Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

National convention resolutions on Digital Archive

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The 18 resolutions passed by delegates during the 101st American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis in August are now available to view in the Legion’s Digital Archive; see the full collection here.

In July, the Library and Museum at National Headquarters completed its multiyear effort to make available through the Digital Archive all the currently active resolutions from 1919 to present – around 2,000 resolutions that establish and guide the priorities and programs of The American Legion.

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Award recipients from 101st National Convention

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Many awards are given out each year at the American Legion national convention. Below is the list of awards, and their recipients, from the 101st National Convention in Indianapolis in August.

Distinguished Service Medal: Sen. John McCain (posthumous)

Patriot Award: Mitch Daniels

National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year: Lt. (ret.) Jane Anderson

National Firefighter of the Year: Chief Jan K. Rader

Ralph T. O’Neil Education Trophy - For greatest activity in use of American Legion School Medal awards

Department of Vermont

Daniel J. O’Connor Americanism Trophy - For best all-around Americanism activities

Department of Virginia

National Recruiter of the Year: Charles T. “Abe” Abrahamson

Race to the Top winners - Given to district commanders who attain at least 100 percent of the district’s assigned membership objective by March 31

Richard F. Devlin III

Benjamin David Gibson

Stephen “Chris” Hamrick

Consolidated Post Report winners

Departments of Washington, Oregon, North Carolina, Kentucky, Colorado, Vermont, Nevada, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Alaska, Maryland, Wyoming and Florida

Frank N. Belgrano Trophy - For support of Boy Scouts of America

Department of North Carolina

Garland D. Murphy Jr. Award - Based on actual contributions received during the 2018-2019 American Legion Child Welfare Foundation year

Department of Florida

U.S. “Udie” Grant Legacy Award - Based on total combined donations of American Legion Family to the Child Welfare Foundation

Department of Florida

Child Welfare Foundation Meritorious Achievement Award - Given for the highest increase in per-capita giving to the CWF

Department of Nevada

William F. Lenker National Service Trophy - For best supporting and implementing programs to benefit veterans and their families

Department of Colorado

Fourth Estate Awards

Broadcast: KNTV, San Francisco

Print: Cynthia Simison/The Republican, Springfield, Mass.

Internet: Oriana Pawlyk/

O.L. Bodenhamer Trophy - No. 1 in membership at June report

Department of Alabama

Employer of the Year - For companies and businesses dedicated to hiring veterans

Small Category: Bravehearts Therapeutic Riding & Education Center

Medium Category: HICAPS Inc.

Large Category: Grunt Styles, LLC

Employer of Older Workers Award: Workforce Connection-Wise Title V

Michael Guty Homeless Veterans Outreach Award: Robert Looby

Employment Service Local Office Award: Pikes Peak Workforce Center

Local Veterans Employment Representative of the Year: Osvaldo “Ozzie” Montalvo

Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist of the Year: Mark Simmons

Color Guard Contests

Advancing/Retiring of Colors: Newport Harbor Post 291 (Newport Beach, Calif.)

Open Class: Shooting Stars Color Guard (Clay County Post 14, Flora, Ill.)

Military Class: Harrisburg Post 472 (Houston)

Military Class-Open: Department of Massachusetts Honor Guard

Band Contest

American Legion Band of the Tonawandas, sponsored by Post 264 of Tonawanda, N.Y.

Spirit of Service

Air Force Staff Sgt. Heather M. Carden

Army Sgt. Joshua R. Evans

Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Benjamin P. Forsberg

Marine Corps Sgt. Anthony K. Marinelli

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McMullen

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph B. McPhail

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August impact: career events, convention metrics and more

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Over the first 40 years of the GI Bill, benefits to veterans and their families were valued at over 11 figures. American Legion Legacy Scholarship funds raised since 2006, to assist the children of military personnel who have lost their lives or became over 50 percent disabled since 9/11, have eclipsed the $11 million mark. And, for the first time in American Legion Baseball history, a pitcher threw back-to-back no-hitters enroute to a championship sweep. And the Emblem Sales Flag Rewards program has grown by 172 posts this year.

The American Legion’s September Membership Impact Report puts numbers and voices behind the services and programs of the organization whose federal charter was granted 100 years ago this week.

Click here to see this month’s report. For reports from past months, visit

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'There were potentially fellow veterans in need'

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Virginia Legionnaire John Ragsdale has seen what a hurricane can do. He and his wife Wanda Covington-Ragsdale, a fellow member and American Legion Rider at Post 320 in Spotsylvania, survived Hurricane Katrina.

So when John and Wanda saw that Hurricane Dorian was going to impact the area – and possibly fellow veterans – they wanted to do something. Wanting became doing, as the two helped spearhead donations of food and other supplies from the Virginia American Legion Family to a Legion post in North Carolina. And it all happened during American Legion National Commander Bill Oxford’s visit to Virginia, not long after Oxford had urged Legionnaires to stand ready to assist those impacted by Dorian.

