself though what their mission is Rudy and why they were founded so you will understand their true purpose yourself. For five years Rudy you summed up very little and a lot that should be looked at. If I was running for office I do not think I could get re-elected based on that record.


  6. 6 Rudy Hanecak III
    November 21, 2007 at 12:47 am

    Interesting rant,

    A little google search and all of a sudden you know everything about me and Windsor’s current woes. When the Legion gave the $30K it was part of an even greater fundraising effort and a large citizen effort to revitalize our downtown. At the time I was not on the Selectboard.

    While I agree, some of the apathy to join the legion comes from the old guard, it is that old guard that is keeping the organization also on life support. Apathy in Windsor has been growing for twenty years. about ten years ago Windsor had a board of Selectmen that realized that Windsor, and only Windsor could pick itself up from its economic and social woes. During that time a lot of initiatives were started and organizations and individuals signed on to “make things happen” The memorial was an intergral part of that effort. Our downtown went from a vacancy rate of over 50% to one or two empty locations. The Legion, Sons of the Legion, and Auxillary members have been intergral in those efforts. However, since Windsor does have a self-destructive population the change in selectboards and direction has started to alienate many of the would be volunteers again, and local organizations are tightening up on their budgets and their time for the impact. Because they know, when this happens the few that do everything are relied on even more heavily than ever.

    I know this from experience as one of the most active volunteers in the community. Those that are active do appreciate the efforts of our Legionnaires, Auxillary and SAL. As a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and former board member, Downtown program, the aforementioned Memorial Committee, Memorial Day Committee, 2003 rotating Boyscouts Salute to Veterans Parade Committee, organizer to several local events, Cornish Colony Museum Board Trustee, WOA PATV former board member and founder, I know first hand how hard it is to 1. find members and volunteers. 2. raise money 3. Get positive media coverage in general. Outside of the calendar of events, the Valley News, Eagle Times, and Rutland Herald ignore Windsor, unless the Selectboard starts some political turmoil. So when one of the organizations does step out on a limb and try to do something positive, I will help to promote it, and willl defend the effort. I always look at building the social capital in the community as baby steps. Each step is a small victory. Now, since this dinner was successful, I expect it to become an annual event like their children’s Christmas and Halloween parties. Since it is these little positive acts that are the best recruiting tool for any organization. For our Legion and its family of organizations to survive, as well as our Elks Club, Rotary, Lions Club, Masons, Knights of Columbus, etc. We need to embrace, support, and promote their efforts. Because if we do not, we will not get more participation, but less, and eventually none………………Rudy


    No Rudy I did not google, I just read your website there The Windsor Record.

    The American Legion was founded on other principles. I hope they are reading this there at the post also. What I am going to say is going to be very painful to them. It sounds though Rudy you have been running this group as your own version of the Jaycees. You have turned this whole diatribe into being about your town. I am talking about veterans and their organizations and service to veterans on this page. Patriotism and helping veterans. In all of the three comments that you have made about this post, you have not made mention have you of how they have helped veterans. That is what the American Legion was established for. They were not founded for assisting in town beautification, that is a secondary mission. They were not established to be there when the Elks would not do it. The American Legion is a support network for veterans. It was founded in 1919 officially but earlier unofficially. If you are wondering why it is dying there I am beginning to see why from listening to you. I am sorry no one from this American Legion decided to make a comment and is letting someone that is a non veteran and a non member talk for them. I noticed there were no rebuttals to any acts of what they were supposed to be doing there from the earlier reply like being there on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Personally from reading everything you write I am just speechless about a post that does almost nothing for veterans. The lack of new Veterans joining might also be reflective in what they are seeing in the local American Legion also. Rudy, I keep feeding you rope and you keep stretching it…

    But since you are on a website of homeless veteran issues, maybe you can tell me what you and your town are doing regarding these issues? You have not once mentioned these at all. Has your town or legion any services for homeless veterans or homeless in general? It sounds with all of this “Beautification” that your town might be rather strict on the homeless personally.

    Rudy, Good Luck with your American Legion Jaycees and good luck in the next party you guys are planning together…I just don’t believe it at all.

