GALION — Have you served your country, and were honorably discharged?
You can now be a member of the American Legion.
The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. The focus of this group was — and still is — service to veterans, servicemembers and communities. As the establishment is under public law, Congress has also controlled who is eligible to be a member. And that eligibility was defined by national crisis or conflict.
On Feb. 14, 2019, the United States Senate introduced Senate Resolution 504, which proposed to expand membership eligibility to any honorably discharged person who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces, from December 7, 1941 forward.
That resolution also defined Armed Forces members still serving as eligible, also. This resolution proposed to amend Title 36 of the United States Code.
This bipartisan effort passed the U.S .House of Representatives on July 23 and the U.S. Senate on July 29, 2019. It was signed into law — Public Law 116.35 — by President Donald Trump on July 30, 2019. Nationally, the first member to be accepted under this law was a Marine from the Midwest who was granted Legion membership shortly after the president signed the bill.
So, what does all this mean?
If anyone served on Dec. 7, 1941 and after, was honorably discharged, or is still serving, they may now apply for Legion membership under the “Legion Law.”
“We would hope they would apply to our local Post, Scarbrough Post 243, 118 S. Market Street,” said Mike Mateer, a member of Scarbrough Post 243.
Call the Legion at 419-468-1208 for information.
“Scarbrough Post 243 has much to offer those who want to help the community,” Mateer said. “We sponsor Boy Scout Troop 7304, a Support Our Troops Organization, and the Galion-Crestline Veteran Military Funeral Detail.
“We are both assisting and sponsoring the Grandparents as Parents Organization, which assists, teaches and helps support those grandparents, or great grandparents, who have found themselves in parenting situations.
“We were named Organization of the Year in 2019 for Galion. We provide a Legion Color Guard, offer what many say are the best pool tables in Galion, and will soon offer darts for the membership. And we continue to donate tens of thousands of dollars back to Galion and the needs of the community annually. We directly partner with the Galion Community Foundation in much of our charitable work.”
Mateer added that the Scarbrough Post 243 also hosts many events that are open to the public.
On Wednesday nights, the Daily Grub is open from 4:30-6:30 p.m. with wonderful meals for the public. Each Thursday, the Legion conducts public Bingo, with routine payouts totaling between $7,000 and $9,000 … depending on attendance. The doors for Bingo open at 4 p.m., with the official games beginning at 630 p.m. From September to May, the Legion offers Friday Fish Frys from 5-7 p.m., approximately every other week. And finally, the Legion’s newly-renovated hall is available for rent at very reasonable prices. It will seat up to 170 people.
Scarbrough Post 243 also offers a canteen area to members who desire it. Again, for For more information, please after 10 a.m Monday through Saturday. The number is 419-468-1208.