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Sabadosa: American Legion can use your support

Chuck Sulek  |  Reggie Sabadosa/For Sun-Times Media

Chuck Sulek | Reggie Sabadosa/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 21, 2014 6:13AM



I recently spoke with Evergreen Park’s Chuck Sulek about his involvement with American Legion Evergreen Park Post 854.

Sulek is a U.S. Air Force veteran and a recently retired over-the-road trucker. He fills his newfound freedom with a part-time job along with being the post’s senior vice commander and event planner.

Sulek appreciates the camaraderie with fellow veterans and enjoys helping out with the social events and fundraising efforts sponsored by the post. His personal mission is to promote a fresh awareness of the American Legion and to encourage some of the younger veterans to become active members.

Frankly, he is worried about the future of the American Legion unless newer members start taking on leadership roles.

In case you were unaware, the American Legion is a chartered organization providing financial, social and emotional support to members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and their dependents. Established in 1919, the Legion is said to have evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I.

Since then, it has become one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States.

But did you also know ...

Over the years, the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America by fighting for and gaining hundreds of benefits for veterans.

It also has produced many important programs for children and youth. Shortly after the American Legion was chartered in 1919, a resolution was passed in support of Boy Scouts of America — the Legion’s first officially recognized national youth activity. Today, it sponsors more than 2,500 Scouting units across the country.

In 1921, the Legion’s efforts resulted in the creation of the U.S. Veterans Bureau, which was the forerunner of today’s Veterans Administration. To this day, the Legion continues to lobby for funding covering medical, disability, education and other benefits for its veterans.

In 1942, it was through the efforts of the Legion that Congress adopted the “Flag Code” which protects the U.S. flag from physical desecration.

In 1982, the Legion presented a $1 million check to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for the construction of the Wall in Washington, D.C. It was the largest single contributor to this project.

Sulek said Post 854 visits its aging veterans at the Manteno VA facility twice a month and runs their bingo. While there, members often distribute toiletries and other personal care items to the vets.

“Post 854’s Women’s Auxiliary is a very productive component of the American Legion Post,” Sulek said.

In fact, its oldest World War II female member — Rona Cox — is a regular at the bimonthly meetings. Cox is a past commander of the post and of the Women’s Auxiliary.

They also welcome community volunteers — especially teens seeking service hours or Eagle Scout candidates seeking ideas for a service project.

American Legion Post 854 is at 9701 S. Kedzie Ave. in Evergreen Park and has its 7:30 p.m. general meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.

Along with Sulek, Cmdr. Bruce Petersen, Adjutant Bill Cooper, and senior finance officer Jim Holtz invite all veterans to stop by to meet the members and consider joining.

Fundraising done by the American Legion is in support of the Wounded Warrior Project. This is a veterans service organization that provides various types of assistance to wounded veterans following the events of 9/11.

One of Post 854’s upcoming fundraiser events is a July 25 steak fry. The post’s big event is the Gleneagles Golf Outing planned for Patriot Day, Sept. 11. They are seeking both sponsors and participants for it. The cost is $200 to sponsor a hole.

The inaugural golf outing is for all family and friends of the Legion, which includes military personnel — both active and retired.

Gleneagles Country Club is at 13070 McCarthy Road in Lemont. Check-in is at 9 a.m., and golf will start at 10 a.m.

Golf tickets are $75 and include a cart and dinner. Dinner-only tickets are $30. Golf tickets at the event will be $80.

For information on both events, contact Sulek at (708) 334-9834 or call the post at (708) 422-9513.

The American Legion’s success ultimately depends upon an active membership, along with member participation and volunteerism. Please consider supporting them.



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