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American Legion Morris County - New Jersey

Commanders Monthly Message

 

Morris County 100th Anniversary Coin 

 

SOLD OUT!

 

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the American Legion and 100 years of the American Legion in Morris County - a coin was designed for the occasion (see below). The coin is 2.25" and comes with a presentation box.

Available beginning on May 11th at the Morris County Convention for a donation of $25.00 - proceeds will support the County Commander's Project (2019-2020)

 

April 2019

Morris County - Greetings!

After the last DEC Meeting in Trenton, the last one of Commander Miller’s term, a number of key items emerged from the sessions.  In the coming year Morris County will plan membership revitalizations – likely 2 of these in different parts of the County. This is an all hands on deck event – we will work together to benefit all! We learned that the Morris County Stand Down will not occur – no explanation. We will look into this and if the American Legion can make a difference in this happening or not - we will do our part to make it so. An interesting note – the Department received a check for $115,000 as a return on NJ members returning those LIT insurance cards. Finally there was a Department Scholarship awarded to a student from Post 344 – let’s get more to apply from our County next year!

I was able to attend the Testimonial Dinner’s for Department Commander Miller and Department Auxiliary President Fran Derin – good times and very well attended!

By now every Post should have received notification of a Financial Audit by the County. Thank you to the Post who started to send their information back for review. Bottom line this is an important step to assess the overall health of our County. If you have questions feel free to contact me.

I will take less of this message to emphasize our drive to finish strong with our membership renewals! Endeavor to sign up at least ONE new member! This can be done.

Get your reports in (Consolidated Post and Officer Reports) – again we can and will achieve “NO ZEROES!” Please don’t hesitate to request assistance we can help fill and submit these reports – it is easy and EVERY POST has something to report.

We just concluded the 2019 NJ American Legion Leadership College. I was not sure of the number of attendees from Morris County prior to the start of Legion College – WOW! We had 24 Legionnaires attend from Morris County representing the following Posts – 43, 59, 91, 154, 249, 279, 344, 390, and 423. I commend all who attended! Legion College is a great opportunity to learn and to meet Legionnaires from across NJ. It is never too late to attend – there were 30 and 40 year members who were there for the very first time! Nor is it never too early to attend – there were attendees with only a few months as a Legionnaire!

Thanks to Post 342 for hosting the County Meeting (Commander Alcock) – and to Post 59 (Commander Viola) for providing the excellent food and the cake. This was a great example of Posts working together!

Upcoming meetings – The next county meeting is the County Convention on Saturday, May 11th at Post 91 (Wharton). Registration starts at 9:00am, followed by the Convention at 10:00am. Check your delegate count! We will have some great guests and do some presentations! There will be some surprises as well.

We have received a number of invitations to support Post Installations. We are honored to support Posts in the installation of their incoming officers. Please reach out and send a letter to the County Adjutant if you would like the County to support your installation.

After that we will be at the Department Convention in June. Pay attention to the Convention flyers on Delegates, Women Veterans, and the GI Bill Exhibit – if you don’t have this info let us know, we can provide it!

//Signed//

Amery Vasso

Morris County Commander


March 2019

Happy Birthday!

We just concluded our visit to Morris County by the Department Commander Ray Miller, ANEC Berley Hanna and the Department Team. The timing was excellent as we were able to celebrate the 100th Birthday of the American Legion at our meeting! Not only did we have the Department Commander at the meeting, we also had in attendance Auxiliary President Fran Derrin and SAL Detachment Commander Jeff Hicks. To top it all off Morris County Auxiliary President Ellie Zaleski joined us with DEC’s from Sussex and Warren Counties; County Commanders from Essex, Sussex and Warren Counties; and several Past Department Commanders. We were certainly honored by having our Legion family leadership visit our County.

Bottom line is that we are a County on the rise. This statement is reinforced by the fact that we have pushed hard on membership, we are now at 91% and in 5th place, and that for 2019 we doubled the amount we contributed last year to the Department Commander’s project. Congratulations to our County Posts! We will not rest on our laurels, we CAN hit 100% for membership, and there are certainly a few more Posts that can contribute to the Commander’s Project. As you know the theme is “NO ZEROES!”

There are a numerous reports (Hospital, Consolidated Post, and Officer Reports) coming due in April and after elections – again we can and will achieve “NO ZEROES!” Please don’t hesitate to request assistance we can help fill and submit these reports – it is easy and EVERY POST has something to report.

