The COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted the routine activities of most American Legion posts, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t found a way to adapt and overcome. John M. Perry Post 1044, a Rockland County post in the Lower Hudson Valley region of New York state, is one example of a post that’s succeeded in supporting the needs of the local community despite the challenges of the pandemic.
In a typical year, Post 1044 would normally drive across the Hudson River to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt VA Hospital in Montrose and hold two or three ward parties for the veterans. These ward parties usually include a catered luncheon, soft drinks, home-baked desserts and professional entertainment. But the pandemic forced the cancellation of a ward party planned to be held at the post in May, and of a BBQ scheduled to be held at the hospital in August.
Mindful of the hospital’s safety restrictions, the members post found a way to brighten the lives of the vets at the hospital. Starting in May the post has sponsored monthly luncheons at the hospital for the PTSD ward veterans. These luncheons provide an enjoyable break from their normal routine, gives them some very good catered food from local restaurants, and reminds the veterans The American Legion and our Perry post members care about them.
The pandemic also forced changes in how the post presented scholarships in 2020. In a normal year the post awards $7,000 to $8,000 of scholarships to children of post members and the local high school. Typically, the scholarships are handed out by post leadership during a senior class award ceremony at the high school. But for 2020 an in-person award ceremony could not be held since the high school was holding all its classes virtually. Instead, the post Commander and the scholarship chairman recorded a video award presentation used as part of a virtual award ceremony held in early June.