  7. November 21, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    My personal opinion here, again, but why condemn him for doing something for the community? Yes, they should be helping veterans, but if it’s a small community, and there aren’t a lot of veterans, wouldn’t you consider it a good thing that they are trying to help the community? Maybe in getting the community involved in activities, they will draw more veterans to their association. I guess I’m not understanding why all your ire is directed to this one individual. Maybe one of the “shutins” was a spouse of a veteran, or the son or daughter of a veteran came to the dinner. Are they not then, still helping the veteran? If it were me, I’d thank Rudy for what he does for his community, and maybe offer a suggestion of more vet friendly dinners. Like on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

    My Ire is not directed at the individual. Actually I have no ire at all and sorry if you are reading it that way. The gentleman in question is playing everything from the angle of the community politician with his prattle. I am not interested in the geopolitical problems of his town. He expressed though how he is using the veterans though to shore up his town. The veterans are not being supported at all in this community at all from what he was expressing but being quite used in the reverse. As you might have read, when all else failed the veterans were the ones tapped for the dirty work and the excuse given is “you do not know how things work in a small town”. I have been in this town. I have seen the $30,000.00 beautification monument. I am not picking on this man at all as I am saying, I am wondering though why the American Legion does not stand up for themselves. This man through his words, has made them sound like he snaps his fingers and they jump. When he describes the legions doings with the Boy Scouts, he does not realize that in 1923 the American Legion pledged their support to scouting forever. The legion there is not going out of their way there, it is in their MANDATE. Geez Louise!

    Nationwide, it is a problem with all of our fraternal veteran organizations, and not just this one. Unfortunately this gentleman decided he wanted to air his towns other issues for some reason and not stick to the main issue. This site is about veterans homeless and veterans political issues. It is not about the Town of Windsor, VT as Rudy made it out to be. Personally, I think he is just playing to a hometown crowd, that once this tracked back to their hometown site, has been following the going ons.

  8. November 22, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Ahh the hate mail has poured forth from tiny Vermont.

    Rudy has doggedly written to me throughout this post about his town of Windsor, Vermont. It is a pretty little town. Rudy missed though the whole point of this website though and did not research other posts here regarding the issues. He accused me of “googling” him and his town, I just read his web site was all.

    I was not attacking his town. Actually I do not have an opinion of his town at all. Rudy, being a politician kept making it an issue. All I want to know was what the Legion was doing as it did look humorous, and it really is. How do you hold a free meal and beg at the same time. How about holding a covered dish maybe? Anyhow from reading, it seemed the shut ins and the poor got the leftovers. Rudy pointed out its lack of recruiting, its internal problems, its dying membership. I wished though I had heard about active veterans issues in the community. All I heard about promoting an issue was one failure.

    Rudy is now in the geopoloitical attack mode explaining the apathy of his town (self-destructive was his word) and the rise and fall of the roman empire as you can read. Hail Ceasar!

    From reading about how the poor were treated already, when I asked about homeless, and other issues I know it must have sparked a seizure somewhere. One of the issues I am trying to accomplish on this site is to get my Fraternal Veteran Organizations off their Collective Asses and back doing the things they were founded for. This includes from the National, State, District and Post Levels. We were founded to help VETERANS FIRST. Everything else comes second. That includes the SALs and the Auxillary. So what I have heard from Windsor, VT so far is that there were no veteran issues they could be involved with so they have let the head of the Chamber of Commerce and a Town Selectman speak for them.

    Why is that?

    Why does neither the Legion, VFW or DAV ever get in my ass?

  9. November 22, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    More Hate Mail From Vermont….

    Dear Hartland:
    I have heard from one American Legion member regarding statues and sanctioned luncheons. He asked if I ever had a home. Of course that was just a low blow being a former resident myself there also. He also stated that I do not make a valid point anywhere on my site, of course this is the first time I have had dissent on an issue and it is about this one point. I am finally glad someone is upset about something I said. The American Legions that are running tattoo parlors elsewhere on their dance floors sure did not say anything to me. I agree with a certain gentleman from Hartland, Vermont on some issues as he states. But I also disagree on some points. He mentioned that he has not seen the “war chests of monies” of the American Legion. Well all he has to do is open his American Legion Magazine once a year, and read how much the AL has. They have to disclose it to the membership once a year in Cash, Real Estate, Holdings, Investments, and Other Holdings etc.
    He might also want to ask his District Commander, State Commander and even write to his National Commander about this. You see all I am getting here from these letters are generalities. I am not getting WE DID THIS, OR WE DO THIS. OR WE CREATED THIS. Dinners are fine and dandy. They are just social events though unless they are a sustained event for a purpose. Holding them as a “Holiday” event is just that. It is a SOCIAL event. Meals on Wheels is a sustained event for low income. A Thanksgiving Dinner is a SOCIAL EVENT. One Meal is not a milestone in giving. There are 364 more days in the year. If $30,000.00 statues bankrupt an American Legion Post, how about a $20,000.00 one instead. I realize it was sentimental to them. By the way in the Windsor, VT pictures… I would get the peoples asses off of it. For 30k I would not want someone sitting on my memorial.

