The American Legion, Department of Maryland
WHO WE ARE – WHAT WE DO
WHO WE ARE:
The American Legion is a 501 (c) 19 Not for Profit, Community Based, Non-Partisan, Patriotic, Veterans Service Organization that was founded in March of 1919 and Chartered by the United States Congress in September of 1919.
We are comprised of some 14,000 American Legion Posts located in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, France, Mexico, the Philippines and Puerto Rico; hence, the term “Department”, rather than “State”, is used as a more descriptive term.
In The American Legion, Department of Maryland we have a total of 139 active American Legion Posts located within each of the 23 Counties and in Baltimore City, with a Post presence in virtually every community of the State. In both membership and number of Posts, we are by far the largest veteran’s service organization in Maryland.
For more than 90 years, The American Legion had stood on four great pillars or principles: (1) Taking care of veterans and their families; (2) Supporting a strong national and domestic security posture for America and its Allies, including adequate staffing and funding for the U.S. Departments of Defense, Labor, Homeland Security, State and Veterans Affairs; (3) Educating and caring for our Children and Youth; and (4) Participating in and furthering Americanism and patriotic holidays, such as, but not limited to Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day and Flag Day. Our advocacy revolves around these four pillars, and we remain non-partisan in the furtherance of our mission.
Our American Legion Family spans more than 100,000 households, the members of which live, work, purchase goods and service, pay taxes and vote in the State of Maryland…all of which further contributes to the economic well-being within their respective communities, counties, Baltimore City, and the State of Maryland.
WHAT WE DO:
The American Legion of Maryland (Posts, Squadrons, Auxiliary and Headquarters offices) contributes materially to the economic well-being of the State of Maryland by employing more than 1,300 tax-paying employees living in the state of Maryland. Our employee payroll is estimated to exceed $29,000,000 annually.
During the past year, our Charitable Contributions to needy families, churches, government programs supporting the four pillars, and a host of other state recognized not-for profit charitable organizations exceeded $4 million, and these donations and grants continue year after year. In addition, our members make cash and in-kind donations to and contribute tens of thousands of volunteer man-hours each year to many worthy charitable causes, including Special Olympics, VA Medical Centers and Clinics, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Other Maryland Military Treatment Facilities and Out-Patient Clinics, Fisher Houses, Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Children’s Miracle Network, Maryland State Veterans Cemeteries and the Charlotte Hall Maryland State Veterans Home… a few examples worthy of your attention follows:
The American Legion is the largest identifiable Blood Donor organization in America and in Maryland. For 2014, The American legion Family in Maryland reported 3,142 pints of blood collected by our Legion Family during sponsored blood drives.
The American Legion is the largest sponsor and supporter of Boy and Girl Scout Troops in America and in Maryland.
In Maryland, The American Legion scholarship donations to deserving college and pre-college level students ranks second to none. Total scholarships given in 2014 exceeded $250,000.
The Department Service Office annually assists and represents over 1,000 Veterans with VA Benefits paperwork, and is responsible for nearly $8,000,000 in awards for various VA benefits.
The Maryland American Legion owns, operates and maintains two Youth Camps, one on the Frederick-Washington County line and the other in Prince George’s County. These camps including all facilities thereat are available for one-day or longer (but not to exceed a period contrary to established rules and regulations of each camp) for use by youth groups, churches, and others on a first come-first served basis, at minimal cost. These youth camps allow over 6,000 Maryland youth and many more Marylanders to enjoy the outdoors and learn values that a last lifetime.
Many Maryland American Legion Posts are available during emergencies for use as National and Local Civil Defense Shelters, Disaster Relief and Homeland Security Training Facilities and to temporarily shelter, feed and cloth families during natural and/or man-made disasters and riots. Located in every County and in most communities around the State they are an available resource in time of need.
Maryland American Legion Youth Programs include: (1) Boys and Girls State Programs which consist of a one-week concentrated study of the U. S. Constitution and an intense interactive learning experience pertaining to the legislative process and operations of local, state and national governmental entities; (2) American Legion Baseball; (3) American Legion Oratorical Contests, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and college scholarship awards. We are leaders in every aspect of community involvement.
Under the Legion’s Worldwide Family Support Network we provide both labor and financial support to spouses and family members left behind while the military service-member is deployed in harms way. Typical support includes lawn maintenance (shoveling snow, mowing grass, trimming shrubbery), making minor household repairs, providing free transportation and drivers, purchasing needed clothing and food and helping with emergency financial problems.
The Department of Maryland Heroes to Hometown/Wounded Warrior fund has provided grants totaling over $200,000 for Veterans of the current conflicts struggling with transition or in need in other areas including adaptive technologies. The goal of this fund is to quickly assess the needs and provide assistance, and we have an impact throughout the State. This program is completely funded by donation from the Legion Family and a few supporters.
Department of MD, Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission annually makes donation of nearly $30,000,mostly to Veteran Affairs facilities to support Veteran needs. The total amount of donation to VA by MD American Legion Family exceeds $1,000,000 annually. Annual volunteer service to VA includes thousands of hours in facilities around MD.
The Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) for needy children of Veterans, operated by The American Legion, provides aid for areas of basic needs to Veteran families with children in the household. Grants in Maryland vary depending upon the level of need and number received.
“Get Out The Vote” has been a major program at all levels (National, Department/State and Post/Community) of The American Legion since our very beginning in 1919. By Congressional Charter we are non-partisan, we do not endorse, raise money for or give preference to any person seeking public office; however, we do strongly lobby elected officials, at all levels (city, county, state and national), to support and vote for a wide range of LEGISLATIVE ISSUES germane to the Aims and Purposes for which The American Legion was founded.
Retired military personnel are moving out of Maryland and relocating over the border in States that offer Retired pay tax exemption. This causes the loss of Income Tax revenue due to the taxes on the second incomes benefitting the bordering States. It is imperative that the Legislature and the Governor support and continue the Sales Tax Exemption for Non-Profit Organizations, and to support raising the Tax Reductions for all Military Retiree Residents in the coming years until military retired pay is completely exempt for State Income Taxation.
ANALYSIS OF MARYLAND’S VETERAN POPULATION
(Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - as of 9/30/2014)
Total: 437,762 Wartime: 330,283 Peacetime: 107,480
World War II: 19,225 Korean Conflict: 30,846 Vietnam Era: 127,455
Gulf War: 166,645 Male: 380,136 Female: 57,627
WAR ON TERRIORISTS
(Source: U.S. Department of Defense as of 1 February 2015)
Killed - 11 SEPTEMBER 2001
World Trade Center 2,977 (excludes 19 hijackers)
Pentagon 125 + 64 Airline Passengers; Shanksville, PA 59
OIF: Killed in Action 3,482; Non-Hostile 930; Wounded in Action 31,949
OND: Killed in Action 38; Non-Hostile 28; Wounded in Action 295
OIR: Non-Hostile 3
OEF: Killed in Action 1,844; Non-Hostile 508; Wounded in Action 20,067
U.S. Homeless Veterans number 49,933 on any given night (as of January 2014, a drop of 33% since 2011); Nearly 1.4 million Veterans are at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
Veteran suicide rates are alarmingly high; Stress of the constant deployments and access to quality mental health services are major causes of this tragic toll. With transition difficulties including financial and employment concerns the younger Veterans need our support. However, many do not realize Veterans over the age of 50 make up nearly 70% of Veterans committing suicide (Source: VA study ). The issue is complicated, but with the seriousness of the situation it deserves attention at the local, State, and Federal levels.