Hornickel Post 379

American Legion News

Wisconsin Legionnaire recognized for VA volunteer efforts

On Jan. 2, 2009, Daniel Jakubezyk became a volunteer representative at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center in Wisconsin thanks to his wife, Bonnie. She made the decision to volunteer, and Jakubezyk said he would join her. Now, 15 years later, Legionnaire Jakubezyk continues to volunteer at the Milwaukee VA and was recognized for his dedicated service to veterans by being awarded The American Legion's Veterans Affairs Volunteer Service (VAVS) Worker of the Year.

American Legion National Commander Daniel J. Seehafer presented Jakubezyk with the award on Feb. 26 during the Legion's Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Commission meeting held in the nation's capital for the organization's 64th Washington Conference.  

"We talk about a servant heart, that's exactly what we're talking about (with Jakubezyk)," Seehafer said to commission members. "It's about the heart, and that's what does separate us from other organizations of who we are. Even though that uniform might be put away, we continue to serve. And it's because of God and Country."

Jakubezyk served in the Air Force during Vietnam and is a 55-year member of The American Legion, with 48 of those years at Post 434 in Oak Creek, Wis. As part of his volunteer efforts at the Milwaukee VA, Jakubezyk provides comfort to veterans at the end of their life through the VA's No Veteran Dies Alone program.

"Volunteering at the VA has been something I have to do, it's in my blood," Jakubezyk said in his acceptance remarks, adding that his wife "has everything to do with it. I count myself as a bit of a history buff and let me tell you, I have had a history lesson like you wouldn't believe by talking to these veterans.

"I'm going to continue (volunteering) as long as the good Lord let's me. I may be getting up there in age but as long as I can make it to the VA, I will still be doing this."

In closing, Jakubezyk said there's two things he has to do – "see my fellow veterans at least once a week" and give blood monthly. He had donated 62 gallons of blood. "It's a good feeling because you know you're helping your fellow human beings."

Seehafer touches on Be the One, claim sharks and military quality of life during Washington Conference

Addressing members of the American Legion Family on the eve of many of them heading to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress, National Commander Daniel Seehafer thanked the contingent for coming to the Legion's Washington Conference to advocate for the nation's veteran, military and their families.

And then he reemphasized that last word.

"I include families because it's so, so important to who we are and what we actually do," Seehafer said. "It's quite common for seriously wounded veterans to say on the battlefield, ‘Tell my family that I love them.' Tell my family. Sometimes, these are their last words.

"And who is more impacted than the family, especially when a veteran makes that tragic decision to take his or her own life? That's why it's our No. 1 mission: to prevent veteran suicide. To yes, Be the One. And so, we have to Be the One for our veteran families, as well as the veterans themselves – especially in their times of crisis."

Seehafer said Be the One, the Legion's veteran suicide prevention program, asked Legionnaires to look closely at whether a fellow veteran may be in crisis, even when the signs aren't always there.

"That's why we must be pro-active, even when things appear to be going well," he said. "You see, veterans often keep their pain bottled-up, and when they do, their families suffer too."

That's why American Legion service officers play such a critical role in Be the One. "Our great American Legion service officers are often the first line of defense when it comes to reaching these veterans and family members," Seehafer said. "They not only work tirelessly to obtain benefits for those who have served, but also for their surviving spouses when their deaths are connected to their military service."

Also related to veterans benefits what Seehafer's call to urge legislation that protect veterans while punishing agencies and businesses that charge veterans to file for their benefits, even when they are not accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"Among our agenda items this year is a call for Congress to fight the sharks," he said. "We are calling for criminal penalties against any company that skirts the VA accreditation process in order to charge veterans and families outrageous fees to process claims and appeals. In fact, it's against the law to engage in these practices, and those who do should be prosecuted."

Seehafer noted the suicide crisis isn't just impacting veterans. "The rates have been high among the active-duty ranks as well," he said. "By improving the military quality of life – that includes barracks, family housing, employment opportunities for spouses, and affordable childcare – we can eliminate some of the top sources of stress that servicemembers and their families face.

"Not only must Congress act on these issues, but The American Legion is playing an active role through our BASE Program (Base Assessment and Servicemember Experience). Think of it as an extension of our highly successful VA&R System Worth Saving program, but this time, it's for the military."

