Submitted by: Frances Arroyo
First, thank you Jean, for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me.
Q. Jean, when and where did you serve?
JW. I served in the US Army 1969-1971. My basic and AIT was at Ft. McClellan Alabama and I was stationed at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina where I was a personnel specialist assigned to an overseas replacement station.
Q. I thank your family for your service to our country. How did you get involved in the American Legion? How long have you been involved?
JW. I have been involved with the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) for 33 years and the American Legion for 30 years. My husband, Jerry asked me to go with him one night. He was a new member. At that time, the Legion wasn't taking any new members, but I did join the Auxiliary.
Q. How do you see the American Legion evolving?
JW. The Legion is more welcoming of all veterans regardless of sex, color or religion. The Armed Forces is made up of 25 % females; the Legion is working hard to recruit younger veterans and more female veterans.
Q. What is the one thing you would like to see happen in the future that is specific to the American Legion?
JW. I would love to see our Legion grow in membership. The eligible veteran is out there we just need to find them. When we recruit new members, we need to ensure that we keep their membership and remember why we need every member. Everyone should feel welcomed, needed and appreciated by us.
Q. What would you say to potential men and women veterans to encourage them to be a member of the American Legion Family?
JW. I am glad you asked. When I meet a fellow veteran, I thank them for their service and ask, “What American Legion do you belong to?” There are times that I had to share that the American Legion wrote the GI Bill of Rights. I tell them the Legion is involved in programs like helping our veterans buy homes under the GI Bill. I explain the clout used to lobby Congress for veteran benefits and rights. At the core, I want them to know that we welcome them and their family into our American Legion family; the American Legion Auxiliary; Sons of the American Legion and the American Legion Riders. I honestly want them to know that the American Legion is here to help all veterans yesterday, today and tomorrow. I end with: “Will you join me in standing for all veterans and their families?”
About the author:
Frances Arroyo - American Legion Auxiliary Historian (unit 199) Department of Ohio - Yeager Benson Post