By: Jay Bowen, Department Sr. Vice Commander, As published in the November 2015 issue of the Internet Observer
You’ve probably heard the old adage, “Time and tide wait for no man.” By the time you see this article we will have passed the 55% milestone for Membership and will be approaching the 65% Veterans Day mark. As of this writing, nine of our 14 Districts exceeded the 55%, and three of them have crossed over the 65% November membership goal. Thanks to all who have worked hard to get us to this point, but we cannot slow down. As the saying indicates, we can’t stop the clock and the dates are catching up to us.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve had the privilege to visit several Districts and attend their Fall Conference, with others coming soon. At each of those, I have stressed the importance of getting the membership in and hitting 100% by the end of the calendar year. For most Posts, this should not be very difficult. We live in a Veteran-rich State. They are our neighbors, work-mates, friends, and people we encounter on a daily basis. When was the last time you asked them if they were a Veteran, and if they were a member of The American Legion? Tell them why you joined and still belong. Some will tell you they just don’t have time to belong to another organization. Your response to that should/could be something like, “It doesn’t matter so much if you don’t have time to be active, we still need your membership to strengthen our voice to Congress and protect Veterans rights.”
As you know, many of our elected officials care first about getting re-elected. After that, it’s whoever squeaks the loudest (another old saying about the wheel). Right now, The American Legion is the squeakiest wheel when it comes to ensuring the rights for which we all served are not taken away or diluted. If our numbers fall, so does our voice. We have all worked too hard to let that happen.
Let’s all commit to continuing the great work we’ve done so far in getting the membership in ahead of the deadlines. Post Adjutants should pull the record of those members who typically wait until the New Year to renew and make a concentrated effort to get them renewed before 1 January. We can be at or above 100%, we’ve done it before.
Remember, there’s a possible monetary reward for the recruiters and new members we add this membership year. We will have four chances at $500, with the first drawing on Veterans Day. See the Flyers that have been distributed for details. There is actually a fifth way to earn your share of $500. When you are recruiting that new member, sign up his/her female family member to the Auxiliary. They are also offering a chance to split $500 in June next year for the new senior Auxiliary member and the recruiter, even if the recruiter is a Legionnaire.
Thanks again for keeping The American Legion the largest and greatest Veterans Service Organization in the country!