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Veterans’ View: All the good that American Legion posts provide for Carroll County

This past summer, at the end of the Little League baseball season, our post adjutant, Joe Marschall, handed out uniform patches to the players on three teams sponsored by American Legion Post 200 in Hampstead. The patches say “American Legion Little League Baseball.” While the players were together, he asked if anyone knew what the American Legion was. One young player immediately responded that the Legion is a bar. He was partially correct.

All the posts have a bar, as well as a kitchen, a hall for rental and community activities, meeting rooms, and, at some posts, a pavilion for good weather use.

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There are five American Legion posts in Carroll County, with a total of 3,133 members.

The state adjutant, Russell Myers, composed an article including what we do as a Legion. Some highlights are the following.

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The American Legion of Maryland contributes materially to the economic well-being of the State of Maryland by employing more than 1,300.

Our members volunteered 360,976 hours to community service at a value of over $9 million.

The American Legion is the largest identifiable blood donor organization in America and in Maryland. For 2018, the Maryland  Legion family  donated 2,805 pints of blood  Since its founding, the American Legion is a strong sponsor and supporter of Boy and Girl Scout Troops in America and in Maryland. Posts sponsor 46 Scout units and expended over $137,108 in support of these youths

The American Legion donates scholarships to deserving Maryland college and pre-college students; total scholarships given in 2018 exceeded $275,000.

The Department Service Office annually assists and represents over 1,000 veterans with Department of Veterans Affairs benefits paperwork, and is responsible for nearly $18 million in awards for various VA benefits each year. Several veterans received retroactive compensation for disabilities over $250,000 each. The American Legion excels in veteran employment assistance in all communities.

Under the Legion’s Worldwide Family Support Network, provides both labor (over 13,000 hours) and financial support (over $40,000) to spouses and family members left behind while the military servicemember is deployed in harm’s way. Typical support includes lawn maintenance (shoveling snow, mowing grass, trimming shrubbery), making minor household repairs, providing free transportation and drivers, purchasing needed clothing and food, and helping with emergency financial problems.

The Department of Maryland Heroes to Hometown/Wounded Warrior fund provided grants totaling over $300,000 for veterans of the current conflicts struggling with transition or in need in other areas, including adaptive technologies. This program is completely funded by donations from the Legion family and a few supporters

Department of Maryland Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission annually makes grants over $30,000 to support veteran needs. The total value of donations and volunteer hours exceeds $500,000 annually. Annual volunteer service to VA includes thousands of hours in facilities around Maryland.

The American Legion operates the Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) for needy children of veterans, providing aid for areas of basic needs to veteran families with children in the household. Grants provided in 2018 exceeded $100,000.

There are over 14,000 veterans in Carroll County. If you are a veteran and are not a member, please consider joining one of our posts. The larger our voice in Annapolis and in Congress, the better we can serve our veterans and their families.

American Legion posts are located in Westminster (Post 31), Taneytown (Post 120) Mount Airy (Post 191), Hampstead (Post 200) and Sykesville (Post 223). For more information about becoming a member, please visit www.legion.org.

We look forward to having you as a member. Thank you for taking the time to read this article.

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Bill Nash is commander of Post 200 and a board member of the Carroll County Veterans Advisory Council.

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