American Legion Baseball 1st Division Commissioner on CAN TV 21 Taking Your Questions!

Call to Action!

On Monday, August 25th at 6:30pm, Post 623’s Immediate Past Commander and current Jr Vice Commander Byron Watson will be interviewing 1st Division Baseball Commissioner and Post 623’s Adjutant Paul Knudtson will be discussing 1 of the 4 Pillars of the American Legion: Americanism via the Nations Pastime of Baseball.

[ Check Out Rep. Danny Davis on American Legion Baseball! ]

I will be asking the Commissioner questions about how American Legion Baseball helps everyone involved; the player, the family, the community, the nation and how it helps in moving closer to ultimate goals.

I will be asking him is there a way we can capitalize on the recent success of our own local baseball team Jackie Robinson West team.

I am requesting questions from you to ask Paul live on TV. I need your help in getting this message out and getting participation in using baseball to give our local youth something to focus on that will be productive in their lives for many years to come.

If you know anyone with Jackie Robinson West team please let us know who to contact. I would love to interview them.

Please share with baseball coaches, community leaders and people that have the heart and resources to help.

The show will air on Monday, 8/25 on CanTV at 6:30 pm. Here is the number to call 312-738-1060. I hope to hear from you.

Here is the link to our website:

Please share!


What is The American Legion doing in advance of its 100th anniversary?

[The 100th anniversary of the American Legion will be celebrated during the 2018-19 membership year.  After reading this blog post, tell us what you think Paul Revere Post 623 should do in advance of the 100th anniversary of the American Legion.]

The American Legion’s 100th Anniversary Observance Committee is developing
a multi-faceted program that aims to raise awareness of the organization’s
historical legacy, as well as its vision for the future. Now available for local posts
is a new interactive website – — for posts to start
researching, collecting, posting and sharing their unique stories and expressing
the ways in which they have helped shape their communities. The site includes
historical timelines for posts to populate, opportunities to acknowledge significant former members and participants in youth programs, and more, including tools to help members gather and present their histories.

The national committee, which consists of Legionnaires who have distinguished
themselves in their own local posts and departments, are encouraging posts,
counties, districts and departments to designate centennial committees to start
planning now for the anniversary. A resource guide, which includes examples, is
available online at Questions about the program can be directed to Laura Edwards of The American Legion Magazine staff at (317) 630-1282 or by e-mail at

The American Legion 100th Anniversary celebration kicks off Aug. 24-30, 2018, at the 100th National Convention in Minneapolis, home of the organization’s first National Convention. Centennial activities continue through the 101st National Convention Aug. 23-29, 2019, in Indianapolis, and through Veterans Day 2019. In development now are: a documentary film and DVD set, an illustrated book, a historical anthology of important American Legion contributions through its first century, a special “Gift to the Nation,” and commemorative merchandise. An American Legion 100th Anniversary Honorary Committee is led by Chairman Theodore Roosevelt IV, a Vietnam War veteran and grandson of American Legion co-founder Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. Roosevelt IV is now assembling other distinguished Americans for the honorary committee who will lend their prestige and support to the centennial, having been influenced significantly at some point in their lives by the Legion. His speech before the 95th American Legion National Convention can be found at the following link:

Tell us what you think here, or post a comment on our Facebook Community Page:

Personal Fitness – Health Promotion Information

Living life to the fullest requires fitness in every aspect of our lives.  Below are a number of websites recommended by the Reserve Health Readiness Program packed with information to help you achieve the highest level of Personal Fitness!

Physical Activity – Aerobic exercise (e.g., walking or biking) three to five times a week reduces risk for cardiovascular disease and builds endurance. routine strength training at least two times a week increases your strength, helps maintain a lean body mass, and decreases risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Nutrition – Healthy Recipes – Eat a variety of foods including: fruits; vegetables; animal or vegetable protein such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu; and grains such as rice. Limit foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.  Choose low fat milk products and lean meats.

