Commander's Past Messages

August 2020

Thank you, Thank you! …to all the officers, committee people, and members who made 2019-2020 fiscal year a success.  Thank you also to all those that stepped up to lead our Legion Family through the 2020-2021 fiscal year.    I know they are all excited to see the year off to a great start and will work hard to assure the 2020-2021 year is the best year yet!

As many of you know, our Legion Family consists of Legionnaires, Auxiliary members, members of the Sons of The Legion (SAL), and the Legion Riders.  Each of these family members have a specific mission and specific talents to complete the mission.  I cannot stress enough to always be thinking about helping our Legion Family grow.  For instance:  When you are standing in line at the Hardware Store and notice someone wearing a tee-shirt or hat that would give you a clue that they may have some connection with the military, welcome them to an appropriate Legion Family meeting.  Our Legion General meeting is on the second Thursday of each month.  Our Legion Auxiliary and Sons of the Legion Meetings are both on the first Tuesday of the month.  Finally, our Legion Riders meeting is at 1000hrs on the third Sunday of each month.

Remember, our Legion Family mission is to support and care for our Veterans and children.  This work is most important and we need many members to carry out our mission successfully. One of the ways we carry out our mission is through our support of the many legion programs created to help our Veterans and children.  To name a few, PROJECT: VetRelief which seeks to offer financial and other support to our Veterans experiencing hardships.  PROJECT VetRelief is also very involved with trying to stem the tide of Veteran suicides, currently occurring at the rate of 22 per day.  Another is the school medal program that recognizes achievement at our local schools.  And others, such as our youth baseball and junior shooters help teach our young people skills while learning to function in a team environment.  There are many, many programs…too many to list here.  Suffice it to say, if you have an interest or a passion to help, there is Legion program that you will find challenging and fun.

Even with COVID-19, we managed to have an exceptional amount of participation year to date.  In fact, our elections had the largest participation by far, in the history of the post.  Many also participated in our Legion Riders 5th District Relief event that helped raise money for our Posts in crisis due to the COVID-19 shut downs.

I know many of us are tired of all things virus.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel and we will get back to some semblance of normal before you know it.  With this in mind, please remember that all meetings and Legion Family events still require masks and social distancing.  Please don’t let that stop us from carrying on our important work and our camaraderie with our fellow Legion Family members.

I am looking forward to a great year in which we can do our very best to help our Veterans and children while growing our Mandarin Fallen Heroes Legion Family.

Stay safe and God bless you.  And God bless America!

April 2018

What a great early bird dinner! It was such a good time of great fellowship, food, fun, and dancing! It really sparked a sense of urgency to act on our vision of having our own post. Well done, Sheri!


We are working diligently creating ideas to raise capital to fund the launch of our own post. One is the sporting goods raffle. Sales are going well, and I would like to encourage everyone to help sell the tickets as soon as possible. Let’s run through the finish line and not let up.


We should have all the details for the Harley Davidson raffle at the April meeting.


We are formalizing a joint letter from Post 372, Squadron 372, Riders 372, and Unit 372 to be distributed to all of the posts in Florida asking them to contribute to our building fund. Each post that donates will be recognized by displaying their names at the entrance of our new post. My hopes are high that every post will be generous and we will be excellent receivers.


We are actively looking for the right location and continually working on the Post 372 Brand. I am starting to imagine what it will be like to have the next early bird dinner at our own post: We walk in and smell the food cooking, the air is smoke-free, the bathrooms are clean, the bar is stocked, the music is playing, cold beer and tasty spirits are being served, and boisterous laughter fills the air as we come together and celebrate.



March 2018

Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You! For Lots and Lots and Lots of hard work by many comrades at Post 372 over the last month.

Thank you, Joe Maltese, for your leadership and forming a fantastic team of leaders and riders that helped to charter the Post 372 American Legion Riders. The Charter was done on the 18th of February, and it was a first-class ceremony that was well attended from all over the district. The Mandarin/ St. Johns Elks Lodge is such a great host; they not only provided a great place to launch the Charter, but they also served a great breakfast.  This event was Historic, and I was so glad I was there to witness it.


The 5th District Oratorical contest was a great success; although our candidate did not win, Post 372 was well represented by its heart of helpfulness. Thank you, Don Severns, for helping to set up the seating and tables and also saying the prayer at the beginning of the contest.


