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American Legion News

2024 national convention app released

Source: July 22, 2024

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The 2024 American Legion National Convention mobile app is now available for free download from the Apple Store or Google Play

Already available are registration information, maps of convention hotels and New Orleans, and a link to the latest convention news. Leading up to – and during – the convention itself, the app will be updated with schedules, speakers, exhibitors, headlines and much more. It is now the only source for much of this on-site content, as the printed convention program book has largely transitioned into a souvenir item. 

Among other updates, a survey for attendees will be added before the convention, courtesy of the Legion's National Convention & Meetings Division. An alert will be sent out; be sure to enable alerts when downloading the app. 

Information on all of The American Legion's mobile apps can be found here.

Next article: Job fair Aug. 26 in conjunction with national convention

Job fair Aug. 26 in conjunction with national convention

Source: July 22, 2024

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Online registration is open for a career exploration and hiring fair being held in conjunction with The American Legion's 105th National Convention.

The Legion and Hiring Our Heroes are presenting employment workshops and a hiring fair on Aug. 26 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Two Poydras St., New Orleans, LA 70130.

Workshops on creating civilian and federal employment resumes, and financial literacy, will be held beginning at 9 a.m. CT on Aug. 26. The job fair will follow, from 1-4 p.m.

The free event is tailored to military community members.

Bookmark Legion.org/Convention and Legion.org/Careers for updates.

 

Next article: Palou battles to 4th-place finish, Lundqvist overcomes wall contact for 13th in Toronto

Palou battles to 4th-place finish, Lundqvist overcomes wall contact for 13th in Toronto

Source: July 22, 2024

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NTT INDYCAR SERIES points leader Alex Palou showed his mettle on Sunday in Toronto, and in doing so left Canada actually adding to his points lead.

After being penalized during qualifications and starting the Ontario Honda Dealers Indy Toronto in the 18th spot, Palou worked his way through the crowd to pick up a fourth-place finish – his 10th top-five showing of the season for Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR).

Meanwhile, CGR rookie Linus Lundqvist, driving the No. 10 American Legion Honda supporting the Legion's Be the One suicide prevention program, overcame contact with the wall to finish 13th and build on his lead in the Rookie of the Year standings.

Palou, driving the No. 10 DHL Honda featuring American Legion branding, was penalized for blocking during qualifications, which caused him to lose his two fastest laps. But he was able to gain the most spots in the field and pushed his championship lead over Will Power to 49 points.

"I would say these are the kind of days we want after a very tough Saturday," Palou said. "I feel we had a car that could have won the race if we hadn't started where we did. I think we maximized everything we had (Sunday). The No. 10 DHL Honda team did an amazing job with pit stops and strategy. They put me in a position to finish up there in the top five.

"I'm glad we finished in the top four and have three cars in the top five. Pretty good recovery by the whole Chip Ganassi Racing team. On to a little bit of rest and then we'll be ready for the last couple of races."

Lundqvist now leads teammate Kyffin Simpson by 40 points in the Rookie of the Year race. "Well that was chaotic to say the least. Not my finest race," he said. "I had a touch of the barrier. Just got a little frustrated because we had a lot of pace in the American Legion Honda today. We got stuck in traffic and made some moves that didn't work, but I gave it a go.

"Came away with a 13th at the end that should've been a little bit better, but that's street racing. I think a reasonable day for the team. We did what we could, we learned. Now we will get a little break and will come back stronger."

Chip Ganassi Racing wound up placing three drivers in the top five, with Scott Dixon winding up third and Marcus Armstrong fifth. It was Dixon's 141st podium finish in INDYCAR, tying him with Mario Andretti for most career top-three finishes.

After three straight weekends of racing, INDYCAR will take a long break. The series doesn't resume until the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 on Aug. 17 on World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill.  

To learn more about The American Legion's Be the One veteran suicide prevention program, click here.

Next article: Five Things to Know, July 22, 2024

Five Things to Know, July 22, 2024

Source: July 22, 2024

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1.   Vice President Kamala Harris moved swiftly to lock up Democratic delegates behind her campaign for the White House after President Joe Biden stepped aside amid concerns from within their own party that he would be unable to defeat Donald Trump. Biden's exit Sunday, prompted by Democratic worries over his fitness for office, was a seismic shift to the presidential contest that upended both parties' carefully honed plans for the race.