Nutrition – Fruits & Vegetables – The National Cancer Institute recommends nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables for men and seven daily servings for women.  One serving can be equated to one cup (e.g., one small apple, one large banana, one small wedge of watermelon, one cup of lettuce). A large apple or multiple vegetables on a sandwich or dinner salad equates to more than one serving.

Supplements – Supplements may be unnecessary for good health or may even create some health risks.  Discuss use of supplements with your Personal Care Practitioner  (PCP) and/or pharmacist.

Stress Management – Stress in personal life, social life and/or workplace, can be diminished with problem solving skills, sharing feelings, and discussing possible solutions with others, such as friends, co-workers, and/or trained mental health providers.

Tobacco Use & Cessation – Smoking or chewing tobacco daily qualifies as a lot.  There is no safe amount of smoking.  Discuss quitting with your PCP.  Counseling and/or smoking cessation medicine help to increase success rate.

Alcohol Use – Consuming more than two alcoholic beverages three or more times a week qualifies as a lot.  One drink equals: 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled liquor.  Drink alcohol responsibly and in moderation.

Sexual Health & Responsibility – Consistent and proper use of latex condom reduces the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease.  If there is concern in regard to STDs, talk with your PCP.

Sleep – Restful sleep increases energy, concentration, and over all daily performance.

Military OneSource


TRICARE Reserve Select

Paul Revere Post 623 Hosting: Super Bowl Party

Click on the photo for details!

Click on the photo for details!

November Newsletter

Commander, Byron Watson

Hello Comrades and Friends, can you believe it is almost the end of October already, and we only have two more months left to accomplish our 2013 goals?  Myself, Paul and Carl attended the 5th District Meeting that is held the third Thursday of each month in Maywood at the John H. Shelton Post.  I would like to see more of us attending these District Meetings each month.  It would be great for you see how a formal Legion meeting is run along with the format and tradition.  When attending the District Meetings you get to build relationships with other Legion members and show the rest of the District who we are—a small Post with a large vision.  You will see how we as a Post measures up against all the other members and Posts of our 5th District Legion Community.  During the meeting you will get a chance to share what your Post is doing and solicit support from the other Posts in the District as well.  Attending these meetings you will learn more about the business side of the American Legion and see how the officers do their jobs.  The Jr. Vice Commander speaks about fundraising and the social calendar.  The Sr. Vice Commander speaks about membership and recruiting new members.  The Commander runs the meeting and disseminates information from the Department and the Division while looking for motions and sharing opportunities for others to get involved and grow our membership.

The Commander applauded Broadview-Hillside Post for achieving their membership goal for this year already.  She mentioned Broadview-Hillside Post has over 150 members and our Commander, Gigi Callaway, said jokingly; that recruiting new members, especially a large Post with that many members is like herding cats.  Recruiting members is a hard chore, like herding cats, but it can be done, with an aggressive and fun agenda with members who have the mind, heart and time to serve one another.   In my opinion, finding more veterans to join us while giving them the opportunity and resources to grow their personal development, leadership skills all while giving back to the community is a win-win for everyone.

Many civilians along with some veterans do not know what the American Legion is and what the mission and purpose of this great Veteran Service Organization is all about.  I’m sure you would agree the more people who know about their local American Legion Post and the service it provides; recruiting new members would not be like herding cats.  At the last District meeting, I spoke about how each Post should become more visible and active in their communities by sharing opportunities for people to serve.  I suggested a Town Hall style meeting open to the public to let our community know what we are doing and how we could serve them too.  They are welcome to help out if they so choose.  I mentioned Paul’s work with baseball and how all the Posts in the District could get more involved.  I shared that during the American Legion Baseball Season, between June and July, there are about 50-60 games between both of our two teams.  Baseball season would be a wonderful opportunity for a Post to have an informational table during the games and share the services they offer.  Or, how about just come out and have fun together as a Post.

I hope to see you at the next Post meeting.