    As far as the JROTC thing went Mr. Hartland, maybe just maybe, some sort of veterans leadership role needs to be present more in that school board. Sounds like the Legion needs to get someone elected to the board. How is that for a project? Sounds like you need to get rid of some idiots in that arena. Good Legion Project.

    I really do invite you to read though on the other Veterans Administration issues on this site. That is one of the main things the AL was founded for. The protection of brother Veterans over 195,000 Homeless Veterans Currently. This issue has been ignored, and there are Homeless WWII veterans through Iraqi Freedom Veterans as of today. That is my Agenda.

  10. 10 Lori
    November 23, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    WOW…seems someone has hit a nerve!! While I agree that a “community dinner” isn’t a bad thing what I find so totally disgusting is that there is NO mention of how they went in to the community and SEARCHED for the homeless veterans that would have LOVED to have had a dinner, ANY dinner. Or hey, here is a novel idea…what about those veterans that are near poverty?? Or the ones that are living in a nursing home with no visitors. I bet they would love the opportunity to get out for a while and be honored by a group of people who are supposed to honor them!! What I find totally disgusting is that you have a group of bleeding hearts who want to say how damn sweet it is that they are feeding the masses when NO mention is given that they are reaching a target audience, the audience that they SHOULD be reaching out to…THE VETERANS! I’m sure, if asked, the local churches would have gladly stepped up and served and provided the food. The AL’s responsibility is to the VETERANS! And while they want to argue that there isn’t a large veteran population there is no mention that they reached out to other communities to find them. It is mentioned that the local newspaper covered a fire instead??? Give me a freaking break! That is called passing the buck and if you folks in podunk VT can’t figure out how to get around the local newspaper then you have bigger problems than can be addressed here. The whole point of this post, and correct me if I am wrong W, is that the AL’s MAIN MISSION IS THE VETERAN and NOT THE LOCAL COMMUNITY! It is clear that there is an education process that should be done and I swear…you would think that the AL would be the ones doing it, NOT promoting the lack of understanding. Someone was sitting on the memorial?????? Oh…don’t get me started on that one…just let it serve as an example as to WHY they have NO CLUE…

    {stepping down from the soap box now}

    Well they did say the shut ins at the assisted facility and the poor got the leftovers… I thought they could have brought them to the dinner myself since it was a community dinner.


  11. 11 Lori
    November 23, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    They certainly could have brought them to the dinner but the local community needs to step up and assist the non-veterans. The AL needs to address the needs of the VETERAN and rather than play up to some local politician (who should be leading the way in helping the nonveterans) who doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to the REAL mission of the AL, he merely uses this as his place to promote how damn wonderful he is while refusing to answer the question about what he actually does to help the homeless veteran and for that matter, rather than send hate emails to you, I WANT the AL to address the homeless veteran issue as well. What have YOU done for the homeless veteran Windsor Unit #25?? Better yet…what are you DOING, on a daily basis, to help the homeless veteran?? Anyone can give a hand out once or twice a year but what everyone seems to be forgetting is that this is a 24/7 problem. Get off your asses and do something about it. Get these men and women and children of some off the damn streets rather than sit in your heated house and tell everyone how wonderful you are because you took dinner to the shut-ins. By the way…did you bother to stay while they ate and give them some company?? Or did you just drop it off and walk out the door, your job completed, while they sat alone and ate???

  12. November 23, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Lori, thank you so much. I’ve been watching these posts and wonding how to join in again. What I’ve seen is that there are a few very very isolated posts and auxillaries that are doing something for the homeless veterans and I’ve seen that the national offices have significant programs on paper that appear to be designed to get funding and press.

    Wanderingvet has shown us that the goodwill and programs and hype that the national offices put in their literature does not seem to filter down to the local posts.

    He has actually been tossed out of more than one and the police called for simply asking a question at a post which raised the suspicion that he was one of the homeless and therefore useless to that post. He has had to sleep on the ball diamond or in the bushes outside of posts he could not get into, and there seems to be a derelection of duty among the local posts when it comes to patriotism for their most needy veterans.

