Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

Scholarships, membership and centennial events top September report

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The American Legion disbursed over $125,000 in Child Welfare Foundation grants in September, delivered scholarships to students and recorded more than 3,100 centennial events for the last membership year.

As the LEGION Act is adding thousands of new members to the organization, department chaplains are learning how they can help reduce the veteran suicide rate.

Click here for the latest American Legion Membership Impact Report.

For previous reports, go to

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American Legion to hold annual Fall Meetings in Indy

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American Legion National Commander Bill Oxford and Legionnaires representing every American Legion department will convene in Indianapolis Oct. 13-17 for the organization's annual Fall Meetings.

The American Legion's various commissions and committees will meet at the Sheraton City Centre Hotel in downtown Indianapolis to discuss updates on the Legion's programs, review resolutions, and prepare reports that will be delivered to the National Executive Committee (NEC). The NEC will meet Oct. 16 and 17 in the NEC Room at National Headquarters to review the reports and vote on resolutions.

Opening remarks from Oxford at 9 a.m. on Oct. 16 will be streamed on Facebook Live here.

During Fall Meetings, the 2020 Child Welfare Foundation grant recipients will be announced, as well as the Samsung American Legion Scholarship recipients.

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National Treasurer George Buskirk passes away

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George A. Buskirk Jr., the national treasurer of The American Legion, passed away Oct. 8. He was 70 years old.

Buskirk, a member of American Legion Post 510 at Fort Benjamin Harrison, was appointed national treasurer on Sept. 10, 1998, during the 80th National Convention in New Orleans. The national treasurer serves as the chief financial officer of The American Legion, and is responsible for the custody and management of the assets of the organization.

He was a paid up for life member of The American Legion.

Maj. Gen. Buskirk (ret.), Army National Guard, earned his eligibility for membership serving in the U.S. military from 1967 until 2005, of which he served from 1978 until 2005 in the Indiana National Guard. His career culminated as adjutant general of the State of Indiana, serving for Gov. Frank O'Bannon.

Buskirk received a bachelor’s degree from Butler University in business administration in 1971, and his law degree from the Indiana University School of Law in 1975.

He was a member of the American Bar Association, the Indiana State Bar Association and the Indianapolis Bar Association. In 1996, he served as president of the Indianapolis Bar Association.

In September 2015, Buskirk was honored when a street in Lawrence Township, Ind., was named after him. Buskirk Jr., and his father both served at Fort Benjamin Harrison before it became "a poster child" for a successful BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) transition. Buskirk Jr., noted that more than 50 commercial enterprises and hundreds of residences had sprouted up in recent years on the former DoD campus. Buskirk Drive was "one of the greatest honors of my life," he said at the ceremony.

Buskirk’s volunteerism included serving as a board member of the Ivy Tech Foundation, co-trustee of St. Mary's Charities Foundation, Inc., as well as being an officer with the Boy Scouts of America of Central Indiana, the Indiana War Memorial Commission and Foundation, the Day Nursery Foundation of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Humane Society, the American Red Cross of Central Indiana and the Indianapolis Veterans Day Council.

In a statement, American Legion National Commander James W. "Bill" Oxford said, “The American Legion lost more than a national treasurer today. We lost a treasure. George A. Buskirk was the kindest of gentlemen. We will certainly miss his sound financial leadership, but we will mostly miss our time with this affable, decent and smart man. He served his country during the Vietnam War and rose through the ranks of the Indiana National Guard to become its adjutant general. His intellect was without question. A senior executive in the banking industry, we were fortunate to have this great Legionnaire as our national treasurer for 21 years. We were more fortunate to have known him. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers are extended to the Buskirk family. We shall miss him.”

Buskirk, a native of Indianapolis, was the father of three children and five grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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New Jersey Post 493 hosting annual COTA fundraiser

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American Legion Post 493 in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., will host its annual fundraiser for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) on Oct. 13.

The benefit concert and fundraiser, from noon to 6 p.m., includes 12 bands and plenty of family-friendly activities, including a pirate ship, petting zoo, pumpkin decorating and more. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids, and free for kids under 5.

The annual event has raised nearly $400,000 for COTA, which is dedicated to helping families with transplant-related expenses and providing fundraising assistance to community volunteers across the country. Transplant procedure costs can reach up to $800,000; COTA helps bridge the financial gap.