“We know the devastation a hurricane can deliver and the hopelessness you feel the day after the storm,” John said. “We didn’t want anybody to feel that way if there was anything we could do alleviate some pain for another veteran, another Legionnaire, another brother and sister.”

Ragsdale shared his idea with 12th District Commander Tim Walters, who also is a member of Post 320 and a Legion Rider, and then spoke to Department of Virginia Commander A.B. Brown, who was on board immediately and shared it with fellow department leadership traveling with the national commander during his visit.

“They all thought it was a great idea,” Brown said. “Everything expanded from that on how to make it happen. The Virginia team came up with this idea … I couldn’t tell you how proud I was.”

Led by Ragsdale and Walters, Post 320 was able to collect a truck full of supplies and then brought them to Post 284 in Colonial Heights, which had staged its own donation drive. The Colonial Heights donations, all of which came from Post 284 Legion Family members, filled the SUV of Post Commander Adrian “Skip” Klaas, who drove it more than 100 miles to Rocky Mount, N.C., to deliver.

Klaas, who was part of an American Legion Riders escort for Oxford during his visit, wasn’t surprised his post’s Legion Family responded to Dorian the way it did. “We’ve had a very good history of responding to this sort of thing, especially on short notice,” he said. “There were potentially fellow veterans in need, and we wanted to try to help them.”

The two truckloads of supplies were delivered via a group that included Ragsdale and his wife, the national commander, Legion Riders, Brown, Virginia National Executive Committeeman Mike Mitrione and Virginia Department Adjutant Dale Chapman.

Waiting for the donation at Coleman-Pitt Post 58 in Rocky Mount were local and state Legion leaders, including Department of North Carolina Commander James D. Moore and Department Adjutant Tierian “Randy” Cash. Moore said that while the area was lucky, getting mostly rain and wind, he was really happy to see his fellow Legion Family members from a neighboring state.

“I welcomed it, because we really didn’t know how many people in the area would be needing help,” Moore said. “The (donated) food itself was able to go to the Red Cross and other agencies in the area to help people who did need the help.”

Moore said the donation was a good representation of what The American Legion did, comparing it to when the Legion provided more than $1 million in grants to Coast Guard families impacted by last winter’s government shutdown.

“The American Legion stepped up to help them. It was veterans helping veterans,” Moore said. “That’s something that The American Legion will always do. That’s something very, very important.”

Being able to deliver the donation was special to Brown.

“I’m very proud,” said Brown of his department’s Legionnaires. “In fact, I thought this was one of the greatest things since sliced bread. We had a negative situation, and we turned it into a positive. I was very excited about this whole thing.”

It was also special for John and Wanda. “To be honest with you, we both had tears in our eyes,” John said. “When the other Legionnaires stepped up and said ‘guys, we can help you take care of this,’ it was a godsend. It spoke volumes to what Legionnaires stand for, from the top all the way down to the bottom. Commander Oxford took time out of his schedule to say ‘we can help each other.’”

Oxford said the effort "was about what we do and who we are. The people in Virginia, they made the commitment, they took the effort, they collected the supplies. And I was just fortunate to be in Virginia and able to participate in that caravan to represent the national organization.

"It was just one of those happenstances that worked out. It was one department realizing the need and making the commitment to help their fellow Legionnaires."

John and Wanda are relatively new Legionnaires, having just joined in the past few months. John said the pair became interested in joining after spending the past Veterans Day in New York City with Legionnaire Peter De Angelis, a member of Post 1636 in Brooklyn who took the couple under his wing, providing a tour of the city and opening his home up to them.

“In this timeframe my wife and I have been able to accomplish a little bit, but I don’t think we’re done yet,” John said. “There are still veterans to serve, and there are Legionnaires out there who need help. That’s what we’re here for.”

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Share how your department or post is promoting the Legion coins

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The American Legion's 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin series is a great keepsake and a way to promote membership and enhance programs at the department and post level.

If your department or post is conducting coin giveaways for recruiting efforts, fundraising for programs that support youth or veterans and their families, or for achieving post goals with membership, we want to hear from you.

Please send however your department or post is promoting the Legion coin series by sending an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

To purchase the Legion coins or for additional information about the series, please visit

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Did you know?

The issuance or replacement of military service medals, awards and decorations must be requested in writing.

Requests should be submitted in writing to the appropriate military service branch division of the NPRC. Standard form (SF 180), available through the VA, is recommended to submit your request. Generally, there is no charge for medal or award replacements. For more information, or for the mailing address of the military branch office to submit your request to, call 1-86-NARA-NARA (1-866-272-6272) or visit the NPRC website at