Once a member of the military is ready to hang up his or her uniform, Seehafer said they need to be given the tools and guidance to move smoothly into the civilian world.

"Transition assistance is of paramount importance to military members wondering how to support themselves and their families once they leave service," he said. "We know that feelings of not fitting in, loneliness and isolation are common among those in suicidal crisis. The military must be directed to use every high-tech and data-driven resource possible to ensure separating servicemembers can transition smoothly."

Seehafer also addressed other issues during his address, including:

·       Ensuring the U.S. Coast Guard gets paid in the event of a government shutdown. When budget lapses occur, Coast Guard pay isn't guaranteed because the branch falls under the Department of Homeland Security.

·       Parity for National Guard and reserve members receiving GI Bill benefits for the time that they serve. "Military service is extremely challenging and, at times, we all know it, dangerous," he said. "A day of service should equal a day of service, regardless of who issued the orders."

·       Concurrent receipt. Seehafer said no veteran should have to fund his or her own disability compensation out of their military retirement pensions.

·       Access to health care for military personnel and their families serving overseas.

·       Implementing and overseeing the PACT Act.

·       Access to alternative treatments and therapies for veterans.

·       Allowing general but honorably discharged veterans to use the GI Bill.

·       Protecting the U.S. flag.

Navy veteran named Legion VA Physician of the Year

The American Legion presented its 2023 VA Physician of the Year award to Dr. William Bell, III, on Monday at the Commander's Call held during the Legion's annual Washington Conference. 

Bell is a Navy veteran who left the private practice to serve as a rheumatologist at the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center in Mountain Home, Tenn., where he has been for the past eight years. 

"I am deeply honored and appreciative of this award," Bell said in his acceptance remarks before members of the Legion Family. "I want to accept this award on behalf of my staff, without which I wouldn't be here. And I appreciate the VA for providing me a place to finish out my career in medicine."

When Bell joined the VA as a physician, his mission was to decrease the wait time for patients that had inflammatory arthritis. "We have been successfully able to do that," he said. "(The VA) provided me that opportunity and the people we needed." 

In closing, Bell said that when he came to the VA he was surprised by the number of veterans on staff. "About 75 percent of the providers I work with are all veterans. Hopefully we will all continue to provide you a service that you need and desire."

‘It's right to the heart': Sons, Legion Family lay wreaths to honor veterans

Standing before the granite column representing California at the World War II Memorial, Sons of The American Legion National Vice Commander James Fischer reflected on the veterans in his family.

"I'm here representing my grandfather, my father, my uncle who served in World War I, World War II and the Korean War (respectively), and I have two brothers who served in Desert Storm and my son served in Afghanistan," Fischer said. "… I was born on Memorial Day, and my grandfather was 70. He said I was God's gift to him; he lost his leg in World War I. Then when I got my contractor's license 31 years ago, I got it on Pearl Harbor Day even though I tested in August.

"Everything in my life has been reminders of the importance we have taking care of our veterans."

Sons of The American Legion, Legionnaires and Auxiliary members from across the nation participated in wreath-laying ceremonies around Washington, D.C., on Feb. 25 during the Legion's annual Washington Conference. They were joined by Samsung American Legion scholarship recipients.

It's been a regular event for the SAL, but SAL National Commander Don "JR" Hall reminded participants to not think of the event as routine.

"I hope you didn't come out for any other reason than who you represent," Hall said. "… Think about it as this year, this time, this moment, and make sure that when those wreaths are being laid, you're saluting the service of your family. You're saluting the service of our veterans. You're saluting our flag, and you're saluting the United States of America. That's why we're here."

The opportunity to honor veterans helped bring Detachment of New Hampshire Commander Scott Douglas to the event for the first time.

"This means a lot to me … my father was in World War II and the Korean War, so for me to come here from New Hampshire to Washington and to get to lay a wreath out in his name … it's right to the heart," Douglas said.

The SAL and other Legion Family members laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam, Korean War and World War II memorials at the National Mall.

"You realize how much others have given for what we have," said Marty Widmer, a member of Squadron 262 in Audubon, N.J., and the Camden County SAL chaplain after the wreath-laying at Arlington.

A contingent from Florida also stopped at the Vietnam Women's Memorial to lay a wreath.

