Commander: Deep down we all want the same thing

By Paul Hassing

Season’s greetings, Minnesota American Legion Family.

I really hope everyone is getting a chance to relax a little and spend some time with family and friends. We tend to put too much pressure on ourselves during the holidays. Sometimes wanting everything to be perfect ends up making things worse. Remember to have some fun.

From the feedback we have received, Fall Conference was a big success. A lot of people worked very hard to make that happen. Thank you all for the hard work, and thanks to all that attended. I hope you learned a lot.

More importantly, I hope you took what you learned back to your districts and posts. Knowledge is only worth something if it is used and shared.

Paul Hassing mugshot
Paul Hassing

The Veterans Day programs throughout the state were amazing. I couldn’t attend all of them, but the ones I did were incredible. Thank you to all those hard-working people that put those together as well. Montgomery Elementary School kids and staff. All the players that put the state program together, and Bayport American Legion Post 491 for the fantastic dinner and great company. It really puts things in perspective as to what we are all doing this for.

I got the chance to attend a surprise birthday party for a very good friend and a great veteran Gary Oppedal. He is a Vietnam veteran who has done, and continues to do, so much for the community, veterans and the families of veterans. He doesn’t like the limelight, but he is always there when needed. He is truly a great American and a friend.

We had a great meeting with the Minnesota Commander’s Task Force. Several state senators and representatives were in attendance and showed a lot of support for what we are trying to accomplish. We are hoping to get another clean Veterans Omnibus Bill passed this year.

Our legislative priorities in Minnesota are:

• Modernize the Homestead Market Value Exclusion.

• Amend a law to help our CVSOs receive important documents.

• Waive license fees on hunting, fishing and trapping for all veterans.

• Fix a property tax oversight for Gold Star spouses.

• Eliminate vehicle registration fees for them.

• Provide property tax relief for veterans organizations.

• Allow counties to appropriate funding for Veterans day.

Other measures we favor are allocating proceeds from military and veteran license plates to the support our troops license plate fund, and approval of seven new license plates.

As I am writing this, the weather outside is not too bad. We’ve had a warm November. It’s not very often that I can ride my bike in November. December is coming up though and who knows what will happen. Please remember to reach out to those that you haven’t seen in a while. Make sure to check on those that have a harder time shoveling and getting around in winter. Please don’t wait for them to reach out. As we know, a lot of us do not like to ask for help.

Thank you to everyone in the Minnesota American Legion Family for all that you do. Things get hard sometimes, and we don’t always feel like it matters. Trust me, it does. We don’t always agree with the way things are being done, or we may get frustrated with the way things are going, but I think everything can be worked out by reaching out and talking it through.

Deep down, we all want the same thing. Making sure our veterans and their families are being taken care of properly.

We still have a long way to go on the road ahead, but so far, it’s going well. I enjoy getting to travel around the state to see just how great and unique our state is. I still say Minnesota has the best veterans in the world.

Thank you so much for the honor of being your commander, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything. My number is 612-598-0419. If I don’t answer, please leave a message and I will call you back when I can.

I’m not tech-savvy enough to take calls when I’m driving, and it can also be hard taking a call when the grandkids are climbing on me.

You are awesome.

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