I also attended the second Morris County Commander’s Summit hosted by Morris County and the County Veteran Services office. Morris County was out in force with Posts 59, 91, 245, 312, 423, 450 at the meeting. DEC Kramer and VC Arnowitz also attended. I will have a few notes to share at the next meeting. There is now a Veterans page on the County website – we will provide details of how to communicate events to have them added to the calendar on the website. Bottom line the County is committed to sustaining this forum and it does hold promise for cross communication and collaboration with other VSOs and importantly with the County leaders.

Many thanks to Post 91 for hosting the County Meeting – the excellent food and the support by the Post 91 Legion Family was recognized by all in attendance! Great job!

Upcoming meetings – The next county meeting is Friday, April 12th at Post 342(Chester). Post 59 will provide the meal at Post 342. The next Department Meeting is Saturday, April 20th.

//Signed//

Amery Vasso

Morris County Commander


February 2019

Greetings!

By now you should have received materials on the Buddy Check campaign. This outreach to our members will occur during the week of March 11-18 2019. The American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad has urged posts, districts, counties and departments to coordinate a team and call Legionnaires and former members simply to see how they are doing, as "Buddy Checks." It is not a membership drive – just a friendly hello!

As is my practice I will once again emphasize renewals, push to not only renew all your members but ADD one new member! If you feel you can do more, then let’s plan to conduct a DMS and Post 1000 outreach, there is support to do this so just send me a note that your Post wants to do this and we can discuss.

Along this line make sure any data changes for your members are completed in March.  This is critical as the 2020 membership cards will reflect the information that Department submits in April. Of course if you are working with myLegion.org changes are easy, they may be completed for members online – if not using myLegion.org make sure Tricia has your information prior to April so she can ensure changes are in place.

I have sent out a letter to Posts regarding elections. In that letter I also emphasized reporting – Vice Commanders have been charged with making this happen. The theme for MCAL and Department is “NO ZEROES!” - There is assistance from County to assist in this – just ask!

A recommendation to all Posts – as you consider candidates for positions in your Post, it is highly recommended that your Adjutant and Membership leader be tech savvy. The resources for reporting available via existing online systems are vital for a Post to send and receive timely information. We are still looking of County Officers (elected and appointed) – please contact DEC Kramer and Adjutant Dresdner to be on the ballot!

Legion College applications are out. Let’s attend in force – for those attending and have not received a MCAL Commander’s pin – well you will receive one at the College. At least one member from each Post should attend – if attending the Membership Course bring your laptop!

Finally, County elections are coming up and will happen at the County Convention in May. We need candidates for office to submit their Post endorsement to DEC Kramer and Adjutant Dresdner before the February meeting. Elected officers are Commander, 5 Vice Commanders, Finance Officer and Organization Officer (DEC is also elected but is a 3 year term so DEC Kramer is still in his term), the other positions are appointed by the Commander.

Upcoming meetings –County meeting including the visit by the Department Commander and Staff, plus leaders from our neighboring counties on Friday, March 15th (at Post 91) and the Department Meeting on Saturday, April 20th .

//Signed//

Amery Vasso

Morris County Commander


January 2019

Welcome to the New Year -2019!

A very Happy New Year to all! May you find success in all your endeavors in the coming year.

We are entering the season for identifying Boys State delegates. I did a little research and found that the County has averaged 75 delegates per year for the last 5 years. The Boys State program in New Jersey is recognized as one of the best in the Nation, with around 900 delegates attending per year. I do believe we are the second largest in the US – someone can fact check me! (Ohio is the largest as I recall). So, let us continue the great support we have demonstrated in the past to the New Jersey program – at $250 per delegate this is a great return on investment for the youth of our County. If you are not sure what to do – we have expertise in the County who can assist, just ask. Try to add one more to your number from last year!

Speaking of Children and Youth programs – the Coloring Contest is almost ready for judging. Make sure to have your entries in to the County for our next meeting (February) so that we can judge the entries and advance our winning entry on to Department! (VC Arnowitz is leading this effort for the County).

We have finalized the Department Commander’s visit to Morris County. The March meeting (March 15th) will be at Post 91. The location decision was based on the large Post membership renewal percentage as of December 31st. Of course, bring your Commander’s project donations if you have not already sent them in – if you have already donated, as I have suggested previously, we will ensure your Post is recognized for already donating!

