The January meeting of Houston’s American Legion Post 41 was brief and attendance was down, most likely due to the cold weather.

Topics discussed were the Veterans Fair schedule for Armed Forces Day on the third Saturday of May. Robert DeMitry proposed the idea a couple of months ago at one of our weekly coffee and donut meetings.  There are a high number of veterans in the area and county, all of whom have issues and concerns. It seems that many are not members of any of the half-dozen organizations in the county. 

The idea he suggested is for the fair to be a clearinghouse of information. So far, invitations have been sent to Popular Bluff and the State VA to attend and answer questions. Also, members of the Fleet Reserve Association will attend; the FRA is geared to U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard service members, and membership is open to all who served in those branches. 

The VFW has also agreed to attend and set up a table. The VFW is open to any service member who spent at least one day in a combat zone.

American Legion Post 41 will host the fair. Membership in the Legion is open to any service member who served in IRS-approved time groups (yes – IRS-approved; an organization that has no veteran connections dictates who may or may not be eligible to join the Legion).

In the last four decades, our warriors have had more and more hard-earned benefits shaved away by self-serving politicians. Before it’s too late, service members and their spouses and dependents should come together en mass and flex their collective muscle. If anyone thinks it can’t happen pull yourself away from reality television and social media and take a good long hard look at other organizations.

The greatest asset and liability of any community is the people who live in it! Things I hear include, “I don’t have time.” My reaction to that is, “how much time do you spend in front of the TV and computer? What have you done to improve your community?”

The goal of Post 41 and the local FRA is to improve the community not only for our service members, but for everyone.

I’ll get off my soapbox now – at least for this month.

The Legion meeting is the second Thursday of each month, and every Wednesday from 9 to 11 a.m. the Legion Hall (on U.S. 63 next to Pizza Hut) is opened for coffee and donuts, and for anyone to meet the officers. The FRA meets at 1:30 p.m. every fourth Sunday at the Post 41 hall. Everyone is invited to attend any and all of these meetings. 

Houston resident Keith Ford is a retired infantryman and an amateur writer whose work has appeared in publications around the world. He is commander at American Legion Post 41 (in Houston, Mo.), Email kf4tap@yahoo.com.

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