"It gives your whole body chills to know all this has happened before you, and having a moment where you can just take a moment, pay your respects … it's kind of overwhelming the way your body feels," said Department of Florida legislative chair Stuart Scott.

For Charles Curtis, a member of Squadron 283 in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and the SAL national legislative commission, the memorials are "breathtaking."

"This one means a lot to me," Curtis said at the World War II Memorial. "Both of my grandfathers served during World War II. One was in the press corps, and he actually met my grandmother in Italy. My other grandfather served in Army intelligence, so we didn't really get to know a lot from him.

"I'm here today representing more than me. I'm representing both of them and thanking them for their service. These monuments are breathtaking and it's unfortunate that not everyone can come here for whatever reason. Being able to be here means so much, I really can't put it into words."

Five Things to Know, Feb. 26, 2024

1.   The U.S. and Britain struck 18 Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday, answering a recent surge in attacks by the Iran-backed militia group on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including a missile strike this past week that set fire to a cargo vessel. According to U.S. officials, American and British fighter jets hit sites in eight locations, targeting missiles, launchers, rockets, drones and air defense systems. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to provide early details of an ongoing military operation.

2.   The Mississippi National Guard paid tribute Saturday to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bryan Andrew Zemek, 36, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Joshua Abbott, 42, who were killed when their AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed during a routine training flight. The crash occurred Friday about 2 p.m. near Booneville, Miss., the Guard said. Booneville is located in the northeast corner of the state near the Alabama-Tennessee state line. "Today is a devastating day for the Mississippi National Guard as we mourn the loss of two of our brave brothers in arms," Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, the adjutant general of Mississippi, said in a statement.

3.   Israel's defense minister vowed Sunday to step up attacks on Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group even if a cease-fire is reached with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah, which has been exchanging fire with Israel throughout the war in Gaza, has said it will halt its nearly daily attacks on Israel if a cease-fire is reached in Gaza. But Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that anyone who thinks a temporary cease-fire for Gaza will also apply to the northern front is "mistaken."

4.   An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force was critically injured Sunday after setting himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he "will no longer be complicit in genocide," a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The man, whose name wasn't immediately released, walked up to the embassy shortly before 1 p.m. and began livestreaming on the video streaming platform Twitch, the person said. Law enforcement officials believe the man started a livestream, set his phone down and then doused himself in accelerant and ignited the flames.

5.   More than 20 European heads of state and government and other Western officials are gathering in a show of unity for Ukraine, signaling to Russia that their support for Kyiv isn't wavering as the full-scale invasion grinds into a third year. French President Emmanuel Macron, hosting the conference Monday in Paris, said he wants to discuss strengthening aid and ways to "give credibility to the fact that Russia cannot win in Ukraine." "We are at a critical moment," Macron said this weekend.

All veterans exposed to toxins and other hazards during military service eligible for VA health care beginning March 5

Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that all veterans who were exposed to toxins and other hazards while serving in the military — at home or abroad — will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care beginning March 5, 2024. This means that all veterans who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, or any other combat zone after 9/11 will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits. Additionally, veterans who never deployed but were exposed to toxins or hazards while training or on active duty in the United States will also be eligible to enroll.

As directed by President Biden, this expansion of VA health care eliminates the phased-in approach called for by the PACT Act — meaning that millions of veterans are becoming eligible for VA health care up to eight years earlier than written into law. This is a critical step forward because veterans who are enrolled in VA health care are proven to have better health outcomes than non-enrolled veterans, and VA hospitals have dramatically outperformed non-VA hospitals in overall quality ratings and patient satisfaction ratings. Additionally, VA health care is often more affordable than non-VA health care for veterans. 

VA encourages all eligible veterans to visit VA.gov/PACT or call 1-800-MYVA411 to learn more and apply for VA health care beginning March 5. Since President Biden signed the PACT Act into law on August 10, 2022, more than 500,000 veterans have enrolled in VA health care.

"If you're a veteran who may have been exposed to toxins or hazards while serving our country, at home or abroad, we want you to come to us for the health care you deserve," said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. "VA is proven to be the best, most affordable health care in America for veterans – and once you're in, you have access for life. So don't wait, enroll starting March 5th."

