Thursday January 10, 2008
Calvert Independent Managing Editor
American Legion posts throughout Calvert County are seeking to encourage veterans and their family members to join up.
â€śWeâ€™re trying to get the word out that weâ€™re not just a bunch of vets sitting at a bar drinking beer and swapping war stories,â€ť said Calvert County Commander Patricia McCoy. â€śWe do a lot of good things in our communities.â€ť
On Saturday, Jan. 5 the Stallings-Williams American Legion Post 206 in Chesapeake Beach held an open house in an effort to lure new members to their ranks. In 2006, the Stallings-Williams Post celebrated its 60th anniversary.
â€śWe got our charter in 1946,â€ť said Post 206 Commander Jack Gregory. â€śWe have 1,500 total members including Sons of Legionnaire members [siblings of family members of veteran members].â€ť
â€śWe have well over 3,000 members here in Calvert County alone,â€ť McCoy added. â€śAll four of the countyâ€™s American Legion posts work to help our baseball teams, we have oratorical contests and scholarship programs for high school seniors.â€ť
Getting new members is sometimes difficult, she admitted.
â€śThatâ€™s one of the reasons we put this program together,â€ť McCoy said. â€śWeâ€™re not just about wartime veterans. Weâ€™re giving back to our communities every day.â€ť
A new program the American Legion is promoting is called â€śHeroes to Hometown,â€ť which is an effort to help support the families of veterans who are returning from war with traumatic injuries.
â€ťWe want to be there to support them,â€ť McCoy noted.
The Stallings-Williams American Legion Post 206 has two Gold Star members who have lost a sibling to warâ€”Kelly Swanson of Rose Haven, whose son, Sgt. Christopher Swanson was killed in a helicopter crash, and Delores â€śDollyâ€ť Niewenhous, also of Rose Haven.
â€śWeâ€™ve established a veteranâ€™s charity in his [Swansonâ€™s] memory,â€ť McCoy added. â€śWeâ€™re helping to support that family.
â€śIn Calvert, we have such a small county but weâ€™re doing so much together as a big family,â€ť McCoy, a Navy veteran, noted. â€śUnfortunately we havenâ€™t done a good job of getting the word out and thatâ€™s our fault. But we give back to our community every day and thatâ€™s the message we really want people to know.â€ť