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Commander Pat Lawson Commander Pat Lawson

Read by TTS Voice Anna

TO: All Members
The American Legion

Commanders Corner September 2014

As we begin the ensuing year of challenges, I step back and thank IPDC Uhrig for the 2014 membership accomplishment. This now becomes our number one challenge to retain our level of Department membership. The Department ended 2014 with 6,338 members. The Department set the 2015 goal at 6632. Our recruitment goal indicates an increase of 294 as a minimum provided every one of the 6,338 members renew! We have a challenge to RETAIN and GAIN! The 2015 increase to 6,338 is the direct result of the goals set by the District Commanders in concert with their Posts and the DEC at Buffalo.

The following Posts exceeded 100% at the closing out of 2014 Rock Springs 118.85%, Green River 115.56%, Jackson 151.22%, Pinedale 108.33%, Lander 101.25%, Hulett 108.51% , Kaycee 100.00%, Chugwater 107.41%, Thermopolis 100.00%, Meeteetse 137.50%, Heart Mountain 110.00%, Cheyenne 100.34%, Laramie 106.59%, Cheyenne 100.00%, and Rawlins 140.00%. Congratulations! You have set an example for the Department for the ensuing year of 2015 and a Challenge to the entire Department.

Membership, membership, membership! Without membership the Legion does not have a reason or a way to exist. We are committed to our four Pillars. It is through the membership that we can continue supporting our four pillars and taking care of our veterans. They are the number one reason there is an American Legion, why the Legion testifies before Congress, demands resignations of those who do not take the best of care of our veterans. Once said, and I believe it “I was taught to be a Service Person, I was not taught how to be a Veteran”. That is our job, to ensure we help veterans be veterans and ensure veterans are taken care of. Thus our four pillars are as prominent today as they were in 1919, another living document within the American Legion.

The five year plan, now starting its second year is a road map to the success of membership. It is truly a living document even though it is referred to as a five year plan. Our first year was to create Brand Awareness. The question on the table is when did we stop becoming the predominate voice of the American Veteran We must lead and they will follow. We cannot lead if we do not have a voice for the veteran or a commitment to the four Pillars. Our foundation is the four pillars; membership is how we achieve those four pillars. Our membership does not require any pre existing conditions. You served; you are eligible members of the greatest Veterans Organization in the free world.

We must have activity at the Post level to retain and gain membership. We cannot ask veterans to join and the Post gives no direction. The veteran may join, but the retention, a most vital part of membership, will most likely not happen. The member wants to feel there is a need within the Post and the member wants to feel needed! Mentor new members, do not just have them sign up for membership and then let the new member be on his own. The member must have a mentor, must feel needed, they want to be kept busy and above all communicate, communicate, communicate. Be visible in your community, put that Cover on and let it be known that you are a Legionnaire. You, as an individual are the best recruiting tool for the American Legion.

Post Achievements are to be recognized. Nothing is more rewarding than recognition! Ask yourself, “Why do I do, what I do, for the Legion” You will get some interesting answers!

The Leading Candidate for National Commander Mike Helm noted at the August Membership in Indy, that his main focus this coming year will be RETENTION. Along the lines of the Membership workshop, each Department is scheduled to meet with the Leading National Candidate and staff to negotiate the National goals for their Department. I along with VC Tom Dean met with the Leading Candidate Mike Helm and his staff. We had a very short meeting. We were commended for our readiness and prepared material (thanks to IPDC Doug UhrigPDC Keith Davidson and Jake Jacobs). After a short narrative, I asked for a goal of 6,832 (6,632 as provided by DEC input and 300 to hopefully transfer out of Post 17and or total recruitment).

Our goal set by National is 6,800 with an increase of market penetration to 89.0% from the 86.93%. Our renewal and retention rate exceeds the norm and National was pleased.

On another subject Dale Barnett the incoming Leading candidate from Georgia has asked to visit Wyoming during 14-16 November. Adjutant Doug Hensala will be helping to coordinate this visit along with VC Tom Dean and IPDC Doug Uhrig.

Our Christmas in July was a great success and the Finance Meeting and DEC had a full agenda and a great deal of interaction. For those who made the trip and helped the SAL in Buffalo, along with the meetings, definitely had a rewarding and exhausting weekend. Well worth every minute of it. Thank you all.

The Department is looking forward to the Fall Workshop back in Buffalo the 12th-13th of September. The agenda will be three breakout sessions, coordinated by our own for Membership and Adjutant, plus a digital presentation and breakout by our IT, having to do with all digital access available.

Rawlins, Post 122 graciously stepped up to host the mid-winter again this year! Thank you! I know the level of work that goes into any post hosting any of these events. It is a lot of work and definitely appreciated!

One more note before I sign off. Please take the time to WELCOME to our Legion family, the new Department Adjutant, Doug Hensala. Doug is a retired Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Wyoming Air National Guard, retiring with 37 years of professional military experience. He brings a host of noted qualifications to the Legion. A few worth noting are his ability to be a self-starter, attention to details, leadership ability, exceptional communication skills and ability to interact with people, sensing his audience on a continuing basis. He is committed to professional integrity, to the veteran and the four pillars of the American Legion. Doug can be reached in the Department Office at 307-634-3035.

For God and Country
Patty Lawson
American Legion
Department of Wyoming