    There seems to be a lot of post activity on how to get grant money for support of yearly stand downs (who knows who is accounting for how it is actually used) and some press when activities involving veterans is “sponsored” by various posts, but a closer check seems to show that sponsorship is pretty much in name only as the name lends credability but not much money.

    If these posts are truly doing their patriotic duty as well as living up to their charter, there would be no homeless heroes out there.

    Wanderingvet served our country well and now he has to live on a hillside and will likely be arrested if he shows his face in a nearby town where the post employees are guarding their tatoo parlor and hanging onto their money.

    Thank you again, Lori, for speaking out.


  13. 13 Lori
    November 24, 2007 at 4:16 pm


    I’m so glad you see my point. I think it is a shame that the National level has a difficult time “policing” the lower level posts. Yes, they are supposed to reach out to the communities they reside in, yes they are supposed to promote their mission but you don’t allow a local politician or politicians to play marionette with your principles. They can’t figure out why they are losing members and can’t get new people signed up and that is something that is happening across the board but I can tell you this, if they would examine their own practices and procedures and examine themselves and what their real mission is, they would see why they aren’t attracting the younger crowds. They don’t relate to the younger guys and gals and therefore don’t make the changes that need to be made to bring them in. This isn’t my granddaddy’s war. Times have changed and the younger group has changed. They respect them and they honor them but they have no idea how to relate to them. Whose fault is that?? No one really but when the organization I volunteer for is asked to send younger volunteers so that they can relate better to the young soldiers, that is a sad day. The AL and the VFW and the DAV are NOT doing what needs to be done and reaching across the chasm of age difference to bring their younger brothers and sisters in arms into the volunteer groups. That is a sad thing indeed. Because now…things like this “free dinner” start to happen and they become just like any other group out there and not the one that honors the veterans and their plight like they are supposed too. That is where my anger is…that is where it begins. The slow painful fall from grace for an organization that has done some awesome work in years prior. It is preventable and it can change if only they would not settle for mediocrity. Maybe then they can climb back up the ladder of respect and retain some of the glory they had in years prior. Maybe then they will realize that just because you don’t have a roof over your head or a soft pillow to lay your head that a veteran is a veteran no matter where his domicile is. Why is it that a select few can see this while the rest sit on their laurels and pretend there is no problem???

  14. 14 Hartlandhills
    November 24, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    Since you don’ t seem to get The big picture, below are the preamble/mission of the American Legion Family. The AL is about supporting Veterans, COMMUNITY, and Patriotism. You pick one community event and ramble and rant about how the Legion is not doing their duty, but they are. The other activities in Windsor, just did not make this blog or the one you got the information off from. The Windsor AL always puts on a nice veterans dinner, and support many initiatives brough forth by their membership. It was the veterans that wanted and initiated the memorial creation, but it was young Mr. Hanecak who helped make it happen by knowing who and where to contact for fundraising and key support. Their little Memorial did notcost $30,000 but over $200,000 between the granite stones, bronze statue, lighting, etc. and it really is a magnificent testimony to those that served from Windsor. Because the Legion supports its community, the community in turn support the Legion. The Windsor effort has sparked memorial efforts in Weathersfield, Woodstock and nearby Charlestown, NH as they want to properly honor their veterans as well. All these places have lost their memorials decades ago and did not bother to even try to replace them until they saw what Windsor could do. Windsor is as poor of a town as you can get, but they worked tirelessly to honor and remember their veterans. That says a lot about a legion post whose average age is probably in the mid 70’s. As for sitting on the memorial, it is not so simple. The little brick wall in front of the memorial is not part of the memorial. Keeping people off from a place they have always sat does not seem to be working. There is an iron fence behind the statue to keep bikes, kids, and skateboards off from the statue. As for Post #25, Of course , not all the activities of any AL are military oriented, nor should they be. If they were the legion would have footed the whole bill for the memorial. The AL is a Veterans Community Service Organization, not just a Veteran’s organization. It is so much more to be part of the AL and help build a sense of community. That is why I believe Rudy came to the Legion’s defense, they have helped establish a sense of community in him, and he came to the aid of his community organization.

