Generously volunteering his time and resources, Eagle Scout Edward "Kirk" Ucinski IV set out to help our military veterans in need. Through The American Legion, Kirk embarked on this noble undertaking in Missouri's Tenth District. His goal was to help the veterans in his community, and he did so in an inventive and skillful way.
While there are many existing programs to help veterans, Kirk wanted to help do something original and personal. He also wanted something that he could do on a "shoestring" budget. Without any money, Kirk raised funds by having candy-basket auctions during bingo nights at his local post. Over time, he earned a modest amount of money and used it to help the veterans in financial need. Since the district and post service officers took care of monetary issues and VA took care of medical issues, Kirk used his funds to help in a different way.
Working with the Tenth District vice commander, Kirk provided every eligible veteran in need he encountered with a one-year membership to a local post. This started when a shuttle bus of veterans arrived at a local Veterans Day appreciation event. They were in VA care and did not have a lot of additional funding. Expressing a desire and interest to be in The American Legion, each one of them received a membership, compliments of Kirk Ucinski.
This would later expand when Kirk took on a monumental task of helping our World War II veterans. He set out to make sure every living World War II veteran in the Tenth District who lapsed in the payment of their dues were paid in full by the next fiscal year. Kirk had the understanding that nonpayment could have happened for a variety of reasons. Rate increases and accessibility to the local posts were two very big reasons for members not renewing. With aging veterans, some may have forgotten to renew, while others may not be able to pay. Several of the World War II veterans had changed their residency, while others were presently in nursing homes. Kirk made sure that no one was forgotten just because they could no longer participate due to their age or health. He made sure the "greatest generation" would always be close to our hearts and in our thoughts and prayers. For these chivalrous and greathearted actions, Kirk was lauded by Missouri's department commander, Hallie Williams, for his consummate effort and diligence.