2.   At 1:45 p.m. Sunday, President Joe Biden's senior staff was notified that he was stepping away from the 2024 race. At 1:46 p.m., that message was made public. It was never Biden's intention to leave the race: Up until he decided to step aside Sunday, he was all in. His campaign was planning fundraisers and events and setting up travel over the next few weeks. But even as Biden was publicly dug in and insisting he was staying in the race, he was quietly reflecting on the disaster of the past few weeks, on the past three years of his presidency and on the scope of his half-century career in politics.

3.   Two U.S. Air Force long-range bombers that had a close encounter over the weekend with Russian fighters over the Barents Sea landed at an allied base near the Black Sea hours later, according to the service. The arrival of the B-52H Stratofortress bombers at Romania's Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base on Sunday marks the first time U.S. strategic bombers have operated from the installation, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Africa said the same day. The base, known as MK to forces deployed there, serves as the main operational hub for the U.S. military in the Black Sea region. It is undergoing a multibillion-dollar expansion by NATO that will make it larger than even Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

4.   South Korea said Sunday it was bolstering its anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts across the tense border with rival North Korea, after the North launched more trash-carrying balloons toward South Korea. The Cold War-style psychological battle between the two Koreas is adding to already-high tensions on the Korean Peninsula, with the rivals threatening stronger steps against each other and warning of devastating consequences.

5.   Israeli airstrikes killed at least 15 people, including women and children overnight in Gaza, according to hospital officials and a body count by an Associated Press journalist on Sunday. The latest strikes occurred as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to leave Monday for the United States, where he is expected to meet with President Joe Biden and address Congress to make his case for the nine-month war against Hamas while cease-fire negotiations continue. A team will be sent to continue talks on Thursday, Netanyahu's office said.

Next article: Legion Baseball alumni Leyland, Mauer enter Hall of Fame

Legion Baseball alumni Leyland, Mauer enter Hall of Fame

Source: July 22, 2024

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Joe Mauer has fond memories of growing up in St. Paul, Minn., playing on some of the same baseball fields that Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor and Jack Morris played on when they were younger.

On Sunday, Mauer joined those three — all of whom, like Mauer, played American Legion Baseball — in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Mauer and Jim Leyland brought the total number of former Legion Baseball players enshrined in Cooperstown to 87 with their inductions July 21 alongside fellow Class of 2024 inductees Adrian Beltre and Todd Helton.

"How lucky and unique it was to have three big leaguers and future role models hail from my same city. Watching them as a kid was my first glimpse of hope that maybe I could make it in baseball as well," Mauer said in his induction speech.

"It'll never be lost on me that the same guys I pretended to be in my yard are men I grew up to know personally, and I even had one of them (Molitor) become my manager."

Mauer, who like Molitor and Winfield played Legion Baseball for Post 606 in St. Paul, spent his entire 15-year major league career with his hometown Minnesota Twins. The 2009 American League MVP, he won batting titles that year and in 2006 and 2008.

Mauer became just the third catcher to be selected to the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot, joining Johnny Bench and Ivan Rodriguez. They played Legion Baseball as well — Bench in Anadarko, Okla., and Rodriguez for Post Vega Baja in Puerto Rico.

Leyland won 1,769 games in 22 seasons as a manager with the Pirates, Marlins, Rockies and Tigers, winning the 1997 World Series in the Marlins' fifth year of existence. He also managed Team USA to the 2017 World Baseball Classic title — four years after retiring from major league managing. Leyland was a three-time Manager of the Year, with Pittsburgh in 1990 and 1992 and with Detroit in 2006.

"My contributions to our beautiful pastime pale in comparison to the joy it has brought to my life," said Leyland, who played for Post 183 in Pemberville, Ohio.

Next article: Travel issues just a bump in the road as Boys Nation 2024 begins

Travel issues just a bump in the road as Boys Nation 2024 begins

Source: July 22, 2024

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The senators of American Legion Boys Nation crowded together on the floor in front of the screen as a short film depicting the events surrounding Francis Scott Key's ode to the American flag played out in the Fort McHenry visitors center Sunday afternoon.

Key's description of the flag still standing strong after the fort was bombarded by the British Navy in September 1814 would, of course, serve as the basis for the national anthem.

