3rd Quarter Newsletter – 2015

American Legion Fenton Memorial Post 400


“The American Legion has stayed true to the four pillars of its founding – national security, care for veterans, patriotism and youth –since the first group of war-weary World War I troops gathered in Paris to start the organization in 1919.”

National Commander Marty Conaster, November 2007


Legionnaires:
From the commander’s desk

American Legion Post 400 Mission Statement
The goal of Post 400 can be summed up simply as to provide assistance to individual veterans in need. To provide monetary assistance to veterans support organizations, such as the Missouri Veterans Home (their shoe fund, haircut fund, etc) the USO, the Marine Christmas toy drive, local food pantries and other worthy causes that are brought to the attention of the post. The amounts donated are suggested and approved by the membership as a whole
Primary activities at the post include the bar/kitchen (open Friday and Saturday nights), the fish fry (open on Fridays Sep thru June) and bingo (held most every Saturday throughout the year).
To keep the Post open to support our Mission costs over 4,000 a month. This includes salaries, utilities, taxes, licenses and general building and parking lot upkeep.
The workers who operate these activities are volunteers and with a membership of over two hundred the same twelve to eighteen people do a vast majority of the work. In order to continue to provide the support we give to veterans requires the assistance of all members. Even if you can only volunteer for a half day a month or a day every two months it would be greatly appreciated and it would help take the load off those core volunteers. It would also make you feel a more integral part of the Post. Meetings where post activities are discussed are held the SECOND MONDAY of every month and your attendance and participation in meeting business would be greatly appreciated. We are one of the top Post’s in the 10th district in membership
Sid Staton, Commander.

VETERANS NEWS
American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett repeated his organization’s call for Department of Veterans Affairs Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey to resign amid new allegations of more wrongdoing by senior VA executives.
“In 2014, then-National Commander Dan Dellinger called on the VA secretary, the under secretary for Health and under secretary for Benefits to all step down due to widespread scandals that infected the entire department,” Barnett said “While the VA secretary and under secretary for Health did step down, Under Secretary Hickey ignored the wishes of veterans and stayed on. Now, we have VA’s own Inspector General’s office determining that two senior executives under Hickey inappropriately used their positions to benefit from an overly-generous relocation policy. It’s disturbing to read terms like ‘criminal referrals’ and ‘coerced’ in an official report about an agency that was created to serve veterans. It is time for Under Secretary Hickey to finally do the right thing and resign.”
Investigators have determined that the directors of the VA Regional Offices in Philadelphia and St. Paul, Minn., used their prior positions to coerce the previous directors to accept reassignment and create openings that they themselves would fill, while retaining their higher salaries for their new lower-level positions.
Moreover, Philadelphia VARO Director Diana Rubens and St. Paul VARO Director Kimberly Graves collected more than $274,000 and $129,000, respectively, in relocation costs. According to the IG, when Rubens informed Hickey that she wanted “to take advantage of the Philly Director opening,” Hickey responded that she would “be all in to help and make it happen.”
“Rep. Jeff Miller has said that if warranted, officials should be prosecuted ‘to the fullest extent of the law.’ I agree,” Barnett said. “Culprits must be prosecuted and all VA officials must be held accountable for any wrongdoing that occurred.”
http://www.legion.org/veteransbenefits/230027/legion-va-hickey-must-go#sthash.QeIATbEg.dpuf

Veteran’s Appreciation Day.The High Ridge Elks Lodge #2455 is hosting their 13th Annual Veteran’s Appreciation Day on Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 12 Noon – 5 p.m. We have reenactments, military vehicles, etc. For the past 12 years this event has drawn hundreds of Veterans from the 1area for a day of fun, comrade reminiscing, and thanks. The public is invited to come and meet the Veterans and join the fun. Food and beverages are available and donations are appreciated to help offset the cost. Any funds left are donated to the Wheelchair Veteran’s Sports Team at Jefferson Barracks V.A. Medical Center to help with their expenses. These paralyzed Veterans work hard all year to be able to compete in the National Veteran’s Wheelchair games held in different locations throughout the USA each year. Over the past 12 years with this event and the two Meat Shoots, we have raised over $64,700 to help these Veterans with these ongoing expenses. This event is an opportunity to salute our veterans and we need your help. If you could send some gift certificates that we could use for prizes and or auction, it would be greatly appreciated. If not, donations are also greatly appreciated. We are expecting and would like to be prepared for a large turnout. If you would like to be part of this opportunity to honor our Veterans, please send donations to:
High Ridge Elks Lodge #2455
P.O. Box 335
High Ridge, MO 63049
Attention: Veteran’s Appreciation Day

