Legion state commander visits local posts

LAKE LINDEN – American Legion State Commander Thomas Brown visited Lake Linden as part of the annual tour of the Upper Peninsula Wednesday, commending the post on its high membership numbers.

Brown and a retinue of state and Upper Peninsula Legion officials visited Post 90 Wednesday night for the traditional dinner in their honor.

The Legion Auxiliary hit a milestone this year, becoming only the second group in the state to reach 100 percent membership.

The Legion post was at 81 percent membership – which went up to 88 percent as Senior Vice Commander Ron Schmitt handed off 16 new membership forms.

“You always have to fight for that last 10 percent,” he said.

Post Commander Dan Judnich said the post’s Sons of the American Legion chapter has also grown tremendously in the past two years, now boasting more than 40 members.

Brown’s project for the year is Fisher House, which provides free temporary housing for families of veterans in military hospitals. None of the houses exist in Michigan yet, but Brown is hoping to get one in the Detroit area.

“Just having a room even is pretty hard sometimes,” he said.

The Legion will also be assigning a full-time service officer to the U.P., Brown said. While he doesn’t know if the funding will exist after September, he said, “we’ll get service officers up here.”

Brown touted progress scholarships connected to Legion activities, including Boys State, Girls State and Legion baseball. He encouraged people to go the Legion’s website at michalaux.org.

“If you don’t have a computer, find somebody that’s got one,” he said. “You can go there, download it and maybe get it into your schools.”

State Auxiliary President Mary Anne Yuncker’s project is “The Woman Veteran,” addressing specific needs such as obstetricians and female-specific forms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sons of the American Legion President Rodney Tolbert said their project this year will be addressing the issue of homeless veterans.

“In weather like we’ve got now, it’s a shame to have them cold and hungry,” he said.