Sr. Vice Commander, Darvy Perez

How to attract new members: a question every organization asks.  New recruiting materials and online services make joining and renewing easier than ever and are not available to help Paul Revere Post 623 grow to an all-time high in numbers.

Most prospective members do not realize all that The American Legion does for veterans, service members, their families and communities at the local, state and national levels.  With the “Why You Should Belong” brochure, it’s much easier to share that information with prospective members.  The brochure is a one-stop recruiting tool that provides information on dozens of Legion programs, as well as the impact of those programs.  It’s a valuable asset for any Legionnaire on the recruiting trail.

For example, let prospective new members know that each year the Legion:

  • Helps thousands of veterans receive VA benefits they earned through service to their country.

  • Conducts, promotes and supports hundreds of career fairs for veterans and transitioning service members, bringing employers face to face with job hunters.

  • Lobbies Congress for better quality of life for U.S. military personnel.

  • Provides more than $138,000 in scholarships through its High School Oratorical Contest.

  • Raises hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for its Legacy Scholarship, helping ensure children of U.S. service members killed on or after Sept. 11, 2011, have a chance at a college education.

  • Helps nearly 100,000 young men experience teamwork and competition through its nearly 5,000 Legion Baseball teams.

  • Collects more than 80,000 pints of blood through donation drives.

Sign Up New Members

The traditional way to join the Legion is to fill out a simple form, but prospective members may also join online.  Here’s a look at some methods, and how to use them:

Paper form. After a new member completes the application form, a Legion representative needs to sign it and provide a membership card on the spot or send once shortly thereafter.

Regardless of where a recruit is signed up, the post adjutant or membership chairman must log the new member’s information and then transmit the form to the department headquarters.

Online form. Prospective members also can sign up online at: This information will be processed by National Headquarters.  Once processed, a membership card will be sent.

Once members are registered, encourage them to take advantage of the Automatic Renewal Program.  Members can go to and click “Renew Now” to safely and conveniently pay their dues.  Automatic renewal can also be set up by calling the Legion’s customer service line: (800) 433-3318

Jr Vice Commander, Marco Aguilar

In the month of October I was appointed as chairperson of the Ways and Means Committee. This committee focuses on raising the required funds to enable our post continue the exemplary community involvement we have done in the past. The upcoming Paintball Explosion Outing is the perfect example of an opportunity for our post to raise funds specifically in support of our programs (this one to support Homeless Veteran Programs) while having a good time!  Currently the committee is discussing creating a raffle and a dinner in March as other possible fund raising opportunities.

The committee will support the post in a number of ways.  One way is to be focused on providing incentives to post members who have both paid their dues and met their fundraising requirement. These incentives may include discounts on future events, free raffle entries, merchandise, or a couple of other things being discussed.  In terms of merchandise, we are currently looking at items that are branded “Paul Revere Post 623” that members could purchase in support of post programs.

In closing, as the post Junior Vice Commander, I would like to thank everyone for their involvement and remind each of you that everything we do is for the betterment of our community and our nation. God Bless.

SAL Squadron – Commander, Tom Vacala; Adjutant, Cris DePhilips


The Post #623 Sons of American Legion has been busy over the past few weeks preparing for our first fundraiser to benefit our Local Homeless Veterans programs. The event is on November 10th and the goal is to raise over $2,000 but more importantly, since this is the first event we have hosted,  our goal is to spread the word of Who we are, How we are taking action to help veterans and the community, What type of events we will host, and more importantly we want people to trust that the commitment of SAL post #623 is to raise money for NO other reason than to purely support and help the Brave Men & Women that have risked their lives for our freedom!

Being a squadron of The American Legion Post #623 is an honor. The quality of men that lead this post are unlike any that I have ever met or had a chance to work with! We have involvement in the political arena, social arena, motivational and coaching arena, business arena, and more but a group of men who understand this God given gift of life that they have received and their call to duty to give back to the community in any way that they are capable. What a great group of guys and I look forward to what we will accomplish as a group.