"Beginning March 5, we're making millions of Veterans eligible for VA health care years earlier than called for by the PACT Act," said VA Under Secretary for Health Shereef Elnahal, M.D. "With this expansion, VA can care for all veterans who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, or any other combat zone after 9/11. We can also care for veterans who never deployed but were exposed to toxins or hazards while training or on active duty here at home – by working with chemicals, pesticides, lead, asbestos, certain paints, nuclear weapons, x-rays, and more. We want to bring all of these veterans to VA for the care they've earned and deserve."

In addition to expanding access to VA care, this decision makes it quicker and easier for millions of veterans to enroll. Many veterans believe they must apply to receive VA disability compensation benefits to become eligible for VA health care, but this is not correct. With this expansion and other authorities, millions of eligible veterans can enroll directly in VA care – without any need to first apply for VA benefits.

This expansion of care covers Vietnam veterans, Gulf War veterans, Iraq War veterans, Afghanistan War veterans, veterans who deployed in support of contingency operations for the Global War on Terror (Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom's Sentinel, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Inherent Resolve, and Resolute Support Mission), and more.

This expansion also covers many veterans who never deployed as a part of a conflict but were exposed to toxins or hazards while serving in the U.S. Specifically, under this expansion of care, any veteran who participated in a toxic exposure risk activity (TERA) — at home or abroad – is eligible for VA health care. VA has determined that veterans who were exposed to one or more of the following hazards or conditions during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training participated in a TERA:air pollutants (burn pits, sand, dust, particulates, oil well fires, sulfur fires);chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, depleted uranium with embedded shrapnel, contaminated water); occupational hazards (asbestos, industrial solvents, lead, paints including chemical agent resistant coating, firefighting foams); radiation (nuclear weapons handling, maintenance and detonation, radioactive material, calibration and measurement sources, X-rays, radiation from military occupational exposure); warfare agents (nerve agents, chemical and biological weapons); and more. VA will use all available information to determine if veterans participated in a TERA, including military records and service connection.

For more information about how the PACT Act is helping veterans and their survivors, visit VA's PACT Act Dashboard. To apply for care or benefits today, visit VA.gov/PACT or call 1-800-MYVA411. More information on eligibility can be found at VA.gov/PACT.

Annual stand down continue to provide support for Iowa veterans

For at least 10 years, American Legion Post 26's Legion Family in Davenport, Iowa, has hosted an annual veterans stand down to bring valuable services and assistance to the homeless and at at-need veterans in its community.

The most recent such event took place Feb. 15, when Post 26 collaborated with Bridging the Gap, a Davenport-based nonprofit that puts such veterans in contact with agencies and organizations that can provide them support. Around 30 veterans attended the event this year.

Post 26 Commander Ed Hildebrand said it's important to provide such an event because some veterans who leave the military have no idea what is available to them – and some of those then fall into the cracks and end up homeless.

"There's non-communication when some of these guys come out of the service," Hildebrand said. "They're not told where to go, and before you know it they're homeless. We're trying to prevent that. That's the whole thing."

The stand down brings multiple government entities and other services, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and VA Vet Centers reps, the Social Security Administration, the Red Cross and Salvation Army, housing and employment assistance, and legal aid.

"We want to be able to get them work so they can get themselves an apartment," Hildebrand said. "The American Legion (and other veterans service organizations) are here to do one thing: that's serve the veterans, especially homeless veterans. Serve these guys and show the veterans that someone out there cares. That someone out there is trying to bring a better life to them. That's what it is."

Veterans who attended also were given food and a clothing bag that included coats, shirts, underwear and socks. Auxiliary Unit 26 served the food during the event.

And this year, two homeless veterans who attended were able to get housing through VA, while another veteran was able to get a service connection and now will be receiving a monthly VA benefits payment.

"We're showing we're here to help veterans. We're here to help the families of veterans," Hildebrand said. "We do this because that's what we do. The whole thing is showing these veterans that someone cares. Help those homeless vets so they have a place of their own or can share a house with somebody. That's what this is all about. We tell them, ‘You've got a friend here.'"

CBD advocate asks for Legion support with legislation to create FDA regulation

Paige Figi first realized the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) when she was trying to find a treatment to address Dravet Syndrome, which was causing her young daughter to suffer from hours-long seizures throughout the day. After the treatments began, her daughter's seizures dropped to less than three per month, allowing her to live a normal life.

