Oregon post assisting with veteran homelessness

The American Legion

MAR 04, 2020

In 2018, American Legion Post 32 in Cottage Grove, Ore., was looking to sell a .16-acre parcel of land that it owned adjacent to the post. But the post wanted to make sure the land was used in the right way.

After connecting with the Homes for Good, Lane County’s housing agency that helps low-income residents with the logistics of affordable housing, the post has ensured that will happen.

This summer will see the completion of Legion Cottages, which will provide four tiny homes on the former Legion property that will be rented to low-income homeless veterans.

“We wanted to sell the property, but we wanted to put it to good use to see if we could put some tiny homes on there,” Post 32 Commander Steve Wesolowski said. “(Homes for Good) took the ball from there and figured out how to get four tiny homes on there. We sold them the property in the condition the homes would be used for veterans.

“There’s a big need for veteran housing, especially lower-income veterans. We figured this was a way we could help the veterans … and give the veterans to have access to our facility.”

During the construction Homes for Good has set up its trailer on the post’s property, while Post 32 is providing electricity for the project until power poles are installed in the area. Architecture students from the University of Oregon’s OregonBILDS program have helped with both the design and construction.

The cost for the project is $550,000, of which most was provided through grants, donations and loans. The homes are expected to be completed in June. The property on which Legion Cottages are being built will include shared parking, a common open space, and supportive services and case management through local partnerships.

Legion Cottages will be located across the street from Riverview Terrace, a large public housing affordable community managed by Homes for Good. The on-site manager and maintenance team will manage the new homes, and the veterans living in the tiny homes will have access to the Riverview Terrace’s laundry facilities, senior meals, game nights and potlucks.

And Post 32 also will be there for the veterans wanting to spend time with those who have shared the same experiences as members of the U.S. military, as well as those wanting help with potential Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. The post has a VA rep come to the post monthly to assist with claims.

“We’re hoping this gives (the Legion Cottages residents) a chance to better their lives and get stuff taken care of they don’t have access to right now or only have limited access to,” Wesolowski said. “It’s another chance to help these veterans.”

Source: https://www.legion.org/

GuideStar Silver Seal of Transparency

American Legion Frederick & John Ravin Post 134 has earned the GuideStar 2020 Silver Seal of Transparency. This award will allow members of the community and the over 10 million
GuideStar users access to in-depth financial information about the Post. We have made this data available to prospective donors, and over 200 charitable websites and applications that use GuideStar data, such as AmazonSmile, Facebook, and Network for Good. This is in keeping with our commitment to be completely transparent concerning financial donations made to the Post.
What do you think? Check out our profile at https://www.guidestar.org/Profile/7134428.

About the Riders

American Legion Riders chapters are well known for their charitable work, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local children’s hospitals, schools, veterans homes, severely wounded servicemembers and scholarships. Since 2006, Riders nationwide have participated in The American Legion Legacy Run to annually raise money for the Legacy Scholarship Fund, established to provide scholarships to children of U.S. military personnel killed since Sept. 11, 2001.

History

In Garden City, Mich., in 1993, Chuck “Tramp” Dare and Bill “Polka” Kaledas, commander of American Legion Post 396, shared an idea to start a motorcycle enthusiasts association within the organization. The two longtime riders wanted an environment where Legion family members could come together to share a common love for motorcycles.

Dare and Kaledas wrote a letter to Michigan Department Adjutant Hubert Hess, sharing their idea. Hess replied that he liked the concept and wanted to pursue it. Later, he gave Kaledas and Dare instructions for managing the program at the post level. He also explained how they could be approved to use the American Legion emblem, and how to gain Membership’s support and recognition. At a regular meeting, Post 396 members passed a resolution for a new program to be known as the “American Legion Riders.”

Joined by 19 other founding members from their post, Dare and Kaledas were flooded with requests for information about their organization. They agreed to establish a central source for the Riders to ensure that chapters formed not as motorcycle clubs or gangs, but as Legionnaires and Auxiliary and SAL members joining to ride as Legion family.

Legion Riders today

Currently, over 110,000 American Legion Riders meet in over 2,000 chapters in every domestic department and in at least three foreign countries. Riders in Iowa have formed an honor guard called The Five Star Freedom Riders, and Riders in Mulvane, Kan., founded the Patriot Guard to protect the sanctity of military funerals from protesters. Riders in all states have escorted military units returning home from combat tours overseas, conducted massive cross-country fundraising events for wounded warriors from all services, and have raised millions of dollars for countless local, state and national charities. Many Riders, supported by their departments, conduct annual statewide Legacy Runs in direct support of American Legion scholarship progras of Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW), supporting our wounded servicemembers across the nation.  

True to the Legion’s grassroots tradition, each chapter manages its programs at the post level, where the best ideas are born. The Riders are part of many projects and events, including:

  • Rolling Thunder, the annual POW/MIA rally in Washington on Memorial Day weekend.
  • Annual regional rides such as Operation Wounded Warrior, sponsored by Riders in Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, California and other Western states.
  • Local charity events in support of The American Legion and local communities.
  • Raising money for VA hospitals, women and children centers, children and youth centers, schools and other facilities.
  • Sponsoring or participating in motorcycle runs to benefit numerous charities.
  • Local memorial ceremonies and community parades.
  • The American Legion Legacy Run, an annual cross-country fundraising ride from National Headquarters in Indianapolis to the national convention city.
  • Riding to honor fallen military men and women, and to protect the sanctity of their funerals from those who would dishonor their memory.
  • Escorting military units to departure airfields and airports for combat tours overseas, and welcoming them home upon their return.

Source: https://www.legion.org/riders/about

COVID- 19 & Post #134

Hello Friends,

In an effort to stay safe amidst Covid-19, Post 134 is closed until further notice. This pandemic is rapidly changing our lives and I encourage you all to follow guidance from the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization. At the time of writing this, physical distancing is our best plan for slowing the spread of this illness. However, this is not the same as social distancing. During these times, I highly encourage social connection through means of electronic communication and phone calls. You can reach me personally at 312-722-8002. Give me, or any of our officers a call and keep in touch. With that in mind, our team wants to share the following:

1. It may be possible for us to arrange the pickup and delivery of food items for those who are unable to or find it unsafe to do so for themselves. Please let us know if you are in need of any assistance. Contact me via phone at 312-722-8002 or email at amlepost134@gmail.com. Unfortunately, we cannot pay for groceries. Groceries need to be paid for by the individual via cash, check, or electronic means, but we are happy to act as the logistics service for these goods.

2. Practice PHYSICAL distancing, not SOCIAL distancing. Buddy check your friends, family and fellow Post members.

3. Bike rides, runs, hikes, and healthy outdoor, distanced activities are still encouraged.

This is a whole new regime for the country. Keep your head up, help others and ask for help if you can use it. These are trying times, but we can persevere. I ask you all to be socially responsible, practice self care, and to remember that our community is strong.

Kind Regards,

Kevin Beasley
Post 134 Commander