American Legion officers

Houston’s American Legion Post 41 recently elected officers for July 2021 through July 2022. From left: Post Commander Robert Joens, First Vice Commander Glen McKinney, Adjutant and Historian Ron Jones, Second Vice Commander Jerry Wildhaber, Finance Officer Robert Simpson and Finance Officer Tyler DeHart. Not pictured: Post Chaplain Roger Cary and Post JAG Parke Stevens Jr.

The American Legion is the largest military veterans organization in the United States.

Anyone who has served federal active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces since Dec. 7, 1941, and has been honorably discharged or is still serving, is eligible for membership in the American Legion. Because eligibility dates remain open, all active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to join the Legion at this time, until the date of the end of hostilities as determined by the government of the United States. Merchant Marines are eligible for membership but only if they served from Dec. 7, 1941, to Dec. 31, 1946 (during World War II).

The American Legion ended 2020 with several key accomplishments. Below is a list of legislative victories from last year’s agenda for the second session of the 116th Congress, some of which have been decades in the making:

•Preventing Veteran Suicide.

The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 785) was signed into law by President Donald Trump late in 2020.

•Female Veterans.

Key provisions of the Deborah Sampson Act were passed during the 116th Congress through a variety of legislative vehicles, including, the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 (H.R. 7105) and the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 785).

•Expanded Agent Orange Benefits.

The Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 6395) added Parkinsonism, bladder cancer and hypothyroidism to the list of presumptive conditions for Agent Orange exposure.

•Protect the G.I. Bill.

The Protect the GI Bill Act was successfully passed into law through the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 (H.R. 7105).

Houston’s American Legion Post 41 is very active in Texas County supporting local veterans and their families. Members who pay annual dues are supporting a national organization that is the largest lobbying group for veterans in Washington D.C.

For more information, email amlegion41houstonmo@gmail.com.

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