President: Are you ready to dance into the hearts?

By Sharon Cross

Let’s put on our dancing shoes and dance right over to our first membership rally. Department Membership Chairman Jenny Nelson is taking us “Cruising the Sea for Memberships.”

What fun we will have dancing the samba or the mambo as we cruise from island to island. Our target has been acquired. Minnesota’s goal is 29,370 members. You do not have to wait for your dues notice to pay your dues.

Mugshot for Sharon Cross
Sharon Cross

Our first department membership rally is Sept. 9, 2024, at Legionville Camporee and every unit president and their leadership should be the first to get their dues paid to their unit membership chairman and get onboard our cruise ship!

Bring your camper or stay in the dorms. Can you imagine how great it would be if every member of our great organization brought in just one more member?! Every American Legion member, active-duty military and their families are welcome to join us at the rally. Come for a day or come for the weekend. All funds raised help support the Legionville Safety Education Center in Brainerd. The Legionville camp is unique to Minnesota and Camporee is a family event.

Save the date! Fall Conference is being planned. Thursday, Oct. 26, will have committee meetings including the Department Executive Committee, and on Friday, Oct. 27, the Fall Conference begins in earnest. Things wrap up by noon Saturday, Oct. 28.

Let’s kick off our Fall Conference with an informative gathering. How will you get there, by plane, train, automobile, motorcycle, or trike? Friday morning join us for the opening session full of information on our programs. Plan on joining us for some fun for Junior and Senior Auxiliary, Sons of The American Legion, Legionnaires and American Legion Riders on either Thursday or Friday evening. More information to follow.

Afterward, you will be tripping the light fantastic as you sachet your way home full of information to share with your unit members. Remember to bring that new member or even an old member that hasn’t attended a Fall Conference in a while.

Here’s a little peek into our travels so far. Junior Fun Weekend at Legionville was very well attended. Everyone had a lot of fun mixed with learning. They listened to each other share what they do in their meetings. How they help in their communities and what they do for the veterans. They learned about Believet and flag folding from Department Honorary Junior President Taylor McElroy. They had icebreaker time to get to know each other, an afternoon of swimming, fun meals, games, snacks and smores by the campfire.

Were you ever lucky enough to take part in escorting, setting up or just able to see the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Wall and Cost of Freedom as it travels and is displayed in Minnesota? What a humbling experience. A big thank you goes out to Legionnaire Randy Olson for being my escort on his trike as we participated in the escort for the AVTT Vietnam Wall.

Almost 70 motorcycles and trikes along with the police, fire, ambulance, a World War II Willy’s Jeep and others in cars escorted the wall from Fulda to Slayton. We participated in the set up along with the local football team and girls volleyball team that also volunteered their time to help.

Department Commander Paul Hassing and I were treated like royalty by our hosts from the 2nd District. The wall was all packed up and moved to the Eagle’s Healing Nest by Aug. 23. If my trike is up and running at that time, then I will have ridden with that escort, also.

Hassing and I were invited to participate in the Lino Lakes parade. Such a fun, well-organized community event, and again we were treated royally. What a beautiful Minnesota day for a parade.

August finished off with the National Convention in Charlotte. Minnesota did well and you will hear more on that at our Fall Conference in October. Anyone who joined the pre-convention committee meetings heard firsthand from our national officers.

Sharon Cross of Bemidji Unit 14 is the president of the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Her theme is “Be The One to Dance Into the Hearts of Veterans.”