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American Legion looks to a busy 2019 in service work

MADISON – Now that 2018 activities are complete, American Legion, Post 229 in Madison is planning for another busy season during 2019.

“Post 229 has initiated the formation of a local American Legion Women’s Auxiliary open to female service members, wives or dependents,” Legionnaire spokesperson Richard Blanton said. “The post is also heavily involved with the Forever Young Senior Veterans organization, Quilts of Valor Foundation and Alabama American Legion Baseball.”

The annual American Legion Oratorical Competition will open in Madison County on Jan. 26 in Council Chambers of Madison City Hall. Subsequent division-, state- and national-level contests will occur at roughly two-week intervals.

Post 229 annually sponsors high school students for American Legion Boys State, set for May 26 through June 1 at the University of Alabama. Officials choose rising seniors across Alabama, based on leadership, diligence and strong morals in their work.

“Student delegates will build new friendships, participate in a mock government and hear meet a diverse array of Alabama leaders, such as Congressmen, state-elected officials, business and civic leaders and others,” Blanton said. Boys State delegates can join interest groups reviewing law school, law enforcement and aerospace academies, lobbyists, the constitution and environmental concerns.

Memorial Day observances will start with flag placement on veterans’ graves on May 18. For the May 27 holiday, the public will gather at Wilke Veterans Park on Front Street in Madison at 11 a.m. State representative and veteran Mike Ball will be guest speaker. In addition, legionnaires will conduct Poppy Day handouts at Madison-area Walmarts during Memorial and Veterans Day weekends.

Supporting youth organizations is high in their priorities, including Boy Scout Troop 201, Girls Scout Troop 926 and annual donations to each Scout organization, along with Army Junior ROTC programs at James Clemens and Sparkman high schools and Air Force JROTC at Bob Jones High School. Legionnaires recognize JROTC cadets during their school’s award ceremonies.

To earn Eagle rank, one Scout constructed a fire pit in veterans’ park for formal retirement ceremonies of worn or out-of-service American flags. In a September 2018 ceremony, Legionnaires properly disposed of 50-plus flags.

Recently, the post recognized law enforcement and firefighter first responders in Madison. Post 229 helped in planning, funding and supporting a visit for the Wall That Heals, a traveling Vietnam memorial.

Following statewide membership revitalization, Post 229 acquired 27 American Legion members, previously listed as at-large. Post 229’s membership has increased to about 310 members — an all-time high since founding in 1968.

For information about Women’s Auxiliary, call Jean Downs at 256-929-8450 or email jean.downs@teledyne or visit AmericanLegionPost229.org.

Post 229’s mailing address is P.O. Box 194, Madison AL 35758. For more information, call 256-258-8534 or visit AmericanLegionPost229.org or Facebook/AmericanLegionPost229.

Post 229 meets monthly on second Thursdays at Lunar Lodge, 740 Eastview Drive, Madison at 7 p.m.

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