Lenny Hart, who organizes the Post 493 fundraiser each year, is aiming for a record-breaking fundraising year for the Department of New Jersey. The department, annually one of the top fundraisers for COTA, had already collected $48,832.50 by June’s department convention.

Since 1988, the American Legion Family nationwide has raised more than $1 million for COTA.

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USAA Tips: How to use social media to create a personal brand

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Content provided courtesy of USAA | By Chad Storlie

Creating a positive, professional identity in the business world can seem like a daunting task. The challenge is to create a personal brand that represents your identity and your accomplishments. Personal branding is about finding, advertising, and truly representing your accomplishments and potential to others so that you can create more success and accomplish your goals. Your brand is how you help the world and help yourself in a way that is open, connected, personal, and caring.

Social media and blogging can help you establish and promote your own personal brand. Follow these tips to help capture and express your personal brand and demonstrate what you can do for others.

Give Your Social Media Accounts the Same Look and Feel.

Your social media sites need to look, feel, and appear the same. No matter if someone finds you on Twitter, Facebook, or your website, you provide the same professional image and representation to all your followers. Think of yourself as a product on a store shelf. You want to be instantly recognizable, represent trust and quality, and fully demonstrate your professional qualities. Keep your postings on social media professional, to the point, and avoid controversial and unprofessional comments that may reflect poorly. Keep in mind that every posting will follow you for life.

Become a Subject Matter Expert and a Thought Leader.

An expert or an industry thought leader is someone who has something consistently new and practical to state about a particular field of study, a social issue, a specific industry, or an occupational field. Follow other industry experts and thought leaders in your area of expertise on social media. Finally, start to write and publish articles and small observations in newspapers, on professional journals, and industry newsletters. Link and use all of your social media platforms to distribute your written content and help other thought leaders do the same. This way, no matter what social media platform you use, it will link to all of your written and professional content. Remember that being a leader is about leading, not recognition. Accolades can sometimes take years to come.

Start or Continue a Blog.

Blogs are one of the primary ways to demonstrate your presence, creativity, and longevity as an expert. Blogs are written and graphic contributions to your personal brand that demonstrate your insight, creativity, leadership, and beliefs on thought-provoking and challenging issues related to your area of expertise. Blogging should also be cross-promoted across different blogging platforms such as Medium, LinkedIn and others – post content to where your readers are and encourage everyone to share.

Take On or Find Special Projects.

Special projects for your community or created by your own initiative are an amazing avenue to promote and demonstrate your personal brand. In order to describe the full impact of special projects, set out to tell a story using both words and pictures. Let the pictures highlight the before, during, and after results that really show the improvement. The words must describe the journey to success: (1) What was the problem you discovered, (2) what were the challenges to make it better, (3) how did you initially fail, (4) what was the successful solution, and (5) what did you learn.

Write For Print and Online Publications.

Writing for both online and traditional media is an excellent way to demonstrate your personal brand, but it can take a while. Blogging is the best way to start to get noticed and submitting stories and story ideas directly to editors is the next best idea. Editors need well-written content to remain relevant in the fast news cycle of the Internet. Providing good content to publications helps your brand and helps editors remain relevant.

Maintain a Good Personal Website.

A good personal website should highlight your contributions, what your personal brand represents, and it should remain timeless so it is a true representation of your own personal contributions. The website design should be simple, mobile-friendly, and direct visitors where they can learn more about you, access your blogs, see examples of your work, learn about projects you completed, and know how to contact you. Great websites need to be content-rich so people will return to them frequently and use your website as a resource in their lives.

Post Regularly Across Social Media.

Social media posts are best when they are direct, precisely written, exceedingly professional, and each and every post builds your personal brand in some small way. Various social media aggregator platforms can help this process greatly by helping you organize content and then posting throughout the day.

Building a personal brand takes time, dedication, and an intense desire to care for your customers by delivering content that is fresh, new, and exciting.

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Did you know?

Military Funeral Honors ceremonies must be scheduled in advance.

The law requires that every eligible veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, which includes the folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of “taps,” upon the family’s request. This Department of Defense program calls for the funeral director to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veteran’s family.