Ever since our founding in 1919, the Four Pillars have symbolized our commitment to the ideals of The American Legion and how we incorporate those ideals into actions. Each pillar represents our programs that support Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism, and Children & Youth. The Veteran, our Community, and the Children & Youth all benefit from Post 626 programs.
Our VA&R Committee is active in supporting local veterans in need of temporary assistance, assisting with VA medical care and benefit claims, making donations to Missouri Veterans Homes in Cameron and Warrensburg, as well as Volunteering at and making bi-annual donations to the Kansas City VA Medical Center and area CBOC's. We do have a service Officer who can assist with filing claims for benefits and getting registered for care at the VA.
All of the funds raised in our bi-annual Poppy Donation Drives goes into these programs. These drives are held on or near Veterans Day and Memorial Day at the Walmart Superstore on the corner of 72nd St. and N. Prospect. Come on by and get your poppy! (See calendar for details)
You may think of National Security as big picture issues overseas, defending our borders, adequate spending on our Armed Forces and so on. And it is important to The American Legion as a whole, and we do work on that as a body. But here at home we also work locally to support our First Responders. If we as a community are not safe at home, if a deployed military members family is not safe at home, that adversely affects our National Security.
To that end, Post 626 makes annual donations to the Surviving Spouse And Family Endowment Fund (SAFE) which supports the family's of fallen First Responders in our area. We also recognize the service of our First Responders through our Firefighter/EMT and Law Enforcement Awards, recently recognizing two firefighters at the state level.
To serve Americanism is to promote an understanding and appreciation of American government, the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship, and activity in the American way of life through youth activities, community service, instruction of prospective citizens and legal immigrants, education and educational facilities, and protection of the U.S. flag from physical desecration.
There are many programs in The American Legion that promote Americanism. Post 626 is involved in Boys and Girls States, High School Oratorical Contests, School Awards, and Vets in the classroom. Post members also participate in local schools Veterans Day programs, promote the US Flag Code, host a Memorial Day Ceremony, and log thousands of hours of community service every year.
We have the capacity to participate in many more programs, like Cadet Patrol and Junior Shooting, we just need your participation!
The American Legion's Children & Youth programs are designed to assure care and protection for the children of veterans; improve conditions for all children and youth with due concern for maintaining the integrity of the family home; prevent social and physical ills of children and youth where possible, utilizing services of and cooperating with sound organizations and agencies for children and youth; maintain a balanced program that provides for their physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs.
Post members have logged many hours of community service hours at events like the North Kansas City School Districts "Stuff the Bus" (above) and Gladstones Friday Fright Night. We also contribute to programs that promote child welfare, participate in Temporary Financial Assistance to help keep the children of Legionnaires in the family home, and contribute to local scholarships by participating in their fund drives and through donations.
To us, a Veteran is a Veteran, regardless of place and time of service, and we dedicate ourselves to supporting the Veteran and the institutions and organizations that support that cause.
Dedicated Volunteers raise funds through the Poppy Program and redistribute it as needed in the Veteran community.
The poppy, which symbolizes freedom and the blood sacrificed by troops during war, comes from the poem In Flanders Fields. Written by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae, the poem refers to the poppies that grew out of newly dug soldiers’ graves during World War I in Europe. Moina Michael, a teacher from Georgia, read the poem while attending a YMCA Overseas Conference. She wrote her response to the poem and vowed to keep the promise by always wearing a red poppy to honor those who died.
The American Legion Auxiliary adopted the poppy as its memorial flower in 1921 and started its Poppy Program in 1924. Today, ALA members distribute millions of poppies annually across the country in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans in our communities. They raise more than $5-6 million annually to provide support for veterans.
Post 626 does not have an Auxiliary at this time so we carry on that work in their absence.
Post 626 donates 15% of it's annual Poppy Donation Day proceeds to the Missouri Veterans Home in Cameron. We also donate goods and sponsor activities like Bingo and Ice cream socials as needed, contributing to the welfare and entertainment of our Veterans.
We have made several donations to the Veterans Home in Warrensburg as well.
Another part of our Poppy proceeds is donated the the Kansas City VA Medical Center. Every Memorial Day and Veterans Day we contact the VAMC and find out what is needed the most at that time and donate those items to be used at the KCVA or any of it's regional Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC's)
Post 626 has a dedicated Service Officer who can guide Veterans in need to the help they need, whether it's help with their VA claims or getting enrolled in the VA system or any other assistance within our means. The Service Officer and the Post stand ready to assist.
