Commander: Let’s get many of you to Fall Conference

By Paul Hassing

Hello, American Legion Family.

Is it me or do the summer months seem to fly by faster than the winter months? It seems like yesterday that it was time to turn in an article.

Paul Hassing mugshot
Paul Hassing

Speaking of articles, I want to thank Tim Engstrom for the great work that he does for the whole American Legion Family — not only on the Legionnaire publication, but all the work he does. I don’t think our family really knows the extent of the work the department staff do to make things run smoothly. Mike Maxa, Jennifer Kelley, Misty Padilla, Rachael Hill and Tim Engstrom do so much more than most of us realize.

It has been another very busy month. I haven’t had very much time on the motorcycle, or on the golf course, this summer, but it has been worth it. Getting around to the different events and seeing the hard work of our Legion Family volunteers is truly amazing.

I know I say that a lot, but it is true. We have a great family, and we need to spread that word more.

If every veteran and family member in Minnesota knew how great we are, and the programs we have, they would be knocking on our doors, and our phones would be blowing up with veterans wanting to join our family. We all just need to go against most of our natures and start bragging about the great things we do for our fellow veterans, their families and our communities.

The 104th American Legion National Convention was held in Charlotte this year. It started off a little shaky with some of our flights being delayed up to six hours. It turned out to be a great convention, though, and I even learned some things.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Some of us went on a ghost tour of Charlotte. We didn’t see any ghosts, but there was an Elvis sighting. (If you haven’t heard, ask someone who went to the States Dinner). If everything falls into place, he might show up in Minnesota.

I had the honor of being elected vice chairman for the Commanders’ Task Force (CTF) this year. The CTF is made up of the commanders of eight congressionally chartered veteran organizations in Minnesota. (There used to be nine, but the Vietnam Veterans of America shuttered its department level a couple of years ago.)

We had a great summit at Camp Ripley that brought in some great presenters who taught me a lot of things about our benefits in Minnesota, some of the legislative actions that we are looking at, and what we can do moving forward. We have a lot of work to do, but I know we can get it done.

It looks like its going to be another busy month ahead, and we are capping it off with our annual Fall Conference in St. Cloud.

This conference is about learning. I would like to see as many of you there as possible. It is a great opportunity to learn some things and get to know other Legionnaires from around the state. This conference is open to all Legionnaires. You do not need to be a delegate, or elected official, or chief cook and bottle washer to attend.

Do not let anyone tell you that only certain people can go. Some people like to gain knowledge and hold on to it. If we are to grow, we need to spread the knowledge we have. If you would like to attend, and are not sure what you need to do, please contact your district leadership for the details or find them in the pages of this issue of The Minnesota Legionnaire.

The details also are found at If you need help, give me a call at 612-598-0419.

In closing, I would like to ask all of you to be kind to each other. We are all working very hard. Sometimes people do things differently than you, it doesn’t mean you have to be mean about it.

We can get a lot more done by communicating effectively and having a little empathy. If you have a better way of doing something, speak up. Let someone know. Everyone is trying their best.

If you can help, help. Otherwise please don’t cut them down behind their back. That’s not fair and it doesn’t help anyone. It only makes good people stay home. We are too great of an organization, and we have a lot of things to get done on the road ahead. Thank you and hope to see you all soon.

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