Dear Friends and Comrades,
I hope you all enjoyed the holidays with your family and friends; I know I did. It was so nice to have my kids and grandchildren sharing my Christmas dinner. We had an enjoyable evening filled with the Christmas spirit.
The Christmas spirit was also alive and well at the Post home. Our legion organizations (Legionnaires, Riders, Auxiliary, and Sons) got together to host a bus load of veterans from the VA Hospital for a Christmas dinner and an afternoon of entertainment in December. We also hosted a Christmas party for the children of our members. Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance at both events. Our members helped make our Toys for Tots and Food drives a success. We contributed to the Food Banks at St Paul’s and Emmanuel churches. There were more than a dozen bicycles among the many toys donated to Toys for Tots. I am proud of the way our members have come together to help make Christmas a little nicer for everyone involved.
Now that the holidays are over, we look forward to 2011 with hopes that it will be a healthy and prosperous year for everyone. It is also time to evaluate our programs and look for ways to improve upon them for the future. We are looking for members with ideas and time to help make all of our programs a success. Whatever your talent or interest, we have a program waiting for your expertise.
First and foremost are our veteran support activities. We sponsor bingo parties at the VA Hospital, and host the VA vets at our post home for picnics and dinner parties. We visit the vets in the local nursing homes and distribute care packages from the VA every year. We decorate veteran’s graves at the local cemeteries and perform memorial services in May.
We are proud sponsors of Boy Scout Troop 433, but that isn’t enough. We are looking for ways to expand our scouting program at the post level. We have the resources here to support the scouts but need help to promote and organize the program better.
We also sponsor American Legion Baseball teams in three age groups. We have provided them with a home field for practice and games. The Crestwood high school team also plays their home games at our field. Last year we added an electronic scoreboard for the games.
There are many more programs and functions that we sponsor during the year, but too many to list here now. Watch for announcements in future columns and listings on the events calendar. If you have children in high school, make sure you also check the latest scholarships available through the American Legion. Just click on Legion Links and look for the scholarships link. Don’t forget to check out the various student programs available at the PA American Legion website.
Most of you have probably heard about the Vets to DC trip that is being organized by a Crestwood student, Jenna Neubauer. She has taken this on as a class project for her senior year. The plan is to raise enough money to send one or two busloads of vets to DC for a day to tour the war memorials. The plan is coming together quite nicely. There are cans set out at various business establishments for donations. The exact date is still to be determined, but we want to run it during the cherry blossoms in DC. We will have a signup sheet at the Post home soon. Any veteran who would like to go may sign up for the trip. There will be no cost to the veterans.
It’s important to remind everyone that all of the programs we sponsor require supporting equipment and resources. There are tractors and lawn mowers for field maintenance. We have storage buildings for the scouts and baseball teams. There is also a concession stand at the baseball field. These items require constant maintenance and manpower to operate them. The baseball field was reseeded last November so it would be ready for the 2011 season. Although most of this work is done by volunteers and members, the field maintenance was a combination of volunteers and a professional groundskeeper. We would not be able to continue with all these programs if we had to pay for everything. That is why it is necessary to continue looking for new volunteers willing to pitch in where ever their interests and talents lie. Please let us know if you would like to get involved.