Welcome to the Potz - Heartland Post 500
Proudly serving the Crosslake & Fifty Lakes communities.


The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic, mutual-help, war-time veterans organization. A community-service organization which now numbers nearly 3 million members -- men and women -- in nearly 15,000 American Legion Posts worldwide. These Posts are organized into 55 Departments -- one each for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico, and the Philippines.

The American Legion's State headquarters is in St. Paul, with an additional claims office at the Federal Building at Ft. Snelling.

Membership eligibility in The American Legion is based on honorable service with the U.S. Armed Forces between --

April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918 (World War I)
December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946 (World War II)
June 25, 1950 and January 31, 1955 (Korean War)
February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975 (Vietnam War)
August 24, 1982 and July 31, 1984 (Lebanon/Grenada)
December 20, 1989 and January 31, 1990 (Operation Just Cause - Panama)
*August 2, 1990 until the date of the end of hostilities as determined by the government
of the United States (Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm).

*Because eligibility dates remain open, all members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to join The American Legion at this time.


"To protect our history, our pride, our honor, our flag"

FLAG EDUCATION -- The American Legion was instrumental in convening the first National Flag Conference in 1923 where representatives from various patriotic organizations drafted the U.S. Flag Code. The Code established a set of guidelines for civilian flag courtesy and was later adopted by Congress in 1942. Today at the Post level, The American Legion distributes flag etiquette materials and offers instruction and demonstrations for proper care of the American flag. The American Legion also supplies the 16,000 flags placed on the graves of fallen American and Allied soldiers overseas each Memorial Day.

CITIZENS FLAG ALLIANCE -- Founded by The American Legion in 1994, the Citizens Flag Alliance is a national coalition of organizations and individual citizens working for a constitutional amendment to allow the states and the federal government to enact flag protection legislation. Thus far, 49 states have passed "memorializing resolutions" calling on the U.S. Congress to pass a flag amendment and send the measure back to the states for ratification. More than 110 organizations have joined the Citizens Flag Alliance. The House of Representatives passed a flag protection amendment in June 1995. The U.S. Senate rejected the amendment in December 1995. The Citizens Flag Alliance continues the campaign to provide the American Flag protection from intentional acts of physical desecration.


"To preserve and enhance patriotism and education"

SCHOOL MEDAL AWARDS -- Under the National Americanism Commission, The American Legion conducts many programs to foster knowledge and respect among young people about our nation and its institutions. Students showing the highest qualities of citizenship are recognized with an American Legion School Medal Award. In the 1995-96 reporting year, more than 33,000 boys and girls in elementary, junior, and senior high schools were recognized for their commitment to honor, courage, scholarship, leadership, and service.

EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE -- Thousands of high school students benefit from the Legion's yearly publication Need a Lift? Praised by educators as the most complete and timely handbook available on loan, scholarship, and career opportunities for high school students, Need a Lift? provides an annual financial road map for college-bound students. More than 24,000 guidance offices in private and public high schools receive copies of the booklet, which are mailed free-of-charge to schools by The American Legion. Sample copies are sent to local Legion posts where they are distributed to local libraries and youth-service organizations. Individuals can order a copy of Need a Lift? for $3 from The American Legion, National Emblem Sales, P.O. Box 1050, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46206.

THE SAMSUNG AMERICAN LEGION SCHOLARSHIP -- A $5 million endowment to establish a scholarship program for descendants of American war veterans was announced in July 1995 by Samsung, Korea's largest corporation. The scholarship program will be administered by The American Legion. Ten scholarships were awarded in 1996 to students involved in American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State programs.

THE AMERICAN LEGION BOYS STATE AND BOYS NATION -- At the state level, 49 Departments of The American Legion host The American Legion Boys State programs each summer for outstanding high school juniors. Nearly 28,000 young men were sponsored by local American Legion Posts to attend the week-long government education program last year. Two outstanding leaders from each Department Boys State program are selected to attend The American Legion Boys Nation in Washington, D.C. There, they learn the mechanics of the federal government by role-playing as senators and representatives in a complex dual-party system. President Bill Clinton, representing Arkansas at The American Legion Boys Nation before his senior year in high school, met then-President John F. Kennedy in 1963 through the program. The American Legion Auxiliary conducts parallel programs for young women through Girls State and Girls Nation.

JUNIOR SHOOTING SPORTS -- The American Legion recognizes that guns are a part of sports and recreation in our society and strives to teach youngsters the proper use of firearms before accidents occur. Many local Posts sponsor Junior Shooting Clubs which provide training in gun safety and marksmanship for students ages 14 though 20. The Legion hosts an annual national air rifle tournament that draws more than 1,200 contestants annually.

AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL -- More than 89,000 players compete in American Legion Baseball every year. Since the program began in 1925, youngsters have been able to develop their physical fitness and learn good sportsmanship while honing their baseball skills. Champions from the state level meet on the national level in a competitive but good-spirited battle for The American Legion World Series crown. Today, more than 60 percent of all professional baseball players and 34 retired professionals enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, are former American Legion Baseball players. In the 1995-96 reporting year, Legion Posts around the country spent more than $16 million to sponsor 4,800 baseball teams.

ORATORICAL CONTEST -- Each year thousands of high school students gain a deeper understanding of the U.S. Constitution and share that knowledge with a vast audience through the American Legion High School Oratorical Contest. Hundreds of students win scholarship awards at the Post level for speeches that explore the substance and meaning of the Constitution. Winners from the Post level can advance through district, state, and national competitions. The three national finalists compete for scholarships ranging from $14,000 to a top prize of $18,000.

BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA -- The American Legion adopted The Boy Scouts of America program at the Legion's first annual national convention in 1919. Early on, The American Legion recognized the opportunity to build patriotic attitudes and strong moral character among youths through the Scouting program, and Legionnaires continue to support the organization today. American Legion Posts sponsor more than 2,400 Scout units and 73,000 Scouts at an annual cost of $1.9 million. Each Post is encouraged to nominate a local Eagle Scout for The American Legion's Eagle Scout of the Year award and an $8,000 college scholarship. Three runners-up receive scholarships of $2,000 each.

Eagle Scout of the Year applications may be obtained by forwarding your request to: e-mail. Completed applications are due to the Department (State) Headquarters no later than March 1. Contact your Department Headquarters concerning additional processing information of the applications.

UNIFORMED GROUPS -- Last year, American Legion Posts spent $2.7 million sponsoring drill teams, color guards, and marching groups, all of which brought spectacle and color to local events around the country. The finest Legion bands in the nation vie for top honors in the annual American Legion Concert Band Competition held at the National Convention.

LOCAL SCHOLARSHIPS -- To assist young men and women in continuing their education beyond high school, local American Legion Posts gave more than $3.6 million in scholarships during the 1995-96 reporting year.


"To help all children realize their full potential"

CHILDREN AND YOUTH PROGRAMS -- In the 1995-96 reporting year, American Legion Posts spent more than $5.1 million on programs to help America's young, including teenage suicide and drug abuse prevention, missing children, and many others. Also, Posts around the country volunteered to assist local immunization services as part of The American Legion's Child Immunization program.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE -- In the 1920s The American Legion began a national program of Temporary Financial Assistance to keep the children of deceased or disabled veterans at home rather than in institutions. This cash aid is still available for cases not covered by subsequent state and federal programs for the needy. In 1995, the TFA program provided more than $327,089 to 652 families, benefiting almost 1,432 children.

CHILD WELFARE FOUNDATION -- The American Legion established the Child Welfare Foundation in 1954 as a separate corporation to fund efforts that dealt with problems affecting children. The only source of income for the Foundation comes from contributions by individual members of the Legion family, which includes the Legion, the Auxiliary, the Eight and Forty, and the Sons of The American Legion. Last year, grants totaling nearly $300,000 were awarded to 14 not-for-profit programs that benefit children.


"To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America"

ROTC -- The Reserve Officer Training Corps, established in 1916, has long been the largest source of junior officers for all branches of the military. The American Legion traditionally has supported ROTC and has remained at the forefront of legislative efforts to retain and expand the program. During the Vietnam War era, The American Legion curbed efforts to eliminate the Junior ROTC program and lobbied to increase the number of college ROTC scholarships and subsistence payments to ROTC students. In addition to legislative support, the Legion sponsors ROTC medals as an incentive for outstanding ROTC cadets. Last year, 7,224 cadets were recognized with medals from local American Legion Posts.

POLICE CADETS -- In cooperation with the state police and highway patrol, several American Legion Departments conduct annual training sessions to acquaint teenagers with law enforcement procedures and concerns. The week-long sessions feature training in firearms and water safety, instruction on legal codes and techniques, as well as other equipment. Participants in the program learn the responsibilities of law-abiding citizens and many develop an interest in law enforcement as a career.

BLOOD DONATIONS -- The American Legion remains the largest identifiable blood donor group in America, contributing more than 98,000 units of blood to the national supply in 1995-96. The Legion sponsors blood drives during the holidays when accident rates are high and hospital blood supplies are low. At each National Convention, the Legion sponsors a drive which brings the gift of life to countless people in the host city.

CRIME PREVENTION -- Many Posts have a crime prevention chairperson who works with the National Crime Prevention Council and local law enforcement agencies to set up effective crime prevention programs in their communities. Also, the Legion recognizes outstanding law enforcement officers and firefighters for their service to the community. Free crime prevention tips are available through The American Legion's National Security-Foreign Relations Division, 1608 K Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20006.