    As for the homeless Veterans, I thank you for bringing the problem to the forefront, but in Vermont they are not very numerous, and homelessness in general is very low. Rutland and Chittenden county have a larger problem, and yes WRJ has some areas to be worked on. Our legion is supportive of the haven shelter in an effort to help. The cliche “You catch more flies with honey…” comes to mind here. Instead of rushing to judgement and attacking this valued effort by the Windsor Auxillary, why not send a letter asking Mary Hayden (the dinner organizer, you have her address,) to support a homeless veterans program? If they then refuse you may call them to the carpet for their lack of honor and duty. Like most organizations there has to be someone to push an initiative to the forefront. In the Windsor Auxillary obviously someone thought a community dinner was a good idea and the rest is history. Now someone needs to suggest to them that supporting “Soldier On” or some other homeless veterans intiative is necessary. You have the address…


    Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion
    For God and Country
    We associate ourselves together for the following purposes:

    To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the Great Wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and goodwill on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.

    The mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is:
    To support the American Legion programs for veterans, young people, and community

    To provide for today’s needs while being advocates for a brighter future

    To advance the understanding of patriotism and responsibility of citizenship

    To promote individual integrity and family values

    To ensure as volunteers, that Auxiliary members continue to be the leaders in all that is good in this nation today, tomorrow and for generations to come through serving others first and not self.

    The Auxiliary, organized in 1919 to assist The American Legion, is much more than the name implies. The organization has achieved its own unique identity while working side-by-side with the veterans who belong to The American Legion. Like the Legion, the Auxiliary’s interests have broadened to encompass the entire community.

    For God and Country

    Preamble to the S.A.L. National Constitution
    Proud possessors of a priceless heritage, we male descendants of veterans of the Great Wars, associate ourselves together as “Sons of The American Legion” for the following purposes:
    To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a true spirit of Americanism; to preserve the memories of our former members and the associations of our members and our forefathers in the Great Wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and good will on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our friendship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness; to adopt in letter and spirit all of the great principles for which The American Legion stands; and to assist in carrying on for God and Country.

    You and Rudy jumped the tracks a while back on these posts about about helping veterans. I have seen the BIG PICTURE. The Picture I am getting is that “We have always done it this way and we are not going to change”. Sometimes having the same leadership over and over again as does happen in these Legion Posts leads to the same old things happening over and over again. As you mentioned earlier there are three missions. 1.)Serving Veterans, 2.)Serving Community, And 3.)Creating Patriotic Awareness. You have described Zero of Number One to me. Plenty of Number Two, and Whined about the community patriotism to me for Number Three. Now there are Homeless Veterans besides those that live on the streets or in the woods. A Homeless Veteran is any Veteran that has to live in a hotel, on a relatives couch, with a relative for some reason including being underemployed and not being able to afford his or her own place, unemployed, disabled. Many qualify for food stamps and do not even know it. Who is your post Veterans Service Officer? Is he knowledgeable on the current problems of OIF OEF Vets? Or do you just rely on the Veterans Service Officer over in White River Junction at the VA? Do you realize that many Iraqi Freedom Vets coming back to your community are due benefits that they are not receiving? That many are on the verge of becoming homeless due to disorders from PTSD? Well a Welcome Home Dinner is not going to fix these issues. Your posts need to start becoming watchdogs and boning up on the current issues. You have not mentioned these issues one time at all. You have missions right there in the community to the returning veterans of your area. I think it is a shame though that each post is there little fiefdom at times as opposed to a network. You have stepped out to defend Windsor when they seemingly cannot for themselves and I admire that. You see the homeless veteran is often the end result of a failure somewhere in the VA system from the beginning, that leads to a life on the streets eventually. Proper assistance from organizations such as yours at the local level, and as you say community involvement is important. Alot of the posts though have become viewed as not user friendly though to the younger generations of veterans though. You have the “old guard” in place and they do not want to hear it from the younger veterans….ya know?

    What I was telling you earlier also was review the American Legions resolutions that had been added to their charter over the years, I do not need to see their oaths or pledges again as it was on the back of my membership cards too once. There is more the being a Legionaire then saying it. You have to know what is going on with veterans as well. It is more than knowing where the sign post of your town stopped at. Because you are sending veterans out of your town and they are returning. That is why the Legion is there for those leaving and returning as well and to be there for them and to provide services for their needs. And There is a lot of need since the VA is not doing anything to help. If you cannot be of assistance then what is your value? Just another Elks Lodge then, I heard they promote community and patriotism too.