For the 100 Boys Nation senators from across the nation, it was a chance to see a piece of history as their own week that shapes a lifetime — the 78th such session of Boys Nation — began in earnest over the weekend.

"History does leave out a lot of details about so many events," said Chance Bradford of Arkansas, who said he took notes throughout the movie.

Bradford, who was sponsored to Arkansas Boys State by Mills University Studies High School in Little Rock, Ark., said it was "an honor" to get the chance to visit Fort McHenry as part of his week at Boys Nation.

"I'm especially thankful, because I'm not the most devoted to all the politics and stuff like that. I respect so much of it, because people do so much to make sure their country is the type of place that they want to live in, and seeing remnants of what they fought for, seeing it all played back, it's a different perspective," Bradford said.

Nader of North Dakota said Fort McHenry and the giant flag flying above it was "an impressive spectacle."

"I didn't expect it to be this historically accurate," he said, referring to the wooden flagpole at the center of the fort itself. "I can really sense the history here."

Nader was sponsored to North Dakota Boys State by Post 297 in Harwood, N.D.

The senators capped their Sunday afternoon off campus with a visit to American Legion Post 136 in Greenbelt, Md., where the Legion Family provided dinner and National Commander Daniel J. Seehafer spoke about the importance this week will have for the young men from across the nation.

He also took the opportunity to emphasize the Be the One campaign and how anyone, even the teen senators from Boys Nation, can "Be The One" to save a life.

"You're leaders. You can make a difference, you can change lives, you can save lives," Seehafer said. "… You never know when somebody could cross your path, and you could be the difference between life and death."

Taking charge

On Saturday afternoon, the senators voted for half of the slate of four elected officials who will lead Boys Nation — the president pro tempore and the secretary of the senate. The president and vice president will be elected later in the week.

Eshaam Bhattad, F-Ill., was elected president pro tempore and will lead the Boys Nation senate for the first part of the week. He was sponsored to Illinois Boys State by Post 964 in Lake Zurich, Ill.

Bhattad emerged from a field of 12 initial candidates and received the necessary majority vote on the fourth ballot.

Elected secretary of the senate was Charan Bala, F-Md. He was sponsored to Maryland Boys State by Post 300 in Columbia, Md.

Waiting on a jet plane

Sunday's excursions and Saturday's activities came after the global tech outage played havoc with senators' flight plans on Friday — traditionally a day which ends with section meetings that help set the tone for the week.

Instead, those section meetings were pushed to Saturday morning, giving more, though not all, of the senators a chance to get acclimated to the sections they're divided into by state. Indeed, a handful of senators didn't arrive until Saturday night and very early Sunday.

That in turn pushed the Boys Nation senate oath of office ceremony back a bit. But there was still time for American Legion National Security Commission Chairman Matthew Shuman to delve into the oath and ensure the senators understood the deeper meaning behind each line.

After the oath, Shuman and Will Smith, a fellow Arizona native and the legislative director for Rep. Nick Langworthy, R-N.Y., took questions from the senators and posed for a selfie with them.

 

Next article: A combined 55 years of dedication to air rifle program

A combined 55 years of dedication to air rifle program

Source: July 22, 2024

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Volunteers are the heart of American Legion youth programs with their time, leadership and dedication to the youth they serve. Two volunteers of The American Legion Junior 3-Position Air Rifle National Championship who have been integral to the program's success and the positive experiences youth have for a combined 55 years – Loren "Bud" Sperry and Ida Jewell – are stepping away from the national program but continuing their love for the program within their posts and departments.

"It wasn't an easy decision," said Sperry, a member of American Legion Post 181 in Lake Stevens, Wash., about leaving the national program after 28 years serving as match director. "This program has been very important to me."

Sperry and Jewell, the chief range officer, said their farewell during this year's air rifle championships July 18-20 in Hillsdale, Mich.

The youth competitors are a main reason Sperry has returned to the program year after a year, and it's a reason that he instills upon other volunteers.

