20190402_valero-texas-open_9986My fellow Legionnaires of Post 309.

I hope you are all well and in good spirits. What a 2019/2020 legion year this has been! It is hard to describe the feeling we all must be felling, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, during the last three months of the year.  We left the previous legion year with high hopes for the Post. We made our goals for the year, we had retained 90% of your members, met and exceeded our recruitment goals and had a positive bank account at years end. We were looking for to doing more for our veterans and community. We were looking forward to fundraising and the Helotes Cornyval Parade.

                We find ourselves wondering what the rest of 2020 has in store for us, what will happen to our economy? Will we still have a job? Will the schools open? What is next for us?

                As the Commander I wonder these things as well and I wonder if the Post will stand strong? I fear that because we cannot meet anywhere, we will lose members! I fear that as membership renewals are due, I fear many will not renew! I fear the momentum we had will come to a crawl or even stop.

                Now is not the time to stop doing what we should do as Legion Members. Our annual membership fees are used to help those who come across adversity. Although the Post my not have the means to fund a request. A part of our membership goes to the Department Legionnaire Emergency Fund. We need to make sure there are plenty of funds for the future by renewing our memberships.  Please renew.

If you help someone in need let a Post Officer know. We need this information to add to our Consolidation Post Report. This information will be used to advise Congress and The Senate of what The American Legion members do to help our fellow veterans and our communities.

                During the last few months, we have helped our community and veterans. Jamie Caratini has delivered food to a family in need. Alesa Arnett has been helping veterans with claims. Mark Ochoa Jr. continues to volunteer at the South Texas Fisher House and in addition we talked with a veteran on a street corner. He got Alesa involved, she was able to find his claim was submitted and will watch to make sure it will be completed.     So, you see now is not the time to setback and watch. It is the time to stay active, stay onboard and help us help others.

                Robert F McDermott Post 309 is still alive! We have a positive bank account; the Executive Committee still meets via digital devices on Virtual Meeting Platforms. We discuss issues such as making an amendment to our By Laws to allow Virtual Voting for situations as we have today. We discuss ways to provide virtual meetings with those who are bed redden, out of town or on deployment. We are discussing ways that we can possibly hold meetings that meet the needs of our members and the guidance of the county.

                Things I feel we need to conquer this next year. I think that one of our issues that faces us is the lack of a Post Home. It would be possible to have meetings in our Post. We would not have to rely on others to use their building. I am going to work harder this year to plan towards setting the goal of our own Post Home. I will need some people to help me. I want to have a Building Committee to set goals an achieve them. I want to have a Fundraising Committee to organize fundraisers and Post parties to ensure that we raise the monies to fund the Post’s projects and Post celebrations for our efforts in these endeavors. I would like to see a Training Committee. I would like to see each committee member take the Basis Training course at The American Legion Extension Institute (ALEI). I want them to realize how much The American Legion does for our Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation, our National Security, Americanism and Children and Youth. I would like them to learn the history, the pomp and ceremony and what it means. By doing so they can teach our members so they too will understand The American Legion.

                I would like to see more members step up and become involved in the Post, take pride in what our Post has to offer. I understand we are all volunteers; I understand that some have more time than others and I understand life happens. God comes first, Family next, Country then Legion. God wants to help you to be a better person by following his guidelines and laws. The Family is next, your family is your support and your future to give to the world without them you would be lost. I feel our country is where we and our families live. Without our country our freedoms would not be the same. The call of duty for us is to by voting what is right for our country every election. Then there’s The American Legion, helping those who sacrificed their time, their bodies and the families that supported the veteran. We strive to help all our veterans to live a life the way a hero should live, a life that we veterans are owed for serving to our country. 

                I look forward to seeing each and everyone of our post members when that time comes. I am anxious to hold our return meeting hoping the COVID-19 has been conquered. I will be happy to see your faces and know that you survived this pandemic. I will be excited to work on getting our post home. I will show my gratitude to all the frontline workers, my gratitude to the first responders that face Covid-19 on a daily basis, my gratitude to my fellow Legionnaires for helping others, for following the CDC guidelines and returning to the post to celebrate The American Legion and our Post. Most of all I will show my gratitude to God for allowing us to continue our work towards helping veterans, our country, our country’s, children and youth, and each other.

                I am proud to be your Commander. I am proud of each of you and all the things we accomplished together throughout the past year. I will proud as we return and continue our quest. I see our post growing and one day it will be post that all will envy. As I look at our members, I see my replacement out there. I see our next Adjutant, Vice Commanders, Finance Officer, Chaplain, Sergeant at Arms and Executive Officers. I look forward to the day, hopefully not too soon, when I am a Legionnaire of our post such as many of you. Proud to be a member and contribute what I can to the Post and our Commander and our Officers.

                Be proud, be ever proud.

Willis Gray III Commander

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