Missouri Association of Veteran Organizations (MAVO) rally at State Capital, Apr 2014
The program provides first-hand experiences and insight into the operations of law enforcement agencies. The program also affords these highly motivated young people an opportunity to consider law enforcement as a potential career choice. Recruitment of high school students, both male and female, representing all communities and backgrounds in the state, is one goal of the program.
Once these young people have been selected to attend the program, the law enforcement community is challenged to present a program that will instill an understanding and respect for law enforcement professionals and their techniques.
Technically an Americanism program, we feel CP fits right in with National Security.
Each year, Post 626 reaches out to the Gladstone Department of Public Safety for their recommendations for one police officer and one firefighter/EMT who stand out.
The American Legion gives its National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award to a well-rounded law enforcement officer who has exceeded the duty requirements expected of his or her position and has demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service coupled with professional achievement. The award, which especially takes into account heroic acts, is presented annually at the Legion's national convention.
The National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award recognizes officers who go above the call of duty. A major secondary purpose of this award is to encourage further development of department and post Law and Order Committees through continued recognition of law enforcement officers. It is firmly believed this award serves to promote public trust and support of our law enforcement agencies.
Starting in 2010, The American Legion has given a National Firefighter of the Year Award to a firefighter or an EMT who is also Firefighter certified, who has exceeded the requirements expected of his or her position and has shown a distinct pattern of community service and professional achievement. The award, which takes into account heroic acts, will be given annually at the Legion's national convention.
Since 2015 three of Gladstone's Firefighters have made it to the Department (State) level.
To provide the comfort of financial support for the surviving spouses and dependents or, in their absence, the parents of sworn law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency services personnel who lose their life in the performance of their duties. The employing agency, at the time of death of said public safety officers, must be headquartered within the geographic boundaries of the SAFE program as defined in the current by-laws.
May 2015 National Peace Officers Day
Post 626 is proud to have sponsored the J&J Owls Baseball Team since 2016.
American Legion Baseball has taught hundreds of thousands of young Americans the importance of sportsmanship, good health and active citizenship since it's founding in 1925. The program is also a promoter of equality, making teammates out of young athletes regardless of their income levels or social standings. American Legion Baseball has been, and continues to be, a stepping stone to manhood for millions of young men who have gone on to serve their country or community, raise families or play the sport at the highest level.
The American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship
The American Legion Boys State of Missouri is an eight-day hands on experience in the operation and fundamentals of government. Missouri Boys State draws together the best and brightest high school juniors to help lead them down the path of individual success and leadership through "doing," not just learning.
Click the link below to help sponsor students!
Girls State is a program run by The American Legion Auxiliary in the week immediately following Boys State.
Because Post 626 does not currently have an Auxiliary Unit, we help sponsor students from our schools through the Units in Kansas City (61) and Smithville (58).
Click the link below to help sponsor students!
With this program we place emphasis on the development of the qualities of COURAGE, HONOR, LEADERSHIP, PATRIOTISM, SCHOLARSHIP and SERVICE for our area school kids.
We hope to develop those ideals of Americanism among young people which will make them citizens of the highest type.
Along with the staff at Antioch Middle School we give recognition through the award of American Legion School Award Medals to the boy and to the girl who are deemed most worthy of the high qualities of citizenship and of true Americanism.
The American Legion has a long-standing commitment to American education and believes a strong education program is important to maintaining American traditions and instilling in our young people a sense of personal obligation and responsibility. Since 1921, The American Legion has supported American Education Week in November to recognize the contributions made by schools and teachers.
Near Veterans Day every year Antioch Middle School invites members to spend some time in the classrooms answering students questions about the military and their particular service experiences, followed by a Veterans Day presentation and walk of recognition. A truly moving experience for our Veterans and students.
In school briefing by Boys State
Established in 1954, The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation was developed as a repository of funds from individuals who wished to contribute to the betterment of children in this country. Our foremost philanthropic priority is to contribute to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of children and youth by aiding progress in the field of child welfare through dissemination of knowledge about research, studies, surveys, projects, or by supporting programs and activities benefiting the welfare of children and youth.
Post 626 stands ready to assist Legionnaires or active military personnel with dependent children in filing for a TFA grant to meet the cost of shelter, food, utilities and health expenses.
In order to quality a complete investigation is conducted at the post or department level, a legitimate family need is determined, and all other available assistance resources have been utilized or exhausted. The Post Service Officer can assist in finding local resources which must be utilizes first.