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Lynbrook American Legion Post 335 makes a public push for new members

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In an effort to bolster membership, representatives of Lynbrook American Legion Post 335 appeared at Monday’s village board meeting to share all that the organization has to offer with potential new recruits.

Lynbrook’s new recruitment effort is using a poster that depicts Uncle Sam in American Legion attire with the saying, “I want you … veteran,” similar to the posters commonly used to recruit soldiers in the 1940s at the height of World War II.

On July 30, President Donald Trump signed the new Legion Act, which was approved by Congress and permits all veterans who served from 1941 to present to join the American Legion, which now includes Cold War veterans, who were previously ineligible.

“We are celebrating our 100th anniversary this year,” said Steve Grogan, the post’s historian and public relations director, standing at the lectern, which displayed the Uncle Sam poster. “ ... As of last month, there are a lot more veterans that are allowed to be a part of the American Legion.”

Post 335, founded in 1919, was one of the original 16 posts formed in Nassau County. There are now 52 posts in the county. The American Legion was initially organized in Paris, France in June 1919 after the end of World War I. Congress then chartered it in September 1919.

The Legion now has over 2 million members in 13,000 posts in the U.S. and in France, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Philippines, and is the largest veterans organization in the United States. It is also one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the country and helped form the Veterans Administration.

There are now 53 members in Post 335, which is one of the smallest in the county. Of the 53 paid members, only about half are active due to age or living out of the area, Grogan said, a stark contrast to the 1920s and ‘30s, when Lynbrook had 250 members.

The Lynbrook post is seeking to recruit veterans who live in Lynbrook and have yet to join a veterans organization, as well as veterans who may be paying dues to the New York state’s Post 1 in Albany. Most veterans joined Post 1 while in the service or shortly after being discharged. There are about 40 Lynbrook veterans who presently pay their dues to Albany.

Bill Marinaccio, the post’s adjucant and membership chairman, said he would facilitate new members or anyone who wanted to transfer from Post 1. He can be reached at (516) 599-4877.

Post 335 is active in the community, regularly participating in various activities and events, including Eagle and Gold Scout award ceremonies, Flag Day, Patriots Weekend, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and also sponsors a Lynbrook Little League team.

Marinaccio urged anyone who served in the military to join the post. “Membership in the American Legion is a matter of pride,” he said. Pride in its tradition, pride in its heritage, its accomplishments, service and belonging. It is often emphasized, it is not the price you pay to belong, but the price you paid to be eligible to belong.”