    Now HartlandHills, Lets talk about that community dinner, it was advertised for the shut ins. who brought them to the dinner? The Legion? Where you there for this dinner since you seem well versed on it. What about all of these leftovers as Lori pointed out in her comment? Where they just dropped off at places to those that could not attend. Did a Legion member spend time with those that could not attend in community spirit or was it just mission accomplished dropping leftovers off?

    The Big Picture HartlandHills is that this problem that you stepped into spans through out the American Legion. It is not just Hartland and Windsor, VT. It is Detroit, MI and Cleveland, OH as well as all the other American Legions too right into the National Headquarters. I invite you to look at the American Legion Website and take a look at the convention website and see what resolutions were passed there this year and you will think, “this is all that happens there?”. The Legion is toppling and only at the post levels can it regain its former greatness. If it just becomes a social club as it is now, it fails to be anything worthy of respect or help to the new thousands of younger veterans that truly need the guidance of an older generation. The article on Windsor, VT was picked for this blog not out of malice for the Windsor, VT American Legion, but because it is typical of American Legions Nationwide. You guys are supposed to be on issues like my Story #79 on the top of the page today. Those are issues your Organization was founded to cover. Not a guy like me with a backpack that is fighting for his service connected benefits and is scraping by. There are a lot of guys like me out there that Our organizations have forgotten about after the welcome home dinners and statue meetings because other things are too hard to think about now a days like reading up on the VA etc. because it is not in our community until it gets there. Well Mr. it is there you guys have just ignored it until it leaves, then you feel better and go on just like you always have.


  15. 15 Lori
    November 25, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    I’d like to add a little more than my two cents to this debate. Let me back up a little and explain WHY this issue effects me so deeply. I am married to a wonderful veteran. He served his country proudly and came home with an illness that has been denied by our government for years. We reached out to the different VSO’s and asked for help. We received help from a local AL. A gentleman helped him fill out his paperwork and get everything in line for him to get his benefits. We are forever grateful for the assistance. We became involved with the AL and I joined the auxiliary. Everything was wonderful until we began to realize that the motto and mission you so proudly stated above wasn’t EXACTLY as you describe. You see, this AL did the same things you guys are doing and while I would NEVER criticize anyone for wanting to help those who are less fortunate, I DO criticize an organization for stepping outside the boundaries that the organization was founded on. I DO criticize people for not wanting to step forward and admit that there are MAJOR changes that need to be made in said organization so as not to alienate the very group they were founded to help. It is shameful to see the community receive the proceeds of a dinner that should be for the veterans that are less fortunate. It is unfortunate that you refuse too look outside of your cities limits to see the needs there. I work with veterans and I work with returning OIF/OEF soldiers, sailors and Marines. I’m sorry to say that all of you are failing them. You fail them because you refuse to listen to them and the changes that they see that need to be made. You fail them because you think that things can stay the same and everything will work like it always did. I have news for you…it isn’t working anymore. Some of the Guard and Reserves leave for Iraq/Afghanistan making three figure salaries and don’t make anywhere near what they made in civilian life. Their families suffer, they get behind in mortgage payements and utility bills. Some are injured while they are there and come home to uncertainty and life as they know it is no longer there. They divorce, they fight the VA for benefits, they loose their houses and their families. When they come to the AL, they get nothing but a huge run around and an application to fill out for membership. I refuse to ask for money from one of these honorable veterans. I refuse to tell them that I can’t help them because they haven’t paid their dues and that is what was asked of us. You have got to be KIDDING me!! Just like the VA is part of the bigger problem, YOU and your organization is part of the problem as well. Yes, you do awesome work, yes reaching out to the community is a wonderful thing to do, yes a memorial to honor those who came before is great but $200,000 for a memorial? Do you realize how many veterans can be helped with $200,000???? It is a joke!!! I bet if you were able to ask the folks on that memorial where they wanted that money to go, more than half of them would tell you to feed your brothers and sisters in arms. They would tell you to make sure they have a roof over their head before you spent money on it. It is a wonderful achievement to feed 200 for free. I’d be more impressed if you would provide a sleeping bag to the homeless veterans, or maybe some thermal underwear, or some wool socks or tobogans for their heads, or hey…here is an idea…some warm food to fill their bellies. But hey…I guess I don’t see the bigger picture. I guess I am so stuck in my own little world that I refuse to look outside “the box” and see that there are issues happening in towns and cities all around me and maybe, just maybe the money I spent to feed 200 people or the $200,000 for a memorial might have been better spent giving a gift that kept on giving. A sleeping bag is great all year round!