Being that I have not served in the military but had a heart for the men (like my father) and women who did serve, the Sons of American Legion gives me an opportunity to honor them. It is a platform for people like me who are living their lives day to day trying to support their families but understand truly the reason we have this great opportunity of freedom to choose to work is purely by the act of God and the men and women who risk their own lives to fight for that freedom. Through all the downfall of the economy and mishaps in our governments this is still a great country to live in and everyone needs to take time out of their busy lives to devote time, money, & or prayers to simply give back to this country. The greatest way is by supporting our soldiers.

Join the American Legion or the Sons of American Legion and give back to what has been giving to you for generation to generation.


Tom Vacala

Post #623 SAL Commander

Adjutant, Paul Knudtson

November Calendar

  • November 6th, 2013, 6pm – Division Meeting Robert E. Coulter Jr. Post #1941 900 S. La Grange Road, La Grange, Il 60525 Commander William Manders

  • November 13th, 2013, 7pm – Paul Revere Post 623 Regular Meeting, 6938 W. Diversey, Chicago IL, 60707

  • November 21st, 2013, 7:30pm – 5th District Council American Legion Meeting, Broadview – Hillside Post #626, 4941 Butterfield Road, Hillside, IL

  • November 23rd, 2013, 4pm – Shabonna Saints Youth Football Fundraiser Dinner, American Legion Post 414, 500 Circle Ave, Forest Park, IL

  • November 28th, 2013, – Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • December 19th, 2013, 6:00pm – American Legion 5th District 2013 Annual Christmas Party, Sawa’s Old Warsaw Resturant, 9200 W. Cermak Road, Broadview, IL ($20 per person)

Veterans — Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Some more often overlooked benefits that are available both from the Department of Veterans Affairs and other sources…

1. If you are receiving a VA non-service connected pension the State of Illinois will issue you a free fishing and hunting license. To apply please contact your local Illinois Dept. of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) office. For a location nearest you call 1-800-437-9824

2. The VA allows any individual to assume a veteran’s mortgage by filling out the necessary assumption papers. Along with this the veteran should get a release of liability. If the person assuming the loan is not a veteran however the veteran whose loan is assumed can’t use their VA loan again until it’s paid off in full. Once that happens they are again fully eligible.

3. Although the VA government headstone is free and is shipped to the cemetery where the veteran is interred there is usually a small charge by the cemetery for erecting the stone. For those buried in Illinois up to $100 toward this fee can be obtained from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

4. All VA decisions on disability claims can be appealed within one year. If no appeal is timely filed that decision is final and can not be reopened without new and material evidence. There is one exception to this rule. It is called “clear and unmistakable error” or CUE.

Example: a veteran files for service-connected compensation due to exposure to Agent Orange and has diabetes. The veteran submits proof he has diabetes but his claim is denied due to lack of evidence he has the disease. Five years later the case is reviewed and the evidence was in the file all along, it had simply been overlooked. This veteran would be eligible for back pay of five years due to CUE.

Another example: A veteran files for compensation for a knee injury. He is granted 10% for this condition however the claim is misrouted from the decision maker’s desk to the file storage bank instead of the person who authorizes payment. Fifteen years later the veteran reopens his case and that error is discovered. Due to an obvious CUE he gets a retro check of over $18,000. This was an actual case we worked in the Chicago VA&R office.

5. To preserve the memory of Illinois veterans, the Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs maintains a “Roll of Honor” for all veterans buried in the State of Illinois. To find the location of a veteran’s burial in our state contact your local IDVA office.

6. The current rate for DIC payments to surviving spouses is $1195. If the veteran was rated 100% for at least eight years prior to his/her death and the surviving spouse was also married to the veteran for those eight years the DIC payment is increased by $254 a month, tax free of course.

