American Legion for a younger generation

November 11, 2008 8:36:35 PM PST
San Francisco's Veterans Building, home to its American Legion posts was a pretty lonely place on Veterans Day. Inside the tiny office of Post 40, Robert Lando said most of the membership is too old to show up to events.

According to his Lando's records, there are just over 300 members, but on most days, he is lucky if seven show up for the meeting.

A year and a half ago, Army Captain Michael Gerold was just back from Afghanistan and was walking by the Veterans Building when he had an idea.

"There was a void here in the San Francisco Area for veterans' service organizations that provide educational, vocational, medical services and support for our young men and women as well as social activities," Gerold said.

So Gerold founded American Legion Post 9-11 for veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Major Christopher Warner, an Iraq veteran, says Post 9-11 has infused new life into the American Legion, with activities geared towards younger members.

"Sky diving, motorcycles, scuba diving, all those type of activities that the younger generation you know early, mid-20s, early 30s, that type of things that they want to do," Warner said.

Post 9-11 members do not spend much time meeting at the Veterans Building.

"Typically our meetings are actually held during our activities, so they keep us engaged and they're a lot of fun," Captain Dennis Ansbro said.

Gerold has received more than 100 calls from other American Legion posts around the country, asking how they too can model the next generation of the American Legion.


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