NECman: Department Convention might be a day shorter for some

By Bill Barbknecht

A big thank-you and shout-out to all the posts that hosted National Commander Dan Seehafer during his tour of Minnesota. There were very good crowds on each visit.

Also, a huge thank-you to all the posts that donated to his project, the American Legion Veterans & Children Foundation.

Spring meetings were held May 5-9 in Indianapolis. Minnesota is very lucky to have an outstanding Alternate NECman in Peggy Moon. She took my place. I was not up to a trip like that. Getting better each week following my heart surgery.

The warm weather and sunshine are helping immensely.  Another upcoming event is the National Oratorical Contest May 17-19. That is being held at Hillsdale College in Michigan.

Minnesota is once again leading the nation by having nearly 400 American Legion Baseball teams and many more Legion Girls’ Fastpitch Softball teams. Thanks to all the hard work and time put in by the baseball and softball committees.

Be The One.

Are you out visiting and knocking on the doors of members you have not seen for a long time?  Or those who have not renewed their memberships?  They would love to know that they are missed.

A face-to-face meeting means so much.  No text, or email, a simple visit lets them know you are concerned about them. As I am sure you want them to be a member of your post.

Bill Barbknecht mugshot
Bill Barbknecht

I hope you are making plans for a memorial program in your community.  Have a program with your school and teach those children the meaning of Memorial Day, not just a barbecue and picnic.  A great time to possibly see those members that need to renew their memberships.

District conventions will be starting soon, and all 10 districts will have a convention. Please step up and take a chairmanship or even offer to be a officer. I cannot stress enough the sense of accomplishment for a wonderful organization and the many friends you will make through our American Legion Family.

National Law Enforcement week is May 12-18. Take time to honor your police officers, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers. They put their lives on the line each day as we did, when we all served, too. They are closer to home but still a very dangerous occupation currently.

Armed Forces Day is May 18. There were three district conventions that day. Have you taken a good look at your building, inside and out? Now is the time for a big cleanup. Appearance on the outside is as important as appearance on the inside. No one wants to visit a dump.

Donna and I were able to attend Seehafer’s visit to Fergus Falls Post 30 and Willmar Post 167. I am a now a member at Post 30, and Donna is from Willmar. Her 90-year-old mother was very impressed with the commander’s speech. He is a powerful speaker.

Those of you who did not attend do not know what you missed.

A big thank-you to Commander Paul Hassing, Membership Director Pam Krill, Communications Director Tim Engstrom and Adjutant Mike Maxa — an outstanding crew — for all their time and effort to make the national commander feel right at home.

Please consider this thought on the dues increase. It is not the price you pay to belong to this great organization; it is the price you paid so you are eligible to belong.

Donna and I hope to see you at a district convention if God is willing. But definitely at the Department Convention in Willmar July 11-13. The Department Executive Committee meets on Thursday morning this year, so it might shorten the convention by one day for some.

For others, they still might have committee meetings on Wednesday afternoon.

The plus side is Wednesday evening will be open for dining and camaraderie.

I cannot express enough my gratitude for all the cards, texts, emails, phone calls and physical visits at our ranch from all of you.  It meant a lot to be part of the American Legion Family.

As always, Donna and I look forward to seeing you all.

Bill Barbknecht of Underwood Post 489 is the Department of Minnesota’s National Executive Committeeman.