Chapel Hill Post 6’s Adjutant is in the news this weekend. He is being honored with a two-part story on his service in the army as part of the 65th Infantry, Third Army. But that is not the story for this report. The real story is that Garner News of Garner, NC, is publishing the story!
Garner is 40 miles from Chapel Hill! How did this happen? Robert Patton, post adjutant, gets out into the community and speaks about his service to his country and his observations on the Holocaust. The Third Army liberated the Nazi concentration camps in Germany and Austria. Robert, or Bob as he prefers, was there and returns often to memorialize the efforts of the 65th Infantry and those it liberated. Read story
Bob Patton responds to requests to speak on the Holocaust and it takes him everywhere. He does this at his own expense.
Each and every member of our posts is a hero to some degree. Not all have earned the Purple Heart or other medal of valor, but all of us have left our homes at the call of our Country to serve. Some served at home, some abroad, and some did not return. Some participated in history at Iwo Jima, Korea, Iraq, Kuwait, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, and the hundreds of other conflicts, both big and small. Our stories are of interest.
Our stories are many and there is an audience. It is our communities. We, as American Legionnaires, are the visible veterans to our communities. We speak for those who can not. We speak for those who have not joined a veterans group. We speak for those who serve today.
We get to talk to others, to schools, associations, and to the media. Our stories are often reported, but we have to tell them to get them heard. How can you help by telling your story?
In Chapel Hill at Post 6, the post has a Speakers Bureau. It was originally built by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post, but it also serves as the core for the American Legion Post bureau. All speakers bureau members are members of both posts. They just change their hats and post blazers to meet the needs of the request. Read more
When web surfers want information on what is happening in their community regarding veterans, they look at their post’s web site and separate news blog. This generates requests for service, for speakers, and for participants in events. Sometimes they are asked to host an event; e.g., a flagpole dedication at a local mall. It is a lot of work and it is done without pay. The payback for the member and post is that veterans are visible everywhere wearing the cap of an American Legionnaire.
If you don’t have a post speakers bureau, why not? What is needed? It can be simple or complex. It all begins with building a list of members willing to speak to groups. Next, you need a short biography on the volunteers. Finally, you need to let others know that you have started a speakers bureau.
Remember, if you don’t have an active website, you are invisible to the media. If you don’t have a post phone that gets monitored and answered, you are invisible to the media. Provide your local paper, chamber of commerce, town hall, weekly news group, radio station, and other business or fraternal groups in your town with information about your speakers. It will start small, but if you provide the speakers, you will build your local presence. You have to sow seed to reap the harvest. Give it a try.