August 2020 Post Talk

Post Talk
NORTH BRANCH POST # 85
By Glenn Pierce, Adjutant

  • Membership Meeting August 11th 7 PM
  • SAL Meeting August 18th 6 PM

Orv Otterness, Post Service Officer - Meetings with the County Veterans Service Officer have resumed at the North Branch Legion Hall the third Tuesdays of the month at 9 a.m. Those meetings are always worth your time. When you attend be sure to wear your mask and keep a distance of six feet between attendees. If you have a family member with you no need to worry about distance between the two of you! Mark the visits on your calendar.

Michelle Still, Auxiliary President - Your membership dues support many programs sponsored by the American Legion Family. Two of the programs your dues support help our members. They are the American Legion Family Hospital Association and the Auxiliary Emergency Fund. These programs provide temporary emergency assistance. Grants from the Hospital Association can assist legion and auxiliary members with hospital bills and the Emergency Fund assists auxiliary members with disaster relief. You will soon receive your membership renewal notice. Please take a moment and return your dues right away. Go to the website ALAForVeterans.org for great information regarding other benefits and discounts available to you as a member.

In the community, our Relay for Life Team virtually raised over $1350 for the American Cancer Society! Thank you team!

Thursday night Bingo has returned and so have concessions. Thank you Bobbie Elmstrand for faithfully handling our concessions every week.

2020 North Branch American Legion Riders - The NBALR had its Christmas In July motorcycle ride Saturday July 18th. It was a hot one, and the ride was 120 miles long, but it accomplished the needed funding for our Christmas party for local families of deployed soldiers. We had riders from the St. Paul, Arcade-Phalen, Forest Lake and Roseville Legions along with local patriots, all-in-all there were 40 motorcycles involved in this run. This years military family Christmas party will be great because of these truly generous bikers. The participants in this year’s C I J motorcycle ride enjoyed the comradery after the long lockdown.

American Legion testifies before House Committee on Veterans' Affairs

American Legion Deputy Director of Health Policy Katie Purswell testified July 23 before the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs on several pieces of legislation impacting veterans.

In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission of The American Legion has never been more clear, Purswell said during her testimony. She highlighted a few ways Legionnaires have supported their community members and veterans since the pandemic started, such as by collecting and delivering food, hygiene and cleaning supplies; hosting blood drives; and making face masks.

"Our national commander’s call for 'Buddy Checks' have increased by our members to ensure we are meeting the needs of our veterans. We have held financial workshops, resume writing seminars, virtual career fairs, town hall and networking meet-ups," she added.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced in April that they were seeing dramatic increases in telemental health care use during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"Legislation like H.R. 3228 (the VA Mission Telehealth Clarification Act) will afford veterans the ability to see a health care provider more quickly through telehealth by allowing veterans to be seen by a larger portion of VA," Purswell said.

In addition to the health crisis caused by COVID-19, the pandemic has also put many veterans in precarious financial situations due to unemployment or reduced income. The American Legion believes H.R.7111, the Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 2020, will help bring down the unemployment rate of veterans who have lost jobs and critical income due to COVID-19.

"The current unemployment rate for veterans has more than doubled in the last year," Purswell said. "With nearly 17,000 service members leaving active duty service every month, these numbers will not fall any time soon. If done correctly, the Economic Recovery Act will help veterans, young and old, transition into new jobs."

Members of the National Guard have been greatly impacted by COVID-19, as they have been constantly mobilized and demobilized to support first responders during the crisis.

"At one point in June, nearly one quarter of our entire National Guard, 120,000 soldiers, were mobilized in our communities," Purswell stated. "These service members deserve to return to the lives they were living without fear of being jobless." The USERRA Protections for State Active Duty will allow these service members to fall under the current USERRA guidelines.

"The American Legion will continue to serve our veteran population and others because that is who we are and what we do. But we need Congress to meet us halfway by providing sound legislation that supports our veterans."