February 13, 2018
To all Post 411 members,
On January 20th, 1961 John F. Kennedy took the Oath of Office to become our 35th President. During his inauguration speech he said this now famous quote, "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." Look around you now. You, along with your fellow Legionnaires, answered that call. Every one of you chose, for whatever reason, to serve your country in its time of need. You wore the uniform of this country's Armed Forces. Now, as then, you have made a choice, you chose to be Legionnaires and to continue serving your country. On April 10th, 2018 we will gather to make yet another choice, to nominate and start the process of electing new officers for the 2018-2019 year.
Last year by your good grace and somewhat questionable judgement, you elected me to be your Commander for the 2017-2018 year. During my tenure I have learned many lessons and one of them was that a year is NOT enough time to accomplish many of the goals I set for myself. There were many goals I set for myself to complete for the good of the Legion. Complete the licensing to conduct American Legion Bingo and start a Capital Funds Campaign being two of the most important goals as these programs would have a lasting, positive impact on our Post. Sadly, I have not completed my mission. Working together we are nearing the finish line but we are not there yet! A year is just not enough time to design and implement any program with lasting effects. So, as we nominate new officers I want you to seriously consider holding your office, if elected, for 2 years at least.
Of the officers you see before you today, some are stepping down, some are moving to bigger and better things and some still will seek re-election. Anyone can be elected as an officer and a representative of this Post. All positions are available to be filled. You may think you cannot perform the duties and responsibilities of these positions, but I say you are wrong. Our 1st Vice, Jerry Holbrook did not want to be 1st Vice. I had to talk him into running by promising I wouldn't make him do membership drives. I told him if he sought the office he would NOT need to do membership drives because Post 411 will perform its mission and support of the Four Pillars; members would come looking for us. Jerry was elected and took the position by the horns, sending our membership material, networking and ensuring our reporting was correct. It is through his efforts, as well as those who brought in new members, that Post 411 is ranked # 1 in the 7th District. Legionnaires are leaving other posts to become members of our Post! Our 2nd Vice, Jim Anderson didn't know the first thing about PR but he stepped up and made the position his anyway by working to create social events for members to gather in comradeship, other than just on meeting night. He created the Chili & Bean Cook-off that was a complete success and is now part of our yearly events calendar as the Vice Commander's Chili & Bean Invitational Cook-off, now open to all veterans. I could go on and on listing the accomplishments of each officer, but we have been basking in the glow of their accomplishments all year!
Accomplishments, that is a word that each of us should be thinking about. Who should I elect in each position? Am I going to step up and run for a position? Do I seek office for personal gain or for the good of the Legion? These are serious questions that we must all ask ourselves for without strong officers willing to perform the duties and responsibilities of their office the Post will cease to exist. I am proud of this Post and its Legionnaires. I am proud to have served as Commander for the 2017-2018 year. But it will take more than pride to continue leading this post into glory and greatness and make no mistake glory and greatness is what this Post will achieve.
I already know that the members of this Post are hardworking Legionnaires but now I am looking for those individuals who will show dedication and loyalty by stepping forward and running for any one of the officer positions.
So, I put to you Post 411, Ask not what your American Legion can do for you but what you can do for your American Legion.
Douglas R. Burrell,
Conroe American Legion Post 411