Report season is upon us – Hospital reports are due in April and Consolidated Post reports are coming up. Our goal is to have 100% reporting in the County – if you need assistance the Vice Commanders are available. I am certain Posts have done SOMETHING to warrant a report so file the paperwork. Of course once elections are completed it is essential to submit your Post Officer reports – again need 100% on this important task. If you would like the County to install your officers please let us know as soon as possible – we will be proud to perform the installation for your Post.

Finally, County elections are coming up and will happen at the County Convention in May. We need candidates for office to submit their Post endorsement to DEC Kramer and Adjutant Dresdner before the February meeting. Elected officers are Commander, 5 Vice Commanders, Finance Officer and Organization Officer (DEC is also elected but is a 3 year term so DEC Kramer is still in his term), the other positions are appointed by the Commander.

As has been my practice I will remind you to continue to pursue renewals and new members. Submit the paperwork for those who qualify for National and Department incentives. I have also mentioned there is a County incentive in place – anyone who brings in 1 new member can earn a County pin!

Upcoming meetings – Department Meeting on Saturday, February 9th and the County meeting on Friday, February 15th (at Post 249).

For God and Country

//Signed//

Amery Vasso

Morris County Commander


December 2018

Happy Holidays!

A wish to all for a wonderful holiday season – cherish this time with family and friends. Keep those still serving in your prayers. Remember those less fortunate and if you can touch their lives do so – a small kindness reaps big rewards.

I am working on a number of fundraising options to support my Commander’s project. I will propose some of these at our next meeting. Step 1 is easy - I ask that Posts contribute what they can, as soon as possible.

The County recently sponsored a Business Connections event at the Morris County Chamber of Commerce (MCCC). I, along with DEC Kramer and Adjutant Dresdner shared the Legion message and mission and the purpose of our participation in the MCCC. All of us see a great deal of potential in our partnership and some interesting connections came from the meeting. I will provide some greater detail as we complete the follow ups from the meeting.

Vice Commanders – review your assigned Posts and make sure you have visited them and offered assistance. I am beating the drum – we need Posts to be active – not only in the functioning of the Post but in fulfilling their membership responsibility. Holding a member’s renewal is unacceptable – you (the membership leader) have been entrusted to handle this for the member in a timely and responsible manner – no excuses. December 31st is around the corner and no member should be delinquent due to a Post not properly executing a member’s renewal!

I know this is a repetition of last month’s message BUT IT IS IMPORTANT - there is a new process for processing new and renewal members. This can be accomplished through mylegion.org – membership leaders can submit payment for new and renewals directly to National. By following this process, you will not need to send cards and checks to Department all of this can be done online – if you pay bills online you can do this! We can train you to do this and I highly recommend it – I have done it for my Post and it works and is far faster than the old process.

The County Organization book is complete. Digital copies are available. I am working on printed editions.

I am working on a guest from Zufall Health to attend our January meeting – details to follow but I am working with Zufall Health to create a unique partnership – all to benefit Veterans.

Finally, a personal thank you from the Vasso family to members of Post 91, Morris County Officers, and Hudson County DEC John Carey for the support at my fathers, Edmund Vasso – WWII US Navy, memorial service in Hoboken. Your presence reflected what the Legion Family is all about and many of those who attended the memorial remarked on how moved they were by the Legion service – many had never experienced a service like the Legion Post Everlasting service.

Upcoming meetings – County meeting on January 18th (at Post 344) and Department meeting on February 9th.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let’s redouble our efforts in 2019 to put Morris County on the map – through your efforts at the Post and County level let us make our mark in everything we do – Team 100 in membership, reporting, participation, and so on. You have answered a call to serve let us make sure that call is recognized!

For God and Country

//Signed//

Amery Vasso

Morris County Commander


October-November 2018

Greetings!

With a very busy last few months I decided to combine the October and November messages. As we approach the holiday season, I wish all of you a wonderful and blessed time with family and friends. Remember those Veterans who may not have all of the blessings we enjoy and do what you can to reach out and help.

As many of you know the membership theme for this year is Team 100. I want to build on that and ask that we extend the Team 100 theme to all that we do. Let our objective be 100% on Post Officer reports,  100% on Hospital reports, 100% on Consolidated Post Reports, and 100% of Posts visited by our leadership team. Further to this point I ask for 100% of Posts contribute to the County and Department Commanders projects. I am well aware this is a tough ask as many Posts work with very limited resources – give what you can, large or small, the point is to be 100% engaged in supporting these Projects that benefit Veterans and our community.  While the Department Commander has very specific beneficiaries for his project, I have not finalized those for County – I am certainly open to suggestions I have a few in mind, but regardless they will be deserving organizations in Morris County. 

