Department of Minnesota looking at dues increase

By Tim Engstrom

Finance Committee recommends $3

ST. CLOUD — The Department of Minnesota Finance Committee recommended a state-level dues increase at its meeting Sept. 19 at Elk River Post 112.

Carl Moon of Zimmerman Post 560 gave a report on the Finance Committee’s meeting at the Department of Minnesota Executive Committee meeting Oct. 26 the day before the Fall Conference in St. Cloud.

Moon filled in for the committee chairman, who was unable to attend. Moon was the chairman the prior year.

Mugshot for Carl Moon
Carl Moon

He said the committee recommends a dues increase of $3 for the Department of Minnesota beginning in the 2025 year. National American Legion HQ is raising its share of dues by $5.

“We had a budget our commander said he wanted to balance. That made it a little difficult because we were over budget by about $175,000,” Moon said.

The increase in national-level dues was approved at the 104th National Convention in Charlotte. Any state-level dues increase would need to be approved at a department convention. The 105th Department Convention is July 11-13 in Willmar.

The Finance Committee voted in favor of a one-time withdrawal from the department stocks account of $160,000, and anything unused at the end of the fiscal year will be put back in. In the meantime, it will be in a money market account drawing 5 percent interest.

It still left a shortfall of $4,850.

Moon noted 64 percent of the department budget is paid by dues. At the National HQ, dues cover about 44 percent.

“The elephant in the room is membership,” he said. “We talk membership every year, and it doesn’t go anywhere. So you need to get out to your post, to your districts and talk membership and encourage them to get more members. With everything going on right now in the Middle East, I think we can rally around the flag and patriotism.”

Moon said the stocks account as of Sept. 30 had $928,940, with a projected income of $21,793. The fixed account, with the extra $160,000 in it, was at $2,054,088, with a projected gain of $67,686.



Moon is the president of the Legionville Board of Directors and offered a report on the camp.

It had 213 campers all summer long and can accommodate as much as 144 every week, he said. That and a decrease in donations left the camp $33,706 over budget.

He said 6th District Commander Anthony Koop and 3rd District Commander Rod Reifstick have Legionville as their projects, which should help with fundraising.

Legion members applaud young female for joining military and joining the Legion.
Legionnaires applaud after Department Honorary Junior Auxiliary President Taylor McElroy dons a Legion cap. She is a high school senior who attended Army boot camp over the summer.

The camp is known for its crossing-guard safety program, but it also offers bus safety, water safety, CPR and other forms of safety. He said the camp is considering gun safety, not in the sense of shooting guns but what to do if a child encounters a gun.

“We want to stress to schools even if you do not have a crossing program to the school, how many kids ride school buses. That’s going to be the key,” he said. “A lot of schools come to our camp manager, Adam Felton, and say we didn’t know we can get sponsorship from a Legion post.”

He said he wants to begin having fire departments teach fire safety, like stop, drop and roll. He called on others to inform posts and schools statewide.

The board voted to offer six weeks of camp in 2024 instead of seven. Registration begins in February.

The next Board of Directors meeting is March 22 at Legionville. There will be discussion on revised Constitution and By-Laws.



The Minnesota American Legion Foundation, annually, shares the revenue from its investments with several programs under its charge.

Foundation Director Lloyd Ricker said the foundation’s board had $62,000 to donate to the following accounts:

• $1,000 to Minnesota American Legion Baseball.

• $1,000 to the Fund for Hospitalized Veterans.

Membership Director Pam Krill chuckles during the Department of Minnesota Executive Committee. Everyone seemed happy to see each other again.

• $200 to the John Zgoda Memorial Deer Hunt.

• $1,000 to the BSA Scholarship Fund.

• $1,000 to Minnesota Fastpitch Softball.

• $750 to ROTC Scholarship Fund.

• $1,500 to the Nurses Scholarships.

• $800 to Oratorical Contest Scholarships.

• $1,000 to Memorial Scholarships.

• $1,000 to Boy Scout Council Assistance.

• $6,000 to Minnesota Veterans Assistance Fund.

• $3,000 to Rehab Veterans Outdoors Fund.

• $500 to Junior Shooting Sports.

As of Sept. 30, the foundation’s net worth is $1,926,283. Of that, $256,211 is in cash and $1,680,052 is in investments.

The foundation, Ricker said, is putting $5,000 in each of two new veterans homes, in Bemidji and Montevideo, as well as $5,000 for the new state cemetery in Redwood Falls.

Department Service Officer Ray Kane spoke on the Minnesota Veterans Assistance Fund, which is designated as Fund 85.

“We are working on different programs to make sure that we use Fund 85 effectively and it’s our last resort,” he said.

James A. LaCoursiere Jr. of Connecticut, leading candidate for 2024-25 national commander, spoke at the conference.

He noted multiple cases in the past quarter where he and the assistant department service officer, Janet Lorenzo, directed veterans to MACV to solve their housing issues. They also guided them to the state for use of the State Soldier’s Assistance Program grants. They helped veterans receive assistance from their county veterans service officers or Beyond the Yellow Ribbon or food shelves.

Kane told the story of rescuing a veteran from Scandia from his housing problem with temporary assistance from the Veterans Campground at Big Marine Lake. He said Lorenzo got him into temporary housing for 30 days.

He thanked posts for providing money, noting Hastings Post 47 donates $1,000 a month.

Kane and Lorenzo encourage veterans seeking help to go through a website called Unite US at He said the site tracks how often the person seeking help comes back for additional needs from other nonprofits, and he said the veterans the assistance fund helps are returning for help more than two or three as less often than ones being helped by most other organizations.

“That’s a reduction because we work with them to make sure they don’t have to come back to us, making sure that their needs are met 100 percent before they walk out that door,” he said.



The Legislative Committee put together its 2024 Legislative Priorities this fall. The DEC approved the priorities at the Oct. 26 meeting. Readers can find them in this issue, and they can find them in the “Legislative” tab of the department website,


Charter turn-ins

Adjutant Mike Maxa reported four posts have completed the paperwork for turning in their charters. They are Minneapolis Courthouse Post 310, Minneapolis Joe Smith Post 468, Minneapolis Bearcat Post 504 and Minneapolis Patrick M. Novak Post 5222.


Police officers

Department Judge Advocate Greg Colby brought up a case where a meth user shot four or five deputies who were serving a warrant. Fortunately, no deputies died.

He said he is a retired criminal defender who usually helped clients win cases against police officers.

“This is about criminal justice. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that we have got to stand up and say cops are not targets of opportunity,” Colby said. “We need good police officers, and the vast majority of them are.”