And that prompted Figi to push to legalize the medical use of CBD nationwide through the founding of the nonprofit Coalition for Access Now. With that having been accomplished, Figi now is pushing for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate CBD as a dietary supplement – and she'd like members of The American Legion to assist her efforts.

Figi spoke during the Legion's TBI/PTSD/Suicide Prevention Committee meeting Feb. 28 during the organization's annual Washington Conference. She's hoping for, by the spring, passage of H.R. 1629, the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2023; and S. 2451, the Hemp Act and Consumer Safety Act. She said the 45 million users of CBD – including veterans – deserve to feel confident in the product they're using.

"It needs to be regulated as a dietary supplement by the FDA," Figi said. "At the very basic what that does is we need third-party testing. We need to test what's in there. And you need labeling, so we have confidence and accuracy. That's at the base of what the dietary supplement regulation would do.

"You can't responsively legalize something and expect the market to be responsible and do the right thing and grow this and sell these products perfectly."

Figi said getting hemp and CBD legalized through a 2018 agricultural law was the hard part. "But they never got that second part," she said. "So, since 2018, it's been the wild west. It's been this unregulated marketplace. It's the last mile. The big, hard part was legalizing CBD. Every day, 45 million Americans wake up and take CBD. But we don't know what they're taking, because the FDA has not acknowledged that they need to be regulating this."

Figi said the necessary legislation has no organized opposition. "We are just facing inaction … because everyone has access. We've lost our urgency," she said. "The bill I'm working on are that last piece. This is a very, very simple, doable, actionable thing. What I need help with is reaching out to these legislators who are for the bill. They just need to hear from their constituents."

In the time since CBD was legalized and now, Figi said states are now starting to add new restrictions to its use, which now also is being taken recreationally after being synthetically altered.

"That industry is ruining the whole reputation of this amazing medical product," Figi said. "Some states are rolling back their laws. They're working very hastily. It's kind of frightening.

"They're rolling back CBD laws that these veterans and these parents fought very hard for access to CBD. They're throwing the CBD into these (synthetic) things. They're using a sledgehammer and getting rid of all of it out of fear."

Figi is afraid that without FDA regulation, those currently using CBD legally in their states will be forced to break the law or move to continue using it. "This is my hill that'll I'll die on, this issue," she said. "And that's why I'm here to talk to you about."

She said veterans are probably the largest users of CBD. "We should care to support their use of it," Figi said. "We should care what they're taking, and we should show them we care … by getting this done. If we don't do this, this health product is going away.

"If you support your community using these products, if you support trying to put another tool in the toolbox that's safe, non-intoxicating … let's support the people that are saying it's successful. And let's show them that by getting this bill done."

The committee also heard from Paul Bertrand, National Capital Region Training and Delivery Manager for LivingWorks Education USA. For more than 40 years, LivingWorks has delivered suicide prevention and intervention training to communities, organizations, businesses, active-duty military and first responders.

Bertrand likened suicide prevention training to teaching CPR in that you don't have to be a doctor to either learn or perform CPR. "When you have a heart attack here, or at home, wherever you are, do you need a cardiac surgeon with you right there?" he said. "Absolutely not. But what you do need is someone who is trained in CPR. We're training people in that first step."

LivingWorks provides three different types of suicide prevention training: the two-day ASIST course, the four-hour safeTALK course and Start, an online course. All three have overlapping portions.

"We teach people that people often do give off invitations to get involved and invitations that they need help," Bertrand said. "People aren't going to walk right up to you and tell you, ‘I'm thinking of suicide.'

"But what they do, very often more than not, is give off invitations that something big is going on, and they could use a little help right now. We specifically teach people to recognize those invitations. How to explore those invitations. What to say. How to specifically ask."

Bertrand suggested American Legion departments and posts look into hosting training sessions so they can reach members who might be at risk but aren't ready to talk about it.

"If they want to be the one, they have to know how to do it," he said. "Veterans … oftentimes they're not really comfortable seeking help. They want to be able to handle everything themselves. (They) are very good at compartmentalizing, not letting people in and to see what is really going on."

The American Legion Department of Virginia is conducting LivingWorks training at both the state and post level. Bertrand said grants are available to help Legion posts and departments host training sessions; Bertrand said LivingWorks would help write the grant for the Legion, which they could then submit.