We need to redouble our efforts regarding membership. We had a great result last year and my goal is to sustain our position (3rd in NJ) for 2019. As of the November 15 Morris County was in 9th place – only at the beginning of November we were in 5th. We need to press our Posts to submit their membership renewals – remember December 31st is the last day for submissions before members go delinquent.

There is a new process for processing new and renewal members. This can be accomplished through mylegion.org – membership leaders can submit payment for new and renewals directly to National. No more sending cards and checks to Department all of this can be done online – if you pay bills online you can do this! We can train you to do this and I highly recommend it – I have done it for my Post and it works and is far faster than the old process.

Many of you have received notes regarding the US Postal Service and the American Legion’s status regarding mail costs. I would highly recommend you reach out to the USPS and note your objection to their proposal to change the fee structure for the American Legion. Along those lines make sure you submit your NJ sales tax exemption to Emblem Sales – without it they will charge sales tax for any purchases your Post makes from emblem sales.

I am finalizing the County Organization book – this is a deliverable for the County Commander and specifically noted in our C&BL. It is taken more time than it should – to make it a useful document we need accurate Post information. I went to Department on November 20th to do as much research as possible to fill some of the gaps – Post Officer reports (as noted above) are an issue and we need 100% of Posts to submit.

At the October meeting we had a visit by Ray Martinelli (USMC Veteran), Program Manager, NJ Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP). Ray explained the goals of the NJMEP program and their drive to attract and develop talent in NJ for not only manufacturing companies but in general.

Finally thank you to Post 423 and Post 279 for being such gracious hosts for the October and November meetings. Your hospitality is greatly appreciated and the efforts put forth in providing a nice meal – I know with the changes in the meeting times it takes a bit more planning and I appreciate your patience but you adapted and executed flawlessly – thanks for the support!

Upcoming meetings – Department meeting is December 8th – there is no County meeting in December.

For God and Country

//Signed//

Amery Vasso

Morris County Commander


September 2018

Good day to all!

I want to start off this note by providing my thoughts on the POW-MIA Vigil on September 21-22 at the All Veterans Memorial. Morris County American Legion was the host of the event and worked with the All Veterans Memorial (AVM) and the All Veterans Alliance (AVA) in making the vigil happen. And happen it did! What a great event!

The vigil started with a wreath laying ceremony at the newly finished Remembrance Wall. Also new was the Field of Poppies, the culmination of the poppy making outreach by the AVM/AVA and assembled by Charlie Uhrmann (AVM) and Sara Vasso (County Vice Commander). The final step of this segment was to light the flame inside the remembrance globe (which will only burn during the POW-MIA memorial each year) – thanks to Bill and Linda Sohl of the AVM!

We then had the Mount Olive AFJROTC under the leadership of CMSgt (R) Robert Bedell opening the ceremony with the POW/MIA flag raising, the setup of the POW/MIA table and the reading of the names of the missing. Great job by a fine group of young Americans!

Then the sentinels took over! I did not write everyone’s name down who manned the vigil over the course of 24 hours (a lesson learned for next year!) but want to acknowledge the County Officers who participated Adam Charman, Christina Emmets, Bill Robinson, Sara Vasso, Tom Dresdner, and DEC Will Kramer.

Just want to note that joining me in night watch were Adam, Christina, Bill, amazing that we could still manage to push through and remain awake. Sara Vasso, Matt Sichko (and brother Greg) Sean Perez from Post 91 and Betsy Ficken from Unit 91 also were present for portions of the vigil that evening.

Over the vigil we had Legion members from Warren, Sussex counties and the Morris County American Legion Auxiliary participate in reading of names or offering a specific reading commemorating the day.  Charlie Uhrmann (of the AVM/ALA) in support of the event arranged for bagpiper Mark Noyes to play music on Saturday and for the closing ceremony. The Post 91 Color Guard presented the Colors for the closing ceremony, a fine job adding a nice touch to the ceremony.

Many veterans joined us to share in the experience, including Jason (US Army Desert Storm vet) who stayed until 2am, having heard about the event through the AVMs media outreach. Thanks to the AVM/AVA and the American Legion Department of New Jersey in promoting the event, undoubtedly this helped in getting the word out.

