WESTMINSTER, MD – Want a good way to bring Veterans in to your post home? Invite them in. This is just what Carroll Post #31 in Westminster, Maryland did and the response was amazing.
On Saturday April 28th, Carroll Post #31 held its first Veterans Benefits Fair and Post Open House, inviting all Veterans in the community to attend, and they so did. About 130 Veterans from across the area came to Carroll Post #31 as the American Legion partnered with the Veterans Services Bureau and the Department of Veterans Affairs to host this event. As an open house, the Post welcomed all Veterans regardless of American Legion membership status, or if they belonged to a fellow American Legion post. Also in attendance was the Department of Maryland Service Officer, Adrian Gamboa, who helped facilitate the applications of the new VA Veterans ID card with fellow Legionnaires assisting him.
While intended to be a four-hour event, the day started earlier than expected and quickly the banquet hall filled with our Nation’s heroes. The Post provided light snacks and refreshments as participants waited for help in processing the new VA Veterans ID Card. Many of these Veterans either don’t have access to a computer to process the online application or had difficulties in doing so. Due to the large number of participants, many had to be rescheduled for another time even with the event going over two-hours past the scheduled time.
All in all, the day was a success! Many Veterans became familiar with the American Legion, had successful VA Veterans ID card applications submitted, and obtained some much-needed VA claims assistance. In fact, the VA interviewed 32 Veterans and helped process 21 claims during the day. Veteran Ben Schuessler commented via the Post’s social media posting: “Thank you again so much for hosting this today. I got more done in 30 minutes then I had been able to in the past 10 years. Thank you so much!” Another social media post from Veteran Carl Blessing stated: “Thanks for the opportunity to accomplish in 1 hour something I have been unable complete in 3 years.” These were a few of the appreciative remarks made during the event.
While not intended to be a membership drive, the Post benefited by adding 7 new members into their ranks, and neighboring Hampstead Post #200 received a few too. Most importantly though, the purpose of the American Legion was executed and Veterans in need were cared for.
Carroll Post #31 is located at 2 Sycamore Street Westminster, Maryland. For more information on Carroll Post #31 visit them at www.CarrollPost31.org. Carroll County is home to 5 American Legion Posts: Carroll Post #31 – Westminster, Hesson-Snider Post #120 – Taneytown, Gold Star Post #191 – Mount Airy, Hampstead Post #200 – Hampstead & Sykesville Memorial Post #223 – Sykesville.