Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

'A positive example for young people'

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Praised for his youth foundation, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan was presented The American Legion’s James V. Day “Good Guy” Award during the organization’s 99th annual national convention Aug. 21.

“Joe Morgan is not just one of baseball’s all-time greats, but he is a solid example of a good citizen who believes in being a positive example for young people,” said American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt. “A great baseball player and a successful businessman, he clearly believes in paying back his good fortune to society.He is an outstanding selection for the 2017 Good Guy Award.”

“”Anytime someone recognizes that I wasn’t just a baseball player, it’s important from that perspective,” Morgan said. “And it’s important from some of the people that you have already honored. You have honored some of the greatest athletes and the greatest people in the country. So I feel very honored to be one of them.”

Morgan was a two time World Champion with the Cincinnati Reds, and the National League Most Valuable Player in 1975 and 1976. A former American Legion Baseball player, he is ranked at or near the top of all-time Major League second basemen by many baseball experts. His former teammate, 2016 Good Guy Award winner Johnny Bench, called Morgan the greatest player he had ever seen..

The James V. Day Good Guy Award is named after a World War II veteran and prominent Legionnaire. Recent recipients include former boxing great George Foreman, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, performer Dolly Parton, former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB Hall of Famer Joe Torre.

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Growing in order to continue giving

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More than two dozen women veterans were given a course in mentoring, financial literacy, professional growth and development, and physical fitness during The American Legion’s first annual Conference for Women Aug. 21 at the Legion’s national convention in Reno.

SkillPath’s Kasmira Kit, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, provided the three-hour training session. “I truly believe there is no limit to what we can do as women to serve our country, whether on active duty or beyond,” said Kit, who will soon join the Army National Guard. “I’m also honored to spend time with a group of people committed to their own self-improvement (and) their own development as people. We cannot continue to give if we cannot continue to grow.”

Kit then broke her presentation into four areas, making time during each for a back-and-forth session with the conference attendees.


One of the ways to continue to grow, Kit said, is through a mentorship relationship. She went over the fundamentals of mentoring, which she said should be goal-oriented, motivating, an opportunity for professional growth and beneficial to both parties.

“When we go into the relationship, there should be goals on the mentee side,” Kit said. “What do you want to get out of it?”

Kit said a person should not be both a boss and a mentor, nor is a mentor someone who will hold a person’s hand and walk that person through their career. “It shouldn’t be a counseling session,” she said. “This is a professional relationship. There will be times when personal situations will come into play. But if we can remember that … the goal is a professional relationship, that will help us keep that mentor relationship really focused on the goal.”

Financial Literacy

Kit said it’s sometimes difficult to bring up the topic of money because people tend to attach it to their self-worth, “or, are we good people. I encourage you to separate that as we talk about this.”

She said 49 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and that 52 percent of men and 69 percent of women cannot cover six months of expenses. “It’s actually recommended you have eight to 12 months of expenses backup,” Kit said, noting women on average make 80 percent of what their male counterparts make.

Getting a person’s finances in line is critical. “We can’t be effective in serving our community, our organizations or ourselves if we’re worried about money,” Kit said. “We’ve all been in that situation at some point. When you’re there, you’re not thinking about being a mentor or a mentee, or serving in any kind of capacity.”

Kit said setting up a budget is a logical first step and provided a guide to doing so: establish a monthly income; establish fixed monthly expenses; establish variable expenses, such as clothing and entertainment; review income vs. expenses; and keep a record of both spending and expenses.

Treat a savings plan as a bill and always pay it first, Kit advised, and don’t set up a budget with unrealistic goals. “The reason that budgets fail often are like the reason a diet fails,” she said. “You might be trying to cut too much too soon. And you have a great plan but don’t execute the plan, then nothing happens.”

Professional Growth and Development

One of the keys to professional growths in relationships, and a key to building and keeping relationships is the ability to respectfully disagree. Kit said that honesty is a good start – especially when admitting fault – and that relationships are more important than single wins.

“In a win-win relationship, the key is that both parties felt understood, heard (and) validated as individuals,” Kit said. “It’s not that both people get what they want. That’s almost never possible. Everybody gets a little bit of something that they want.”

Kit also provided tips on mending relationships, again pointing to being honest and direct, as well as dealing with the situation openly and fairly.

Physical Fitness

Kit said there is no greater asset to a women wanting to provide service than her health. “And not just our physical health, but our mental health, our emotional health and our spiritual health,” she said.

Kit presented an energy pyramid comprised of four levels: physical (the base), emotional, mental and spiritual (the top). Without physical energy “we cannot do anything,” Kit said. “If we don’t take care of ourselves … nothing else follows.”

The emotional piece reflects the quality of energy, Kit said, while the mental part includes focus and creativity. Both need to be replenished from time to time, she said.

The spiritual energy “does not have to be a religious practice,” Kit said. “It’s more about your values, which may come from your religion or may not.”

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Legion reaffirms 94-year-old statement aimed at hate groups

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The American Legion today re-affirmed an existing position first passed nearly a century ago that is aimed squarely at groups that espouse racist beliefs.

“In 1923, The American Legion passed a national resolution at our convention in San Francisco that is as relevant today as it was 94 years ago,” National Commander Charles E. Schmidt said after the Legion’s National Executive Committee unanimously reaffirmed National Resolution 407, titled “Law Enforcement and Tolerance.”

First passed when many destructive forces were harming American society, the resolution resolves that “The American Legion considers any individual, group of individuals, or organizations, which creates, or fosters racial, religious or class strife among our people, or which takes into their own hands the enforcement of law, determination of guilt, or infliction of punishment, to be un-American, a menace to our liberties, and destructive to our fundamental law.”

The statement also further resolved that “The American Legion considers such action by any individual, groups, or organizations, to be inconsistent with the ideals and purposes of The American Legion.”

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Posts urged to remember the graves of their founders

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American Legion 100th Anniversary Observance Committee Chairman David Rehbein spent part of last week scrubbing, polishing and trimming the grass around the grave of Thomas W. Miller, a World War I lieutenant colonel who helped found what would become the nation’s largest veterans organization in 1919.

The activity was followed by a ceremony attended by several national and state American Legion dignitaries. They placed centennial coins on Miller’s grave and planted a U.S. flag and an American Legion flag in the grass beside it.

The experience gave Rehbein, a past American Legion national commander, an idea. “I want to encourage posts all across the country and beyond to locate the grave of their first commander and see if it needs some attention,” he said. “If so, that’s a great post centennial activity that doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or require a lot of travel. It’s also a great opportunity for the post to alert the local media and tell the story of its founding generation, which is also, in many cases, a World War I story that can be told during the time we are recognizing that centennial.”

Rehbein also urges American Legion Family members to research their post namesakes, also often a World War I story that can be told during the centennial window, as well as the many accomplishments of local Legionnaires over the last century.

He said more than 2,500 American Legion posts have begun profiles on the national centennial website at “We really want more posts to jump in and provide their histories online or finish up their profiles so that they can be shared with the public in their communities,” Rehbein said.





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SAL donation supports Temporary Financial Assistance program

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The Sons of The American Legion have transferred $300,000 to the Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) program of The American Legion. The donation is a gift to the Legion as part of the 100th anniversary celebration.

Resolution 1 was approved by the National Executive Committee of The American Legion during its meeting on Aug. 21 in Reno, Nev.

The resolution calls for the transfer of funds "to care for the emergency needs of the children of our nation's veterans."

After the resolution's approval, National Commander Charles E. Schmidt said, "The Sons of The American Legion do great things for The American Legion."

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