CHESTER — The Chester American Legion Post 487 will welcome the 2013 American Legion Family Caravan at 6 p.m. Jan. 10, 2013.
The caravan will include 15 to 20 Illinois American Legion and Auxiliary officers and National Vice Commander David R. Hall. The caravan travels annually to American Legion Posts to meet the members and collect membership dues. Chester is in the 25th District and Fifth Division and the Chester Post will be the first stop for the caravan in the Fifth Division. The Caravan will continue Jan. 11 to Dupo, Louisville, and Olney. American Legion Posts in the First, Second, Third and Fourth Divisions will be visited throughout January.
National Vice Commander Hall, elected during the closing session of the 94th National Convention in Indianapolis in August, will address members during the dinner meeting. Hall is a U.S. Army veteran from New Haven, West Va., who enlisted in the Army and served in the Infantry from 1968 to 1970. He joined the American Legion in 1985. He is a retired team leader for American Electric Power, where he worked for 41 years. He is a member of Smith Capehart Post 140 in New Haven and has held numerous leadership positions at the Legion’s post, state and national levels.
Hall previously served as The American Legion State Commander for West Virginia. Hall will speak on topics such as veterans’ healthcare, employment and career fairs information, operational changes and membership. With reference to the membership drive, Mr. Hall said, “Our American Legion membership is no different from the population at large; it is aging. We have seen our membership decline, and we are attracting fresh faces that keep us doing the good things we do at Legion Posts everywhere, from providing information and assistance to our nation’s heroes, to scholarships to our youth.”
During the caravan, the Legion will also gather support for its “Operation Comfort Warriors,” a program which has been created to provide “nonessentials,” items outside the typical government standard line items for recovering wounded warriors. The needs of wounded, injured, or ill service members are identified through contact with officials at military hospitals, warrior transition units and surrounding communities. Items are ordered by the Legion and delivered without red tape.
Department of Illinois Commander Wayne Wagner from Buckley and Sons of the American Legion Commander Jimmy Hunter from Tinley Park will also travel with the Caravan and will speak on the goals of the Illinois American Legion. Illinois Auxiliary Department President Patricia Sienkiewicz from Algonquin will also accompany the caravan.
All Legion Posts in the 25th District which covers the area from Prairie du Rocher to Cairo and all of Randolph County are invited to attend the dinner meeting and bring their paid membership cards.
Reservations for the dinner may be made by calling the American Legion Post 487 in Chester at 618-826-3015.
Chester Post Commander Roland Wagner urges all Legion Posts to be represented at the meeting.