Commander: Sign 1 more member before convention

By Paul Hassing

When I was in the second grade my teacher, Mrs. Herron, had the class write papers on what we wanted to be when we grew up.  I wrote mine on how I wanted to be a soldier.

Mrs. Herron told me that she was going to take that letter and put it on display in the local American Legion post. I don’t know whether she ever got it there for display, but I do remember how proud I was.

The reason I bring this up is because, at 7 years old, I knew what The American Legion was. Legion members were a big part of our community. Would most 7-year-olds today know what The American Legion is? Are we getting our message out to our communities?

Nobody in my family had served in the military, but I still knew how important The American Legion was. I knew how veterans deserved our respect. Is that still the case today?  We need to make sure our stories are still being told. We need to make sure that we are around for another 105 years.

The month of March has been a very busy month so far. I have eaten some great birthday dinners and put on a lot of miles. I can’t thank you all enough for the great hospitality you have shown me. I know it takes a lot of work from a lot of people to make it happen.

Paul Hassing mugshot
Paul Hassing

Some of us traveled to Washington, D.C., for the Washington Conference. I am so grateful to Kristy Janigo, chairwoman of the Department Legislative Committee, for setting up our office visits. We had a lot of great meetings, and I think we got our message out. It is great to see that our voice is still important. I do ask that you all look at the voting record of our legislators though. We need to make sure they are following through with the promises made to our veterans.

The month of April looks like it is going to be just as busy. We have the National Commander Daniel J. Seehafer coming to visit our great state. Please make sure to look at the schedule and get to at least one of the events.  If you’ve never heard him speak, you’re in for a treat. He does a great job of getting The American Legion message out.

Veterans Day on the Hill is Wednesday, April 17. Please attend if you are able. We need to show just how much of a force we can be. There are very important issues facing our veterans, and their families. We can’t just sit back and hope they will do the right thing.

I want to thank all the individuals and posts that have donated to my project so far. Your generosity is truly amazing. We are getting close to reaching our goal, but more importantly, we can assist more veterans that really need it. If you haven’t heard, my project this year is the Minnesota Veterans Assistance Fund. Donations can be made with gambling funds, and every bit helps.

This time of year, we tend to hit a brick wall with membership. I know we don’t like to sign someone up just to have them receive a renewal notice a few months from now. We must get away from this way of thinking.

Please don’t hold onto someone’s membership application until the next membership year. This only deprives them of the benefits of being a Legionnaire. I’m asking everyone to try and recruit one new member before Department Convention. We are so close to stopping the slide this year. Membership Director Pam Krill and the membership team are working so hard, and wouldn’t it be great to be back over the 60,000-member mark again?

It wasn’t that long ago when the Department of Minnesota was over 100,000 members. We owe it to ourselves to keep The American Legion going well into the future.

When I look at my grandchildren, I can’t help but wonder what The American Legion will look like when they become adults. Will they be able to talk about growing up with the Legion Family. Will their friends know what they are talking about, or will they have to explain what the American Legion used to be?  This is up to us.

Thank you all for your support, and I hope to see you on the road ahead.

Paul Hassing of Bloomington  Post 550 is the commander of The American Legion Department of Minnesota. His theme is “The Road Ahead.”