Thank you in advance for your help. We will display the names of the donors at the event, unless you prefer your name not be noted.
Fraternally, Mike Hejnal 314-402-1668

Membership
A $5 per-capita annual national dues in­crease was passed at the 97th National Convention in Baltimore. It takes effect Jan. 20, 2016. The new rate is projected to last 10 years without another increase. The last national per-capita dues increase was passed in 2006 and took effect in 2007; it will have lasted nine years. Since 1919 there have been only 8 national dues increases. The first came 30 years after the organization began, and the rest followed on average 6 years apart. The 2016 increase comes 9 years after the previous change in dues and is the smallest percentage increase since 1972.
ECONOMIC FACTORS for the increase
Membership has fallen 16.01% since the 2007 dues increase, resulting in a nation­al revenue decline of $5,679,896 per year.
U.S. cost of living has increased 13% since the last dues increase.
Interest income from American Legion investments is down 35.1%, due to the recession and the general state of the U.S. economy, resulting in $1,246,033 less income per year.
Credit card processing fees have in­creased 320%, resulting in $513,635 in additional cost since the 2007 dues increase.
Employee health insurance has in­creased 13.29%, resulting in $262,000 in additional annual cost since 2007.
Inflation has eroded the value of each dollar at a rate of 1.44% per year, result­ing in more than $1 million of additional annual cost since the last dues increase.
With less money coming in at the same time we faced an INCREASED DEMAND FOR SERVICES:
More than 3 million post-9/11 generation veterans have already discharged from service, or will do so soon, increasing the need to provide greater transition assistance services for them.
American Legion outreach through town hall meetings and benefits events has provided vital firsthand advocacy for veterans, along with intelligence to push reforms in the Department of Veterans Affairs, in the midst of its greatest crisis.
Veteran career events – such as job fairs, business workshops and licensing summits – have increased and risen as a priority to better assist post-9/11 generation veterans and their families.
The need to enhance, upgrade and advance American Legion informational and transactional tools has grown dramatically through the digital age, without a commensurate offset in the amount of printed material produced and distributed.
Taken from the American legion webpage

Fish fry
After what appeared to be a quick summer the Fish Fry reopened on Friday Sept. 11. We had an amazing opening day with a steady stream of hungry customers all day. In addition we have also switched from 4oz. cod fillets to 6.0z cod fillets, with no increase in menu price at this time.

We as usual need kitchen help and any time you can spare will be greatly appreciated.
We are looking forward to another great Fish Fry year like we had last year.
On Friday October 9th Forty&Eight will be using our post for their Fish Fry Fund Raiser. However they will not be working in the kitchen frying etc. They will clean off tables etc. in the Bar area and the Dining hall. They will reimburse us for any supplies they use. We will need workers in the kitchen from the Post to do the frying etc.
So even if you are not working that day please come in and help support their fund raiser.
Pete McGauly Fish Fry Chairman .

Bingo
I can’t believe it’s time for another newsletter; this summer has flown by so fast it has my head spinning. Summer bingo went very well I think. We managed to give away $2200 to one lucky winner of the progressive and it was to one of our regulars. During the summer months we have been averaging about 105 players each Saturday.

Our regular bingo players expressed their opinion that they didn’t like the Progressive having no cap. There were several reasons. One if it goes above $1200 the winnings have to be reported to the IRS. Second it brings in a lot of what is called pot chasers when the jackpot get high, some of the regulars won’t even come because of this. So when the Progressive was won in July, our Progressive game was revamped so now it has a cap of $1199. When this was announced at the game following the Progressive being won the whole place cheered. This told us the right decision had been made.

When I took over bingo several months ago we lost a caller, I can’t call and also run the desk. Bob Braun and Syd Staton have done an excellent job taking up the slack, with Doug Hawkins filling it at times. A few weeks ago Susan Sauter agreed to become a caller and I must say she is doing a bang up job.

We have some job openings for our Saturday Night Bingo. The benefits include getting out of the house and spending some time with your fellow Post 400 comrades. The work isn’t hard and requires no physical labor. We have the follow openings.
Bingo callers: This is just what it sounds like you remove the ball from the machine, call the number, and place it in the proper place in the tray. Callers needed 4-6

Event Ticket Sales: This person will either walk around the bingo floor selling event tickets before bingo starts or possibly sitting at the front selling station selling the tickets. This is not a high pressure sales job more like a delivery job were something is delivered and cash is collected. People needed: 4

Pull Tab Sales: This is actually a 2 person position that can be done by one in a pinch. One position collects the money and relays to the console operator how many of which tickets are needed. The other position is the console operator that tells the machine how many tickets to dispense. People needed: 7

Extra Sales: I will group these positions together because they are basically interchangeable. Progressive sheet sales, early bird sheet sales, speedball sheet sales, and supplies. This are all sit down jobs located in the rear of the hall at the sales desk. People needed: 10

Floor Walkers: Are the ones that check to see if when BINGO is called it is good. All you need to do is read the number on the sheet to the caller and they will verify it using the software on the bingo console. They also watch for winners and handle the payout to the winners. People needed: 4.