"It is about the kids. The whole program is about the kids," he said. "They are getting a chance to learn not only the competition end of it, but they're getting the chance to learn how to teach themselves positions that they have to have to shoot at this level. We make sure they get everything they need to have a good program, and I always say that we do tend to spoil the kids here because we have fun with them, we treat them as an individual shooter. Kids in other competitions are treated like a number because they are so big; there are 300 shooters. Here we have 30 shooters, and each kid is treated exactly the same. Every shooter has the same opportunity as the one next to them, and they rely upon their own training."

Jewell, a member of Post 122 in Bath, Ind., has continued to come back for the past 27 years because "I love the program. I love the kids. And I love these people," she said. "The athletes that I see in shooting have got to be the most caring, kind kids that I've ever dealt with. Shooting teaches them to be so honest. And I think that makes such a big difference with the kids. And they get to meet new friends and they get to meet us. And when other kids hear about the experience they've had, it makes our program grow."

Both Sperry and Jewell have seen a lot of changes with the national tournament over the years, especially with advancement in technology. Volunteers used to hand score paper targets, which would take hours. Now they are electronic, which makes the role of match director for Sperry easier and allows him more time to "be there with the kids to make sure everyone is following the rules, and everybody has the same level of playing field." In his role Sperry also helps the marksmen with the mental side of air rifle. "A lot of these kids will get into their own head. They will try to outthink themselves. We stress here that they keep the process and shoot the way you learned how to shoot. Keep that position going."

Jewell also recalls the days of paper targets and has a fond memory from it.

"At the end of the day targets were spread out on the floor for the kids to look at and they could challenge any shot," she said. "This always tears me up. One year one kid said, ‘I challenge that shot. That's not a 10. That's a 9.' It just really got me. That as much as anything else has kept me here. The program instills patience and honesty."

Concentration and respect are two other life qualities learned for the sport of shooting, Sperry said, adding that "sometimes for kids nowadays you don't know where they come from, you don't know how their raised and if we can give them that little bit to change their life ... we did something."

Sperry and Jewell will be missed next year and the years to come at the Legion's Junior 3-Position Air Rifle National Championships, yet the impact they've had on youth air rifle athletes for the past 28 years will continue. "It's good to look back and see what these kids have accomplished, something that you started or that you helped," Sperry said as many of the Legion's air rifle champions and competitors who have gone to place in the Olympics. "It's fun to watch them see what they can become and what they have become."

Many hugs and tears were shared over the past week while Sperry and Jewell were in Hillsdale for their final American Legion air rifle championship. As they too will miss the program, the athletes, the camaraderie, the family.

"The people. And the kids," Jewell said tearfully of what she will miss. "I'm going to miss this program terribly."

Sperry reiterated those sentiments as for him, the program has always been about one thing.

"The kids," he said. "I've always said that I want the kids to be what they can be. They're the ones that have to do it; I can't do it for them. We can't do it for them. We can give them a place to be able to shine and that's what this program is about."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next article: Precision, sporter air rifle champions crowned

Precision, sporter air rifle champions crowned

Source: July 20, 2024

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The American Legion crowned its 2024 Junior 3-Position Air Rifle National Championship precision and sporter winners Saturday, July 20, in Hillsdale, Mich. The top eight in both classes competed in the Margot Biermann Athletic Center on the campus of Hillsdale College for the finals after two previous days of back-to-back tournament matches.

The precision champion is Emme Walrath of Kenosha, Wis., and second-place finisher is Kamdyn McFarland of Billings, Mont. Sporter champion is Alexandra Orr of Poquoson, Va., and second-place finisher is Zachary Higgins of Gray, Tenn. Walrath and Orr will receive a $5,000 scholarship provided by The American Legion and Sons of The American Legion, along with a trip to The American Legion's 105th national convention in New Orleans in August to be honored. McFarland and Higgins will receive a $1,000 scholarship provided by the American Legion Auxiliary. 

First on the firing line for the finals were the top eight sporters, standing shoulder-to-shoulder. Both the precision and sporter top eight competitors fired 10 individual shots for a total possible score of 109.

Walrath and Orr held their first-place positions to win.  

"It was very exciting. I started crying a little bit when I found out," Orr said of winning sporter with a score of 91.9 "It was definitely a lot of work. It was very stressful for the finals knowing one shot and you could be down too many points to catch up. I knew I had to keep my heartrate down, so between every shot I was taking deep breaths, just trying to calm down so I wouldn't be super shaky while I was shooting."