Reprinted from “News From Representative Martwick

Thinking Ahead: November is Membership Retention Month – Making a Plan for the Future

Every American Legion post should have a plan in place to coordinate and direct membership development.  The post commander, ultimately, is responsible for the success or failure of the post to meet its membership goals for the year.  Often the commander is assisted by the post membership chairman, who helps by selecting membership team members, planning membership rallies or events, and assisting the commander and adjutant with the processing of new and renewed members.

Commanders often follow a formula for success by assigning an energetic and motivated Legionnaire to be the Post Membership Officer (or chairman) to supervise the following post membership teams:

  • Contact team
  • New Member team
  • Retention team

The Contact team concentrates on developing leads to areas with a likely concentration of veterans.  The geographical borders of the local post community should cover not only the local business zones and residential neighborhoods, but should reach out to neighboring communities and counties that are under served by American Legion posts.

Some features of the expanded area should give it high potential for successful membership development, including:

  • Convenience in travel time to the post and scheduled events.
  • A sense of community awareness about the post, its location and positive contributions.
  • A willingness in the community to help boost post membership through poster and counter-top displays, public-service announcement outlets, local advertising buyers, etc.

The Contact team should restrict itself to building a list of areas and neighborhoods where potential members might be located. With post leaders, the membership chairman coordinates specific events to host in these local communities throughout the year.

Post leaders might also prepare plans and make necessary arrangements for post-sponsored events that are scheduled on the post calendar.  Such events could include an Americanism rally or fireworks, a post membership breakfast or dinner, a post open house, an American Legion birthday party, a dance, a children’s day, a Halloween carnival, a fun-run marathon competition, Legion Rider fun runs, and a talking Christmas Tree or Santa Claus hotline for children.

After events and potential neighborhoods are identified, the New Member team goes into action.  These team members are the “salesmen” and conduct door-to-door area canvassing; build relationships with local media, churches, and civic and fraternal clubs, and create and share newsletters, posters or counter-top displays.  Often a member of this team will write letters to the editors of local newspapers; coordinate a public information booth, table display.  All members would be involved in sponsoring a local youth sports team or a post-sponsored community service program such as a community health fair, child abuse/missing children fingerprint program, a civil-defense disaster emergency preparedness test or a teen drug -abuse program.

The membership chairman and New Member team together chooses a specific contact method – email, snail-mail, phone, or door-to-door solicitation – and establish  a specific calendar schedule for using it, as well as identify where to apply it.

The New Member team specializes in convincing eligible prospects to join the post.  Team members should be persuasive speakers who are comfortable talking with people, especially strangers, and proven “go-getters” with good working knowledge of the Legion, its organization, purpose, history and services.  This team also compiles a list of names, addresses, emails and telephone numbers for all eligible prospects who would not join the post (the Contact team uses this list for future contact efforts).

Lastly, and most importantly for the continued success of the post, the Retention team specializes in persuading current and former Legionnaires to renew membership in the post, using post membership rosters and historical data to identify non-renewed members and to make personal contact with each member to address concerns and get favorable renewal decision.

The success of the team concept in membership building is directly related to post members’ willingness to participate and assume the responsibility for planning, organizing and directing post events.  Success is measurable by the post meeting and exceeding all membership objectives assigned by the district or department.

The team concept, using Contact, New Member, and Renewal teams is equally adaptable at district and department levels where far greater resources are available for team membership, and where team members can be selected from an array of posts.

District Team efforts should be primarily directed to building membership in the district’s weak posts, or in newly chartered posts in need of growth to develop and sustain its programs and the American Legion home.

District officers select the district membership chairman and members for the three district teams.  Special attention is given to selecting of the best workers from across the district for this important role.

District leaders and district membership chairman choose the posts needing help, the contact method to employ and the calendar of events, as well as planning and organizing the events themselves.

Finally, post and district leaders may call on the staff of the Illinois Membership Department for assistance.  National staff is also available, they may travel and assist in building membership teams for certain posts.  Contact Membership Marty Conaster for details about such traveling.