In an ideal world we would have a group for each Saturday night. Group 1 would work the 1st Saturday, Group 2 would work the 2nd Saturday and so on. If you can’t make it on your night; switch with someone from another group.

Bingo is supporting your post by renting the hall for bingo events each Saturday. This puts $600 a week into the building fund account which helps pay for utilities, insurance, etc. It’s expensive to maintain our building. Our bingo nights also support our Lady’s Auxiliary as they run the kitchen. Speaking of which; the ladies could use our help too. The men do the cooking for them running the fryers and the flat top.

It’s your post too; so how about giving at least one night a month supporting it in its fund raising activities. A big THANKS to all the workers I see each and every Saturday night. I appreciated your help!
Allen ‘Gramps’ Sandifer,Legion Post 400 Bingo Mayor

CHILDREN AND YOUTH
From the Auxiliary

Thanks to everyone who brought in school supplies to “Fill the Bucket”. On July 22, I took the school supplies to KidSmart in Bridgeton; they were amazed at all we collected. Several of our members took an additional van full of school supplies to KidSmart. Remember they need school supplies year round so please continue to bring things in to “Fill the Bucket” to “Fill the KidSmart shelves”.

I spoke to Chris at Every Childs Hope in Overland. They offer programs that work with abused and neglected children and youth who require therapy. The older kids live in independent apartments and are always in need of things to set up a kitchen. They also take care of babies and preschool kids. They would welcome any caps, blankets and scarves. Thanks to several of our members who donated a washer and dryer and bunk beds.
Thanks to everyone who brought in soda tab tops for The Ronald McDonald House. Please continue to bring in tab tops from home. We want to collected tab tops for The
12th Annual Tab Top Pandemonium event on Saturday, May 7th, 2016.
Jackie Sandifer, Children and Youth

From the Scouting Program
While there a many hard-working and dedicated Scouts in the greater St .Louis area, only a handful of them are sponsored by an American Legion program. The Missouri Tenth District, which includes all of St. Louis County, was proud to recognize one of those Scouts and publicly acknowledge him for his hard work and devotion. Gregory “Greesha” Tucker was presented the Venturing Gold Award, for his accomplishments in both Venturing and the American Legion. Mr. Tucker’s efforts were quite noticeable and his devotion was unprecedented in the current Missouri Tenth District Legion scouting program. Mr. Tucker completed all of the requirements and did a good portion of his service work through American Legion Post 400 in Fenton. He planned and implemented the activities as directed, which resulted in a successful logistical performance. This was in addition to volunteering as a worker for other organized service programs, one of which was Scouting-For-Food. While service work is nothing new to Mr. Tucker, he has chosen to work in an industry where he assists others to achieve their potential, just like he did and continues to do. You see, Mr. Tucker is not your average Venturing crew member. He is a high-functioning special needs person, who uses his abilities to help those less fortunate than himself. Currently, Mr. Tucker works for Canterbury Enterprises. This is an Extended Employment Workshop for Adults with Disabilities. Mr. Tucker is an Assistant Production Supervisor that assists the participants in their daily work functions. This is to help them achieve total satisfaction and produce the highest quality of work for their customers, as a truly dedicated work force of individuals with disabilities. Mr. Tucker’s holds a noble position, for an honorable cause. Especially, for someone who works to overcome his challenges, not just for himself, but for others that he helps. For his diligence and hard work, Mr. Tucker was presented the Venturing Gold Award, an award that he worked for and earned, just prior to its discontinuation. It was a monumental task, which he accomplished admirably. To recognize this phenomenal accomplishment, the American Legion Tenth District Commander, Mr. Robert Kaltmeyer presented the award to Mr. Tucker himself before a packed hall at American Legion Post 400. Mr. Tucker was overwhelmingly applauded and congratulated by those present. It was a sight to see for all those in attendance.
Ed Ucinski


From the Editor:
I hope you find this news letter informative.
For all you potential article writers do not overly worry about such things –just get me the article at least three weeks BEFORE the next printing. The next newsletter will be published in January. You can hand articles to me at
any time or email to .
Susan Sauter, member post 400

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