FOREIGN RELATIONS -- The American Legion, as a grassroots organization reaching throughout the land, recognizes the unprecedented changes sweeping the world and urges the U.S. government to adopt a bipartisan national security/foreign relations policy of "Democratic Activism" promoting democratic values, maintaining adequate military strength to deter or defeat aggression, cooperating with allies, encouraging free and fair trade, and assisting developing nations. Since the world operates on a national basis, U.S. sovereignty must not be abridged unless required by important U.S. national security interests.


"To deal with economic issues that affect all veterans"

JOBS -- At the national level, The American Legion's National Economic Commission monitors economic legislation and regulations that affect veterans' preference in federal employment. The Commission was established to ensure that veterans have the opportunity to provide for their economic necessities and those of their dependents.

Departments participate in three national employer awards to recognize corporations that excel at hiring disabled workers, the elderly, and veterans. The Veteran Employer of the Year Awards honor outstanding employers of veterans in large, medium, and small businesses. The Commission also recognizes Local Veterans Employment representatives and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program service officers for outstanding service to unemployed or under-employed veterans. Legion Posts, Districts, and Departments carry similar activities to their communities, counties, and states.

As part of our program to provide access to jobs for qualified veterans, The American Legion offers links to two important resources. America's Job Bank contains over 4,000 jobs which are updated daily. This list also contains jobs listed by federal contractors, who are required to give preference in hiring to qualified veterans. The U.S. Department of Labor will also soon offer a method for sorting jobs by federal contractor. A list of all federal positions currently open is available at USA Jobs. Veterans who desire a position with the Federal government should visit this site frequently. Methods for making application for federal employment have been greatly simplified recently. A Standard Form 171 is no longer necessary, and a personal resume is perfectly acceptable.

VETERANS' EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES ACT OF 1997 -- In January, Congressman John L. Mica (FL) introduced H.R. 240. The American Legion supports this important legislation because it will accomplish the following.

* Create an effective, efficient and user-friendly redress system for those whose veterans' preference rights have been violated.

* Remove artificial barriers that bar qualified veterans from competing for federal jobs.

* Prevent unfair personnel practices that prevent veterans from exercising their job protection rights during reductions in force.

* Enhance a veteran's opportunities for finding other jobs during a reduction in force.

* Extend veterans' preference to certain non-political jobs in the legislative branch, the judicial branch and the White House.

* Make violation of veterans' preference laws a prohibited personnel practice.

* Provide veterans' preference to men and women serving in Bosnia, Croatia and Macedonia.

For a pamphlet that will answer your questions on Veterans' Preference in Federal hiring, please contact the National Economic Commission, The American Legion, 1608 K St., NW, Washington, DC 20006 or order it throughe-mail.


"To help veterans maintain and understand benefit claims"

VETERANS AFFAIRS -- The Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission is a cornerstone of The American Legion. It focuses on a primary reason for the founding of the organization. VA&R activities include overseeing federally mandated programs provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for veterans and their dependents. VA&R Services include assistance with medical care, claims and appeals, insurance programs, burial benefits, and veterans employment. The VA&R staff also maintains liaison with administrators of state veterans affairs programs. Other efforts of VA&R are geared toward maintaining and improving veterans benefits by working with congressional committees, the executive branch of the federal government, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other federal agencies.

G.I. LIFE INSURANCE -- The American Legion's Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division represents ex-service people and their beneficiaries in presenting and reviewing claims for G.I. life insurance provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Five Legion staff members assigned to VA Insurance Centers in Philadelphia and St. Paul, Minn., help veterans and their families with government insurance matters. The American Legion is the only veterans service organization with staff representatives assigned to VA insurance centers. These representatives assist all veterans with their claims, Legionnaires and non-members alike.

REHABILITATION -- Volunteers from The American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary, and the Sons of The American Legion have brought cheer and comfort to hospitalized veterans over the years. Legion volunteers give more than one million hours of service to disabled veterans annually. Field Representatives from The American Legion's Washington office make systematic site visits to evaluate the Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers, nursing home care units and outpatient clinics. The Field Representatives report resource needs and areas for improvement to the VA Central Office. The American Legion also has a network of Service Officers located in each of the Department of Veterans Affairs regional offices throughout the nation, including Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Twice a year, special training schools for the Department Service Officers are offered in Washington, D.C. and Indianapolis. The schools help the officers perfect the manner in which they present veterans claims before the VA.


"Our devotion to mutual helpfulness"

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE -- Since The American Legion's National Emergency Fund was reestablished in 1989 in the wake of Hurricane Hugo, the fund has provided more than $800,000 in grants and assistance to members of The American Legion family during times of disaster. The American Legion had resolved at its 1925 National Convention that the Legion should assist in emergency relief efforts whenever and wherever necessary. The National Emergency Fund is supported through donations from members of The American Legion family.

For more information on the history, programs, policies,developments, positions and future goals of The American Legion,consider The American Legion Extension Institute