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New American Legion Commander Hopes To Recruit Younger Vets

An American Legion post in Washington, IN. The Legion is working to help veterans transition back to civilian life after an overseas deployment.

Indiana’s new American Legion state commander says he’s focused on recruiting younger veterans to the organization.

More than 10 percent of the 89,000 veterans who make up the American Legion in Indiana are still World War II veterans.

New state commander Ed Trice says most of the remaining men and women are veterans of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. State commanders only serve one year in the top post, and Trice says he’s using that year to recruit young veterans in a variety of ways, including a dramatically increased presence on social media.

“We offer over 33 different programs in the American Legion and people are just not aware of what we do,” Trice says. “We have five service officers who are on board full time to help veterans with their claims for disabilities.”

Trice says helping with veterans’ disability claims is a service offered to all veterans, not just Legion members. He says at a time when veteran unemployment is more than double the state average, the Legion provides help to veterans and their families who are struggling financially through Temporary Financial Assistance grants.

“If people are about to lose their house or they’re short a mortgage payment or if they’re behind on a light bill or a heat bill, in three to five days we can have them a check and have that taken care of,” says Trice.

The Indiana American Legion leads the nation in grants, awarding more than 135,000 last year.

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