Higgins was in third position coming into the finals for sporter and took second place after the fourth shot and held on to it.

"This is my last match and I wanted to go out with a bang, and I feel like I accomplished it. It feels really good and honestly, I'm kind of shocked because I expected to not do as well as I thought in the finals," said Higgins, who shot an 85.1 "The whole competition is like any competition I have done before. Especially for my last one, it's super great. The caliber of people I'm shooting with … it's top 30 precision and sporter in the nation. It was just an honor getting to be here. The way the whole thing was run was just fantastic. I loved this competition."

Higgins, who recently graduated from Daniel Boone High School, grew up hunting and shooting with his dad, which inspired him to get into air rifle.  

"I love the competitiveness and just growing up shooting, it felt like me. It was literally the best thing about my high school career probably, last four years of my life, has been the (Daniel Boone MCJROTC) rifle team."  

McFarland headed in the finals for precision in third position with Mackenzie Larson of Colorado in second. After a close final match, McFarland claimed a second-place finish with a score of 102.7.

"It feels really good," McFarland said of her second-place finish. "Every I took I would look over at Mackenzie and we just kept taking the same shots. But I stayed pretty calm; I was trying to have fun and stay relaxed. It's been a great match."

The focus heading into the finals for precision champion Walrath was to have fun.

"It's my very last final before college so I just wanted to have fun with it," said Walrath, who shot a 104.6. "Being the champion for this match, I feel very good about it. I have been just working as hard as possible for the last few weeks. I just came back from the CMP Nationals as well, and I did struggle quite a bit over there, especially in the finals. And I lost my first-place position there. So coming out here and being able to do as well as what I would hope here and be able to maintain that is rewarding. This match is a good end to my final high school matches.

"I would like to thank The American Legion so much for allowing me the opportunity to come out here, and for allowing me to earn the scholarship because it really will help in college (Georgia Southern University)."

Walrath loves the sport of air rifle because of the competitiveness but also because of the friendships built and encouragement shared during competition.

"We get competitive sometimes with each other but we're all having fun with each other while we're competing," she said. "We are not against each other; we always congratulate ourselves and each other whenever we reach a personal record and that kind of stuff. We are always so interconnected, and we're always celebrating with each other. I really love that about this sport.

"I want to thank (The American Legion) for also allowing all of us to grow the friendships that we have out of this competition."

Results for top eight precision:

1. 2,495.6 – Emme Walrath of Wisconsin, American Legion Post 295

2. 2,483.7 – Kamdyn McFarland of Montana, Yellowstone Rifle Club

2. 2,483.4 – Makenzie Larson of Colorado, American Legion Post 109

4. 2,476.6 – Samuel Adkins of Pennsylvania, Palmyra Junior Rifle Team

5. 2,476.2 – Hunter Jenkins of West Virginia, Mason Dixon Junior Rifle

6. 2,467.6 – Logan Michael of California,  Lincoln Rifle Club

7. 2,465.9 – Ziva Swick of Pennsylvania, Palmyra Junior Rifle Team

8. 2,461.4 – Gabriella Sprague of Pennsylvania, DuBois Rifle & Pistol Club

 

Results for top eight sporter:

1.     2,308.1 – Alexandra Orr of Virginia, Lafayette Gun Club

2.     2,297.1 – Zachary Higgins of Tennessee, Daniel Boone MCJROTC

3.     2,291.3 – Elaine Saint of South Carolina, Walhalla HS Rifle Team

4.     2,282.1 – Brooklyn Zeigler of Tennessee, Daniel Boone MCJROTC

5.     2,279.0 – Clay Crawford of South Dakota, Marshall County Sharpshooters

6.     2,277.9 – Kaitlynn Burrell of South Carolina, Walhalla HS Rifle Team

7.     2,277.8 – Zoe Dissing of South Dakota, Humboldt Sharpshooters

8.     2,271.7 – Elyssa Vazquez of Florida, Mariner HS AJROTC

Next article: Legion air rifle top 16 to compete in finals

Legion air rifle top 16 to compete in finals

Source: July 19, 2024

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The American Legion's Junior 3-Position Air Rifle National Championship finals Saturday morning will see the top eight precision and sporter high school marksmen competing for a championship title in their respective categories. Since Thursday morning, the 30 competitors from across the country have been shooting on the campus of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich., vying for a spot in the finals. They competed in two back-to-back matches Thursday and Friday, firing a total of 240 shots in three positions – prone, standing and kneeling.

