American Legion Marks 100 Years
Local veterans are marking the 100th anniversary of the American Legion this week. For members of Brooklyn Center American Legion Post 630, it’s provided an important support mechanism.
“It’s been helpful to have this kind of a backup in my life,” said Lynell Radcliff, now the commander of Post 630. “They understand where I’m coming from. I understand where they’re coming from.”
But finding other veterans to join the Legion isn’t always easy. Members say participation often comes after veterans get obligations with family and career squared away.
“You’re not seeing the members that we did before,” said Charles Lewellyn, gambling manager at Post 630. “It’s very difficult. When they come home they got so many problems to take care of they’re not thinking about joining a club.”
A Focus on Community Outreach
Despite a recent lag in veterans becoming members, Post 630 continues to focus on community outreach efforts. For example, Post 630 raises money for local schools, the CEAP food shelf and Toys for Tots.
“Our priority is military, our schools, and things within the community,” said Lewellyn.
“I Think We Can Be Strong”
And don’t discount finding fresh young faces either. Leila Kasso is an example.
“I think it’s important for people like me to step up as far as veterans’ public officials, people of color, women,” said Kasso, a Brooklyn Center resident. “I saw the commander, Lynell, was by herself so I decided to help.
Kasso now holds a leadership position with Post 630 as first vice. She’s one reason why Radcliff is optimistic about gaining future members.
“I think we can be strong,” said Radcliff. “I think a lot of what we stand for and the things that we do for our veterans the newer the younger generations is not really aware yet. Slowly but surely we’ll get them in here and help them and they can help us and we can grow together.”