    I, like WanderingVet, do not want it to seem that YOU are at the center of our wrath. It stems from the “service” that so many have and have not received from AL posts across this country. You say the average age at the AL is 70 and I admire anyone who chooses to serve at any age. We can shout it to the rafters and back again but there has GOT to be changes. There has GOT to be. It is kind of like going to a church for the first time and sitting down in a pew and a little old lady walks up and says…You are sitting in my seat. Rather than welcome you to the church, she chooses to make you move because she has always sat there. You folks have an opportunity to reach so many veterans and make a difference in so many lives. Why not go to the surrounding communities and ask for help, helping them? If Rudy is all that wonderful with fund raising then enlist his help. It seems you have done lots for him. I am sure he wouldn’t mind. Just because there aren’t “that many homeless veterans in VT” doesn’t mean you can’t help those that are. One homeless veteran is one too many. Step up to the plate and make the changes that bring the younger vets in. It is the only way you will survive because I can tell you this from experience….they are finding other ways to help and they are creating their own groups and the VA’s are reaching out to the younger ones to communicate to the returning vets. I find it very sad that they are side stepping you in that area. Will you allow that to happen or will you do something about it?

    Touche’ Lori!

  16. November 26, 2007 at 8:06 am

    Wow this has gotten a lot of comments! I’m sorry if I came across the wrong way, wasn’t feeling quite 100%. I agree with what you say, they need to be doing more for the big picture. It is hard though, it’s very overwhelming. Many don’t know where to start, and where to go from here. They’ve always had dinners, and people show up to social events. So, I believe, that’s why those continue to happen. I attended a welcome home event for OIF/OEF veterans, and I think I really saw only 10 or 15 there, and I know there are more out there. The problem is, that there are a bunch of people who don’t want to help themselves, and a TON of others who don’t know where to look for help. Yes, we need to figure out how to help these people, but even with all the advertising the VA did for our welcome home event, it really didn’t have that big of a turnout. I do think that when people are trying to help, and someone disagrees with what they do, of course they are going to get defensive, human nature. I think we all need to find a way to work together. There are so many of us, all across the nation, we should be able to make a dent somewhere.

  17. November 26, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    What’s wrong with being 70? 8>) That’s my age and the age of most of my friends, some much older. A dozen or more of our very best and reliable Habitat workders are that age.

    It an’t over til its over.

    So get the lead out AL, DAV and the others. If you are offended by Wanderingvets reminder and outrage, then you should settle down and decide to do something constructive. All this bluster does not in any way make the AL look better. Excuses, excuses, no action.

    Many of your members are Vietnam Vets and nationwide, they are dying at the rate of 1000 a day. A good active set of programs to honor and help your younger vets, a program to help your needy vets, a program to help your homeless vets, a program to help your elderly vets, one that is actively worked at the *local* level will go a long way at recruiting younger membership because they will see that you are doing things that are right and good for them. Otherwise you will just lose your posts one by one as membership dies off.

    We don’t require membership at our church or require clients for Habitat to be Christians in order for us to help. A veteran’s membership in the AL should not be required if he is needy, disabled, homeless or otherwise unable to pay.

    If you do it as a mission, not as a recruitment tool, you will get better press and eventually new members will come as the public sees that as the right thing to do. If you do it as a recruitment tool and require membership to be helped, then you are not going to help all that are needy. Quit turning away the homeless vets that show up at your door.

    Get off your duffs and get out of the trenches. Charge!


  18. 18 Lori
    November 27, 2007 at 12:07 am

    This chica didn’t slam 70, Oldtimer. (somehow that sounds like an oxymoron!) 🙂 I respect and adore my elders…LOL 🙂

  19. November 27, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    I knew that you didn’t slam 70, but the good people defending the AL keep bringing it up as if people over 70 were over the hill, some kind of excuse for inaction. Why else would they even mention that?

    My comment was directed to them. Thanks for saying that you adore us older folks anyway.


  20. December 21, 2007 at 4:19 am

    The VSOs are failing the veterans of OIF/OEF because they are not actively reaching out to recruit them. Perhaps the older veterans do look upon “these kids” as nearly contemptibly as the World War II veterans looked and still look upon the Vietnam Veterans. These “kids” are no dummies. They know where they’re not welcome.

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