The top 16 will fire 10 shots in the standing position for the finals at 9 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, July 20. Follow the results at this link

Kamdyn McFarland of Billings, Mont., is heading into the finals in third position for precision. The 16-year-old high school junior who has been shooting since she was seven is looking forward to the standing position for finals because it's her favorite to shoot in.

"I like standing the most because it came to me the easiest, and I have to practice the least to be good at it. It's just so fun," she said, adding that tomorrow will be her second finals to ever compete in. "I'm going to try to stay calm and not get messed up when everyone is screaming and cheering. With shooting, you have to think that after the shot's down the range there's nothing you can do about it. Think one shot at a time, don't worry about your score or what other people are shooting. This one shot can make a match, or you can lose the match with one shot. So you have to focus. I'm hoping to at least shoot one 10."

When Emme Walrath of Kenosha, Wis., stands on the firing line tomorrow in first position for precision, she's going to remind herself "that I'm just proud and so honored that I can be here and whatever happens, happens. And live in the moment. I will also tell myself to have fun and to let things be what they are. And just let the process take over. I tell myself that beforehand, so I don't have that stress buildup. You just keep on doing what muscle memory does."

Walrath will be an incoming freshman at Georgia Southern University and on the NCAA Division I rifle team. She started air rifle shooting in 2019 and "got better in 2020 because of a lot of practice and my support system ... my mom and dad, and my coaches (Jon Speck and Lucas Kozeniesky, a 2020 Tokyo Olympic silver medalist). And a lot of the success also comes from the mental state. Because this sport doesn't move as much, it's much more of you doing your best to stay still. But while you're staying still a lot of thoughts can go through your head, and it's very hard to keep your mind completely blank and not thinking of anything. It's always a challenge to keep on getting your mental state into that right place and pushing past those mental blocks that you set for yourself. So it's always a constant battle with your own brain in this sport."

It will be the second time for Elaine Saint of Walhalla, S.C., to compete in the Legion's air rifle finals for sporter. She placed fourth in 2022. Now, she heads into the finals in second position.  

Competing in the Legion's Junior 3-Position Air Rifle National Championships two years ago "was one of the coolest experiences that I will always remember," Saint said. "It opened my world up to the whole shooting sports network and that I could go to college for it."

Air rifle never would have happened for Saint if she didn't give it a second chance four years ago as a freshman in high school. She did not want to come back after her first air rifle practice on a then all-girls team. "It was new to me, and I was really shy. I got in the car at the end of practice, and I said, ‘Mom, I don't think I can do this.' She said, ‘Go back the next day and see how you feel.' My coach was so kind, and he helped me get into that comfortable setting with shooting and the girls were very accepting."

Saint did not think she would place as high as second position coming into the Legion's competition because she did a practice match of the whole tournament beforehand and "I did not do very well. But my coach really strives to teach us how to be confident with ourselves. Rifle has so much mental training that it helps me be more confident with myself and it's helped me with my anxiety because I took all the things I learned from camps, from my coach and I put it out in real life. Now instead of trying to reach my personal best in rifle, I'm trying to do that in my entire life. It really taught me to reach for the stars."

Elyssa Vazquez of Cape Coral, Fla., is heading into the finals in eighth position for sporter with a goal "to do the best I can because previous competitions I'm always worried about the score or adding it up. I just really want to relax in this competition because this is my last shooting competition for the summer before the beginning of school (at Mariner High School). I just want to have a new start on a good ending."

Elyssa is at the Legion air rifle championship competing alongside her sister Eryka and teammate Tyler Dennard. The three shoot for Mariner High School AJROTC and recently won the Civilian Marksmanship Program JROTC Nationals, breaking "an 11-year streak of the Army not winning," Eryka said.   

Eryka has graduated high school and is headed into the National Guard while Elyssa will be a junior. For Elyssa with air rifle, "there is a big mental aspect that I still struggle with, but I stick with the sport because it helps me as a person. And a quote I like says something along the lines that just because you won doesn't mean it's over. You'll stay exactly where you are if you don't put in the work you need to do to become the best person you can be."

