Dear Legionnaires, Legion Family, neighbors, and friends,
It is with gladness and gratitude I write to you as we conclude the 2020-2021 Legion Year. Heading into this weekend, our new Department Commander and leadership team assume their respective roles during the American Legion Department of New Jersey’s annual convention. Please keep them and their labors on behalf of all in your meditations, prayers, and thoughts. Please do the same for us locally, too, as Weehawken American Legion Post 18 anticipates its own efforts and transitions in the days ahead.
I am moving onward to work statewide, alongside Department leaders and community partners, on new opportunities for our brethren-in-arms, as well as other projects in the greater NYC area’s veterans space. I remain grateful for the kindnesses extended to me by so many during my year in command and past four years as a Post 18 officer. Thanks to you, I take with me many warm memories: bringing back local naturalization programs, hosting our area’s first Mental Health Day and Women’s Wellness Day, reestablishing memorial ceremonies, and, most importantly, time spent with friends.
Structurally, I am proud to report I leave Post 18 with several new capacity-building platforms through which to sustain its efforts. In the past year, Post 18 launched a website, secured a 12-month donation of services and support from Zoom, reestablished monthly meetings, created email accounts to ensure continuity of records and correspondence, and pursued accountability processes for institutional transparency. My hope is that these professional activities and resources position Post 18 for success.
This past year, we collected and delivered food, wheelchairs, and other critical items to senior, disabled, and quarantined veterans and neighbors, such that Post 18 was commended by our national body in its report on the American Legion’s impact countrywide throughout the pandemic. We hosted arts and crafts days for children with disabilities, during which children created cards for veterans in hospice and National Guard personnel at vaccine sites. Our summer blood drive was one of our community partner’s most successful in the north Hudson area. This community-centric work ennobles and sustains us all.
Civically, I am proud to report that Post 18 helped 1,000+ residents get on the path to being registered voters. Partnering with local media, Legionnaires participated in a new “Veterans: Leading the Way” video series, which also brought leaders from throughout the region to speak on how best to care for veterans and military families. Most importantly, we honored our dead and comforted their loved ones: Post 18 conducted ceremonies across four municipalities for Memorial Day and Veterans Day 2020, resourced throughout the pandemic funeral arrangements for our fallen and aftercare for their families, and hosted vigils like the one we held to honor U.S. Soldier Vanessa Guillen in the wake of her passing.
Work remains to secure Post 18 as a fully independent, sustainable presence in its neighborhood. Such requires collaboration and a commitment to our Four Pillars. The latter, more than anything, defines and uplifts our organization. I pray for the incoming leadership team and their success, and I invite you to do the same. The work continues. Thank you for sharing in it. May we be blessed in our labors together!
Troy R. Mack
Weehawken American Legion Post 18