The American Legion and more
The American Legion
Department of California District 18
Students from local high schools are currently involved in the 72nd annual American Legion National High School Oratorical Scholarship Contest, which involves a prepared oration of eight to ten minutes in length about some phase of the Constitution of the United States and a dissertation of three to five minutes on a related subject from the Constitutional Amendments. District 18 covers the entire San Gabriel Valley, and at the recent speakoff held at La Puente Post 75, City of Industry, Anuv Ratan from Claremont High School and sponsored by Keith Powell/Claremont Post 78 was awarded 1st Place. First runner-up was Marco Suarez from La Salle High School, sponsored by East Pasadena Post 280.
On Saturday, February7th, Ratan represented District 18 at the 6th Area speakoff held at Pasadena American Legion Post 13, competing against speakers John Kim (Cleveland High School, Reseda), Natalie Kalamdaryan (Providence High School, Burbank) and Steven Hockendorf (Trinity High School, Camarillo). The 1st runner-up was John Kim, and as the winner, Anuv will represent the 6th Area at the Department of California finals at Modesto on February 22nd, with the hope of going on to the semi-finals and finals at the Indianapolis Conference Center, Indianapolis, Indiana in April.
Contestants receive cash awards as they advance through the various levels, with the three winners at the final competition in Indianapolis receiving college scholarships of $18,000, $16,000 and $14,000, awarded by the National organization.
District 18 of the American Legion Auxiliary will welcome the Department President, LuAnn Capazzi of Ridgecrest, at their dinner meeting at East Pasadena Post 280, 179 N. Venido, Pasadena, on February 16th.
Following the dinner at 6:00 p.m., District President Juliana Potter of Baldwin Park will open the meeting at 7:30 p.m. Reservations for dinner may be made by calling the Post at 626-792-9938.
The District 18 Ritual Team will be on hand to serve as an “honor guard” for the top lady of the Department of California. Having been installed at the American Legion Auxiliary Convention in Palm Springs last June, Mrs. Capazzi is the first Department President to also be a member of The American Legion, having served in the U. S. Navy, and her nautical theme is “Chartering a Course to New Horizons”.
Americanism Chairman, Carol Velasquez of La Puente reminds Units participating in the annual Americanism Essay Contest that essays must be picked up at local schools by Friday, March 6th for judging. The Auxiliary has sponsored this program for many years and involves students in five groups: Group I, 4th & 5th grade, will write on “What is a Veteran”, Group II, 6th & 7th grade, “Why I Love America”, Group III, 8th & 9th grade, “The Rights We Enjoy as Americans”, Group IV, 10th, 11th & 12th grade “Why is Our Constitution Important?” and Group V, Children with Exceptional Needs, “What my Country Means to Me”. Students in the high school category have an opportunity to win a $2,500 scholarship on the state (Department) level, with prizes in each group on the various levels – Unit, District and Department.
All Presidents of the fifteen local Units will personally be introduced to the Department President when a monetary gift will be presented to her for her special projects, and the entire American Legion Family – the Legion, Sons of the Legion and the Auxiliary – are looking forward to meeting this vivacious and dedicated lady as she brings a message of encouragement and hope as they begin the second half of the Legion year working for the veterans, veterans families and the youth of our great country.
District 18 Girls State Chairman Sharon Cooper of Covina has announced that American Legion Auxiliary Units in the San Gabriel Valley are in the process of interviewing high school juniors with the goal of choosing the most outstanding girls, one from each school, to attend the 66th annual session of California Girls State at Pitzer College in Claremont June 27th to July 3rd 2009.
Girls State is a very special group of young women. Of the thousands of outstanding California high school juniors, only 540 are selected to attend this nationally recognized leadership program. For over 75 years, girls have traveled to Girls State each summer in every state to learn not only about the structure and responsibilities of state government, but about themselves as well.
Girls State is a work/study program in functional government giving the girls the challenging experience of actual participation in city, county and state elections and functions. Through this program of the American Legion Auxiliary, they spend a week of learning and inspiration to become patriotic, responsible and intelligent citizens devoted to service to their community and country.
Candidates are selected by school personnel for the interviewing process, and the final selection of the candidates is made by the American Legion Auxiliary Units sponsoring the selected students.
American Legion Auxiliary District 18 President Juliana Potter of Baldwin Park will
conduct the regular monthly meeting Monday, March 16th, 7:30 p.m., at Abraham Lincoln Post 241, 4725 Maine Ave., Baldwin Park. March is Community Service Month so Community Service Chairman Norma Cooper of Pomona will bring suggestions for a District 18 project so that the membership can vote on their choice of an organization to be honored.
Veteran Affairs & Rehabilitation Chairman Margaret Quinones of La Puente is focusing
on the District 18 special project “Operation Mend”, a wonderful new program involving a partnership between the Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas and UCLA that gives returning military with severe facial injuries access to the country’s best plastic and reconstruction surgeons in the private sector. Doctors, nurses and support staff at UCLA volunteer their time, but donations are needed to cover the cost of the surgeries and assistance to families with uncovered costs such as lodging as patients move from one facility to the other. All 15 Units in the District are raising funds to benefit this project
District Girls State Chairman, Sharon Cooper of Covina reports that Units have completed the process of interviewing at twenty-eight local schools for delegates to the 66th session of California Girls State to be held June 27th to July 3rd at Pitzer College in Claremont. The Girls Staters that attended Girls State last year are busy planning a tea to be held May 17th when the “alumni” will tell the new “delegates” what to expect when they get to this year’s session.
With membership having high priority, 1st Vice President DeNyse Laugeson of El Monte
wants all women to know that Auxiliary membership is open to wives, mothers, daughters, granddaughters and great granddaughters of Legionnaires as well as women veterans in their own right. Eligible ladies interested in membership are urged to contact the Chairman at 626-452-1953 or any local Unit throughout the San Gabriel Valley.
The regular monthly meeting of District 18 will be held Friday, March 20th, 7:30 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln Post 241, 4725 Maine Ave., Baldwin Park. Reservations for dinner preceding the meeting can be made by calling the Post, 626-337-1944. 2nd Vice Commander Augustine Galaviz will preside as the 90th birthday of The American Legion is celebrated. The American Legion was formed in 1919 in Paris while WW I troops were still in France by 20 AEF officers, including Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt. Cementing the ties of comradeship formed in the service led to formation of a vast medical service system, programs for our nations children, advanced education and training for all veterans under the American Legion sponsored “G.I. Bill of Rights”, sponsorship of legislation involving veteran issues and the rehabilitation of our nation’s veterans who served and the care of their dependents. With changes occurring over time, the new Post/911 G.I. Bill takes effect August 1st. There are some major differences between the Post/9 11 G.I. Bill and the Montgomery G.I. Bill that veterans need to understand. The web site at www.mygibill.org includes clear explanations of the different benefits, news alerts and updates, frequently asked questions, state-by-state benefits and online application opportunities.
Coming events on the District level include a “Day at the Races” at Santa
Anita Park on Saturday, March 21st. Veterans, Legionnaires, Auxiliary and Sons of the Legion are urged to enjoy a fun-filled day of entertainment and excitement in a spectacular setting, along with great food and more. The event to be in the Carnival Days Infield and the $20.00 donation includes entry, amusement rides and free parking with entry through Gate 6.
For further information contact Peggy McIntosh, 626-287-0139