Also addressing the committee from Columbia University professor emerita Dr. Jean Stellman, who is teamed with her husband and The American Legion to conduct a ground-breaking study linking Vietnam War veterans' illnesses to Agent Orange sprayed by the U.S. military as an herbicide and defoliant.

Stellman shared results from a study she began in 1984 tracking a group of Vietnam veterans' health at different stages in the past 40 years – what the data said about PTSD in those veterans.

Stellman noted that her study has shown that "the more combat you were exposed to, the more (PTSD) symptoms you were you going to have, and this was going to last, on average, your whole life. There is a very, very, very high correlation between combat exposure and the PTSD symptoms."

She noted that there is a relationship between PTSD and metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. "When we talk about PTSD, we are also talking, we believe, about chronic health effects," Stellman said.

But Stellman also noted that social support, such as through The American Legion's Be the One program, can make a difference. She shared a graphic that showed veterans with PTSD who've received some form of social support are significantly different from those who did not.

"Any way that you look at it, these programs can have an important effect," she said. "You have had the wherewithal to be a part of this organization, and that itself is social support."

7 ways to Be the One during March

The American Legion's Be the One mission encourages American Legion Family members, veterans, servicemembers and others to act when they believe a veteran is at risk of suicide. It's a mission to help destigmatize the need to ask for help. It's a mission to save the lives of veterans.

The following are seven ways you can Be the One during the month of March.

-          Wear a Be the One item on March 1 – and the first of every month – to show your commitment to reducing the stigma around mental health issues among veterans and servicemembers. And to start a conversation about what Be the One is and how to save the life of a veteran. Need Be the One gear? You can purchase a Be the One shirt or other merchandise through American Legion Emblem Sales.  

-          Read the new Be the One newsletter that kicks off March 1 and share it with others. The Be the One e-newsletter will be distributed to those subscribed to the Online Update.  Need to sign up? You can easily do so by visiting legion.org/newsletters and click on Online Update to subscribe.

-          Download and listen to the next Be the One podcast episode, out March 1. You also can listen to past episodes at betheone.org. Don't miss when this episode drops, and all future Be the One podcast episodes, by subscribing to the American Legion's Tango Alpha newsletter at legion.org/newsletters.

-          Create a Be the One event at your post, perhaps timed with the Legion's 105th birthday on March 15, and invite the community. There are many resources available to promote Be the One at this web page. These resources include Be the One posters, customizable brochures, a banner, wallet cards and more.

-          Conduct VA S.A.V.E. suicide prevention training at your post for Legion Family and community members. Download this information sheet to help you get started.

-          Host an INDYCAR watch party at your post March 10 – the first race of the season in St. Petersburg, Fla., where INDYCAR rookie Linus Lundqvist is behind the wheel of the No. 8 American Legion Honda, which will prominently feature The American Legion and Be the One branding on its livery. Visit betheone.org/resources for tips to hosting a watch party.

-          Share your Be the One post activities and stories, including your support for Be the One on the first of every month, on Legiontown under the Be the One category.

Share Be the One by hosting an INDYCAR watch party at your post

With the exposure that Be the One has received through The American Legion's sponsorship of Chip Ganassi Racing's American Legion Honda, the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES is a perfect opportunity to bring Be the One into your post – and your community – by hosting an INDYCAR watch party.

This season, INDYCAR rookie Linus Lundqvist is behind the wheel of the No. 8 Honda – which prominently features The American Legion and Be the One branding on its livery – for most of the 2024 season. And defending INDYCAR SERIES champion Alex Palou also will carry American Legion branding on his No. 10 DHL Honda, so there will be plenty of opportunities to invite fellow American Legion Family members and other racing enthusiasts to the post and cheer on the American Legion drivers.

Once there, they can relax and enjoy watching the race – while also learning more about Be the One. It's an opportunity to share information about the Legion's veteran suicide prevention mission in a relaxed social setting.

We've put together some tips for hosting an INDYCAR watch party at your post, including choosing a race from the 2024 INDYCAR SERIES, links to resources and a sample press release to promote the event, and some suggested talking points about why the Be the One mission is so important.

And remember, we've created additional resources to assist your post's American Legion Family efforts to promote be the one. You can find those here

Whatever the format of your Be the One event, we want to know about it. Please share your stories and photos at www.legiontown.org under the Be the One category.