Lynbrook American Legion Post 335, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, has begun a recruitment drive to bring more veterans into the post.
Like fellow American Legion organizations, Post 335 was formed to help fellow veterans and contributes to local youth programs and other organizations in the community.
Post 335, founded in 1919, was one of the original 16 posts formed in Nassau County. There are now 52 posts in the county. The American Legion was organized in Paris, France in June 1919 after the end of World War I. It was chartered by Congress that September. American Legion membership was for veterans who served during specifically declared wars from World War 1 to the present wars in the Middle East.
The Legion now has more than two million members in 13,000 posts in the U.S. and in France, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Philippines, and is the largest veterans organization in the United States. It is also one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the country and helped form the Veterans Administration.
Although Post 335 was the leading post in Nassau for percentage of paid membership in 2018, its new recruitment effort is aimed at getting more resident veterans to join. There are now 53 members in the post, which is one of the smallest in the county. Of the 53 paid members, only about half are active due to age or living out of the area. Back in the 1920s and ‘30s, Lynbrook had 250 members.
On July 30, President Donald Trump signed the Legion Act, which was approved by Congress and permits all veterans who served from 1941 to present to join the American Legion. Cold War veterans are also now eligible to join.
Lynbrook’s new recruitment effort is using a poster that depicts Uncle Sam in American Legion dress with the saying, “I want you veteran,” similar to the World War II posters commonly used to recruit soldiers in the 1940s at the height of World War II.
“I want you veteran … to join the Lynbrook American Legion Post 335,” the poster reads. “Be part of a team helping both your fellow veterans as well as your community.”
The “Uncle Sam Legionnaire” recruitment effort was the idea of Steve Grogan, the Lynbrook post’s historian and head of its public relations, and the artwork was created by Bill Marinaccio, the post adjutant and membership chairman.
Marinaccio’s phone number, (516) 599-4877, appears on the bottom of the poster as the contact person. The posters will be placed in store windows in Village of Lynbrook businesses.
The Lynbrook post is seeking to get veterans who live in Lynbrook and have yet to join a veterans organization, as well as veterans who may be paying dues to the New York state’s Post 1 in Albany. Most veterans joined Post 1 while in the service or shortly after being discharged. There are about 40 Lynbrook veterans who presently pay their dues to Albany.
“Why not transfer to your hometown post where your dues will help those in your own community and local veterans?” said Lynbrook Post 335 Commander Hank Speicher about the Post 1 veterans.
Joining Post 335 for the first time, or switching from Post 1, is a simple process. A veteran can call Marinaccio, who will facilitate the process.
“As our World War II veterans age and we lose more and more members each year, we are reaching out to those Korean, Vietnam, Cold War and even younger Iraq/Afghanistan veterans to join,” Grogan said. “A veteran should always be proud of his or her service, so why not participate and get to know your fellow veterans here in Lynbrook while proudly wearing the colors of Lynbrook’s American Legion Post 335?”
Lynbrook’s post regularly participates in various community activities, including Eagle Scout and Girl Scout Gold Award ceremonies, Flag Day, Patriots Weekend, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and also sponsors a Lynbrook Little League team. The post’s color guard is used at many functions and ceremonies.
Post 335 also contributes and volunteers time to veterans hospitals and homes in Northport, Va., St Albans, Queens, and Stony Brook, as well as supporting the Lynbrook Fire Department’s annual wounded warrior fundraiser.
“Joining Post 335 presents an opportunity to make new acquaintances with those like yourself who answered the call, and to be part of an organization greater than one’s self,” Marinaccio said. “Remember, it is not the price you pay to belong, but the price you paid to be eligible to belong.”
Lynbrook Post 335 meets the first Thursday of each month, except for July and August, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, on Merrick Road at Vincent Avenue in Lynbrook. Meetings are usually at 3:30 p.m., but occasionally they are moved to 7 p.m. to accommodate those members still working and unavailable to attend in the afternoon.