The Morris County American Legion is proud to be associated with the AVM which as many learned was built for Veterans by caring Americans, without government dollars – this is remarkable and a treasure for all Veterans to experience. The ability for Veterans to use the AVM for ceremonies such as the POW/MIA Vigil without cost is simply amazing and I am sure was the intent of those private citizens who have contributed over 13 years to make the AVM what it is today!

Next year we will continue the tradition and work together with the AVM/AVA to continue the POW/MIA Vigil.

I visited Tricia at Department Headquarters to discuss membership. We are slightly behind pace from last year – so please don’t hold membership cards. There have been some issues with PUFL members, if you have had issues please let me and Tricia know. Finally I will reemphasize mylegion – it is the best tool for a Post to keep up to date on membership.

This month we had Joe Testa from T-Mobile at our September meeting. Joe explained how T-Mobile can partner with Posts during fund raising events and mobilize volunteers to assist in projects. We thank Joe for his time and if you would like to contact Joe via email at joseph.testa@t-mobile.com or call him at 862-213-4434.

I am finalizing a visit by Ray Martinelli (USMC Veteran), Program Manager, NJ Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) at our October meeting.

Finally thank you to Post 450 and Post 279 for being such gracious hosts for the August and September meetings – I know with the changes in the meeting times it takes a bit more planning and I appreciate your patience but you adapted and executed flawlessly – thanks for the support!

//Signed//

Amery Vasso

Morris County Commander


August 2018

Greetings!

This is the first of my monthly updates to fellow Legionnaires, members of the Legion Family and to Veterans and our communities in Morris County. My intent is to provide information on points of emphasis each month – some may be recurring themes others may be simply information on upcoming events.

The more information we communicate to you and in turn we receive relevant feedback the stronger our Legion community becomes in delivering on the promise of the 4 pillars.

Leading off is the County website. This is a new revised website and is still being built out by dedicated members of the Morris County team. Thanks to those who worked on maintaining the previous website (especially Dennis Propora), it served the County for many years. But it was time for a change. There IS and WILL be a lot of useful information posted on the website. Many of your answers can be found on the website or perhaps you may find a lead to another resource. So please check it out and look forward to your thoughts!

After attending the Department membership meeting this month, there are a few key takeaways to build on my thoughts at our County re-organization meeting in July. I cannot emphasize enough the value of using your myLegion.org – every Post is able to have access to this tool, which is invaluable in managing your membership. We can help in setting up and using it – there IS someone in your Post who is comfortable with computers and the Internet – they need to be part of your team! This is the current and future key to success with membership.

At the County re-organization meeting I shared some changes to the County meeting format. I will refresh them here, but key to those changes is that the meeting STARTS at 7:00pm followed by the meal. I think this is a model for success that while a bit more challenging in the first initial go arounds it will eventually become second nature and will fulfill my intent of respecting your time on a Friday night. One of the reasons this will be successful is that we have streamlined the reporting during the meeting, taking less time in communicating information. Second we have guests from organizations in Morris County who may become partners of a Post in a number of ways, again this is intended to be a return on your time investment. 

At our August meeting we had Peg Schultz from the Morris County Heritage Commission attend and provide an overview of how they are connected to Veterans and the assistance they can provide. In September we will have Joe Testa from T-Mobile who is the Veteran Outreach coordinator for our area explain how T-Mobile may partner with you. Of course feedback on our meetings is welcome as we move forward.

The Morris County Committee has partnered with the All Veterans Memorial and the All Veterans Alliance to conduct a 24 hour vigil for POW/MIA Recognition Day (September 21-22, 2018). The County will be hosting the closing ceremony at 3:00pm on September 22nd.  See the flyers on the website for event details and ways for a Post to be involved with the vigil. It will be a memorable experience!

Finally County and Department Commander’s projects are in full swing. For County we started off by receiving 2 generous donations from Post 59 (thanks Commander John Viola and Adjutant Joe Notowitz) and Post 91 (thanks Commander Leon Stickle and the Executive Board). These donations are a great start for the project. Of course the Department Commander Ray Miller has partnered with the Auxiliary and SAL on his project. I ask that we at least have 100% participation for both projects – any contribution is greatly appreciated!

For God and Country.

//Signed//

Amery Vasso

Morris County Commander