New Indiana American Legion Leader Turns Recruiter
August 26, 2013 — Indiana’s new American Legion state commander says he’s focused on boosting recruitment in the veterans’ organization…with an emphasis on younger veterans. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports:
More than ten percent of the 89 thousand veterans who make up the American Legion in Indiana are still World War II veterans. And new state commander Ed Trice says most of the remaining men and women are veterans of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. State commanders only serve one year in the top post – and Trice says he’s using that year to recruit young veterans in a variety of ways, including a dramatically increased presence on social media:
“We offer over 33 different programs in the American Legion and people are just not aware of what we do. We have five service officers who are on board full time to help veterans with their claims for disabilities.”
Trice says helping with veterans’ disability claims is a service the Legion offers to all vets – not just Legion members. And he says at a time when veteran unemployment is more than double the state average, the Legion provides help to veterans and their families who are struggling financially through Temporary Financial Assistance grants:
“If people are about to lose their house or they’re short a mortgage payment or if they’re behind on a light bill or a heat bill, in three to five days we can have them a check and have that taken care of.”
The Indiana American Legion has awarded more than 135 thousand grants in the last year, leading the nation. For Indiana Public Broadcasting, I’m Brandon Smith.