Thank you, Sheri Rodriguez, for volunteering to be an escort during the contest and for tabulating the scores at the end, and especially for cooking and bringing those tasty brownies. I can’t forget Don’s wife Beverly and my wonderful wife Marilyn, who stepped in to help set up all the snacks and drinks. You all helped to make it great event!

Thank you, Tom Schneider, for working so hard to recruit and organize the Boys State selection process. I can’t wait to hear the report of selectees after the interviews on the 24th of February.

On Presidents Day, we did two simultaneous Hot Dog Recruiting Rallies at two different Ace Hardware locations that were a huge success in my book. Thank you to everyone who participated.


Thank you so much to Frank Nichols, Buck O’Connor, Steve Sullivan, Dennis Brown, and Matthew Miller who are working really hard on the Branding Committee to continue to steer us in the right direction to build a solid foundation so that we will be most effective in influencing our community and someday soon have our own Post Home.  


The two Membership Rallies formerly known as Hot Dog Giveaways on President’s Day were a success and the Sporting Goods Raffle is going really well. Please help us to finish selling these raffle tickets as soon as possible.  We are in negotiations to raffle a Motorcycle, and hopefully we will have all the details at the next General Meeting. Raffling a Motorcycle is Awesome but is also a huge commitment and will require all of us to work together as a team! We can do this!!!!!!!!!!


Sheri is doing a fantastic job organizing the Early Bird Dinner that will be March 10th at Post 233. Please check your emails for the invitation and this newsletter for details. This should be lots of fun and fellowship!  I think this will be a great opportunity to taste what it will be like to have our own Post Home.


As always, I want to thank all of you at Post 372 for all that you do!

February 2018

Fast and furious is how I would describe the start of 2018. We are continually increasing our membership numbers and expanding our base of programs. Joe Maltese is doing a great job establishing the American Legion Riders and the Sons of the Legion for post 372. This is creating a lot of energy and excitement that will translate into not only more members but also a wider net of positive influence for the Mandarin Community and Post 372.

A big shout of “Well Done” to all that participated and volunteered at the Oratorical contest that was held on the 20th of January. I want to thank and recognize Don Severn for all he has done to make this happen, “you were the glue that held it all together this year”.

A special Thanks to Arthur Bides who came in at the final hour and finished with a great program and for finding superb contestants to participate.

Congratulations Evan Collins! Evan, a senior from Ridgeview High School, will represent us at the District competition on February 10th at 11:00am at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum located at 101 W. 1st Street. The winner of the District Competition. Should Evan win this competition, he will move on to the Northern Area competition,  and hopefully all the way to National.

I would like to encourage all members of Post 372 to attend these types of events.  It blessed me  immensely  to listen to the speeches, gave me hope for the next generation, and provided satisfaction in knowing that Post 372 sponsored this event.

Raising funds over the next few months is going to be a big focus at our next general meeting. Building a solid foundation is adding fixed annual expenses to our budget and we are going to need some help from our members to raise funds. Two Hot Dog giveaways on February 19th and a $500 Sporting Goods Gift Card raffle will be on the agenda. We will also be discussing our Early Bird Dinner that coming up in March that should be a lot of fun and fellowship!

As always, I want to thank all of you at Post 372 for all that you do!

January 2018

It is hard to believe that I have already been the Commander of Post 372 for 6 months. We have accomplished a lot and I am super excited about the next 6 months and what we can accomplish as a team. There is a lot to do. Our membership is growing, and we are focused on making sure that everyone is made to feel welcomed and needed.  Our members are the heartbeat of the Post and we should never lose sight of that. 

Another area of focus for this year is to build a foundation that is built on a rock, not sand. In order to someday have our own post we must continue to lay the foundation of programs and procedures that are clearly defined and can be passed to the next Command in a duplicatable fashion. Our branding committee is working on defining and fine-tuning who we are as a post and the direction we are heading.

As we continue to grow and add members and programs like the Sons of the Legion and the Legion Riders it is extremely important that we keep our Spirit of Comradeship and keep focused on our purpose. Our purpose is to promote the American Legion’s Spirit of helpfulness to our fallen soldiers’ families and to provide a place for those that are still alive and on active duty to have a place to continue to serve their Country and their community in such a way that we will continue promote the American Values that this country was founded on.


I want to thank everyone for all that you do and for those that can, I want to encourage you to do even more over the next six months to make this an even better year. We are making a difference in our community, in our state and in our Country.  Well Done!