 

The top eight precision shooters for Saturday's finals and their aggregate score:

1. 2,391 – Emme Walrath of Wisconsin, American Legion Post 295

2. 2,383 – Makenzie Larson of Colorado, American Legion Post 109

3. 2,381 – Kamdyn McFarland of Montana, Yellowstone Rifle Club

4. 2,377 – Hunter Jenkins of West Virginia, Mason Dixon Junior Rifle

5. 2,374 – Samuel Adkins of Pennsylvania, Palmyra Junior Rifle Team

6. 2,367 – Logan Michael of California,  Lincoln Rifle Club

7. 2,364 – Ziva Swick of Pennsylvania, Palmyra Junior Rifle Team

8. 2,360 – Gabriella Sprague of Pennsylvania, DuBois Rifle & Pistol Club

 

The top eight sporter shooters for Saturday's finals and their aggregate score:

1.     2,217.74– Alexandra Orr of Virginia, Lafayette Gun Club

2.     2,213.77 – Elaine Saint of South Carolina, Walhalla HS Rifle Team

3.     2,212.77 – Zachary Higgins of Tennessee, Daniel Boone MCJROTC

4.     2,194.75 – Clay Crawford of South Dakota, Marshall County Sharpshooters

5.     2,193.78 – Zoe Dissing of South Dakota, Humboldt Sharpshooters

6.     2,190.75 – Kaitlynn Burrell of South Carolina, Walhalla HS Rifle Team

7.     2,190.71 – Brooklyn Zeigler of Tennessee, Daniel Boone MCJROTC

8.     2,189.66 – Elyssa Vazquez of Florida, Mariner HS AJROTC

Next article: Arizona Legion post helps distribute 250,000 pounds of fresh produce over 12-month span

Arizona Legion post helps distribute 250,000 pounds of fresh produce over 12-month span

Source: July 18, 2024

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Around the same time that he was checking out getting involved with a local food redistribution program, John J. Morris Post 62 Historian Dwight Amery came across an article in The American Legion Magazine about food insecurity.

The combination of the two helped the Peoria, Ariz., post on the way to passing out nearly a quarter of a million pounds of fresh produce over the past year for pennies per pound.

For the past 12 months, Post 62 has teamed with Borderlands Produce On Wheels With-Out Waste for monthly distributions of fresh fruit and vegetables. Borderlands is Arizona's largest food redistribution program and teams with dozens of nonprofits throughout the state to provide the produce to be distributed in local communities.

Amery said he saw Borderlands posting on Facebook the different locations where its produce would be distributed, which caused him to reach out to the organization to get more information about the post possibly becoming involved with its efforts.

He brought it up with the post membership, which he said had "a lot of interest, because it was doing community outreach. And it was right around the time (immediate Past National Commander Jim) Troiola talked in (The American Legion Magazine) about food insecurity. So when I brought it up, I was holding the magazine up – ‘Right here, the national commander says we should be helping address food insecurity.'"

Amery and then-Post 62 Commander Tom McClain then attended an orientation put on by Borderlands, paving the way for the post to begin distributions.

A semi-truck delivers the food to the post, usually between 3 and 4 a.m. on the day of the distribution. Legion Family volunteers show up after that and began setting up tables and prepping the produce for pick-up.   

The distribution is done via a drive-thru line, with recipients never leaving their cars. Some will pre-buy ahead of time; others had food delivered through DoorDash. Those who receive the produce pay just $15 for up to 70 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables.

"After the first one we did, we all went inside (the post) and collapsed," Amery said. "We said, I've never been so sore, and I've never had this much fun, helping all those people. (The recipients) were like, ‘God bless you. Thank you.'"

More than 250,000 pounds of food distributed over the course of 12 months, with approximately 250-350 cars going through the line each time, some coming from as far away as 40 miles. The post's last distribution effort, on June 29, drew more than 400 vehicles and resulted in traffic into the post being backed up more than two miles.

Amery said the post also would also fill a few tables within the post with boxes of produce for local veterans to pick up. "It's funny. You can tell these guys (are veterans)," he said. "They'd walk over and take three tomatoes and a watermelon. And we'd say, ‘You can take more.' And it was, ‘No, I need to leave some for the next guy to walk in.' It's the brotherhood."

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